The Harbinger Online

Adaptation Disconnection

Page 524.  One more page left.  I’m not really sure why I kept reading Veronica Roth’s “Insurgent.”  Halfway through the novel it became obvious Roth didn’t know where to go after “Divergent.”  I loved “Divergent” so I was initially surprised by how painfully slow the second book became.  When I heard that the new “Insurgent” movie’s plot differed from the book, I hoped for the best.

Tris Character Portrait copyThe “Insurgent” movie strays from the novel, but ultimately ends at the same place.  The dystopian movie is set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago.  The city is split into five different factions, each with distinctive qualities— Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite.  “Insurgent” follows Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), who fits into more than one faction— a Divergent.

“Insurgent” dives right into the story without reviewing what happened in “Divergent,” so make sure you or someone you’re going with has seen the prequel.  It starts with a message from Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet), the malicious leader of Erudite, announcing to the city about the danger Divergents pose. The story is built from this fear of Divergents destroying society.

“Insurgent” puts emphasis on the storyline rather than the characters.  The movie created a more focused plot that Roth’s book lacked.  The beginnings and ends were alike in the book and movie, but everything else was different.  I was really impressed by the way the movie rewrote the plot while still weaving in pieces that happened in the book.  Because “Insurgent” focused on moving along the central plot rather than details, it was faster-paced and kept my attention more than its predecessor.

The movie was action-packed. Sure, some parts were a bit stretched and unrealistic, like when Tris and Four fight 30 factionless people at one time and manage to walk away uninjured. To enjoy the movie you have to look past little inconveniences like this, because there are a lot.

The biggest problem I had with the movie was with the characters. I wanted to care about them, but I couldn’t. It was because of poor writing, not bad acting. The characters weren’t given strong arcs, which made them one-dimensional and flat.

And maybe it was because of the flat characters that I had no emotional attachment to Four and Tris’ romantic relationship. I’m not saying that their relationship was a key part of the movie.  This is something that sets The Divergent Series apart from other young adult dystopian novels.  It’s more about Tris and Four working together to stop Jeanine than them acting like an actual couple.

The other actors did what they could to bring their characters to life. Peter, played by Miles Teller, stole every scene with a snarky comeback or joke at Tris’ expense. I wish Octavia Spencer got more screen time, but she still shined as Johanna.

Overall, I’m looking forward to them returning in “Allegiant.”  Since the final novel was so drawn out and boring, I hope the writers decide to remake the plot again.

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Photos courtesy of Lionsgate

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