Divergent movie falls flat

The much awaited movie leaves book lovers with unrequited hopes

Mackenzie Filkins, Reporter

First off, readers of Divergent should not bother to compare the version of Divergent written by Veronica Roth to the overly attractive, character omitting, rearranging, wannabe Hunger Games movie that is Divergent directed by Neil Burger.

The much anticipated book to movie adaption, Divergent, premiered March 21 starring Shailene Woodley as Tris, Theo James as Four and above all Kate Winslet as the previously minor character Jeanine. Prior to watching the movie I was disappointed with Shailene Woodley and Theo James as the main characters for one of my favorite book series. After watching the movie I came to the conclusion that I was most happy with the overall look of the dystopian Chicago and the casting for Tris and Four. Those were unfortunately the only parts of the movie I enjoyed and they are immensely outweighed by what I strongly disliked.

Divergent takes place in a dystopian Chicago where society is divided into five factions; Abnegation the selfless, Dauntless the brave, Erudite the intelligent, Amity the peaceful and Candor the honest. Beatrice Prior was born into the Abnegation faction and lives with her parents and her older brother. When a citizen turns sixteen they are given the chance to stay with or leave their faction. Before choosing, Beatrice learns that she is divergent and cannot be categorized. Beatrice eventually chooses to leave Abnegation for Dauntless where she goes by a new name, Tris, and must fight to stay with her newly found faction.

The movie starts off strong with a landscape view of Chicago and Tris’s voice over explaining her world. As the movie continued many things were rearranged but I was not upset until Tris’s first fight was with Molly, not Peter. Divergent directed by Neil Burger continued to make Tris seem weaker than she was in the book. In the movie she fights two other initiates and loses, in the book she fights three and only loses to one. I was still trying to stay optimistic, but when Tris chose her tattoo by grabbing a random image off the wall that was the last straw. In the book she chooses three birds on her collarbone, representing the three family members she left.

The names Uriah, Zeke, Lynn, Marlene, Drew, Edward and Myra should sound familiar to any reader of Divergent but not to a movie watcher of Divergent. In the movie version of Divergent these characters are either omitted or present but not mentioned. Peter, Molly and Drew are basically the tri-villain-initiates in the book, but in the movie only Peter and Molly are present and they are not a clear duo. Along with that Peter is more of a comedy relief then a malicious teenager. Peter never stabs Edward in the eye, Edward himself was casted but is never mentioned by name, neither is his girlfriend Myra. Lastly, Uriah, Zeke, Lynn and Marlene are not in the movie although it has been said that at least Uriah will be introduced in the second movie since he plays a key role in the last two books.

Were these characters deleted so that Kate Winslet’s role could be larger? Jeanine was inserted into many scenes where she was not needed nor was she wanted. Although Jeanine is the villain in Divergent she is more the villain in the second book and is barely present in the first or last. If the movie needed a clearer villain they could have used Peter, but the vast use of Jeanine was clearly meant to attract more to the movie with that chick from Titanic.

When six initiates are taken out of Divergent it changes the entire story, considering most of the book is about Tris’s initiation and interaction with her fellow initiates. It was extremely depressing to see a book I love torn apart, rearranged and over glamorized in front of my eyes. I liked the casting of the main characters, but it was overshadowed by attempts to make Divergent a money maker, instead of a story.