Written by Veronica Roth
Number of pages: 487
Average Rating: 4.28/5
My Rating: 5/5
Published on April 25, 2011
Read again in April 2016
Directed by Neil Burger
Running Time: 2 hours 19 minutes
Average Rating: 6.7/10 (IMDb)
My Rating: 3/5
Released on March 21, 2014
Watched in April 2016
I recently read this novel for the third time, because I have never finished this series. That may be hard to believe, considering that this is one of my favourites, but when I got spoiled on Allegiant I gave up. I know I have been writing a review for every book I read, however since this was a reread I decided to do a comparison review for the book and movie!
Released in 2014, this film stars Shailene Woodley as Tris Prior, and Theo James as Four. This was my first experience watching this movie, and wanted to document my feelings for you.
As can be expected, there were differences between these two, but nothing too extreme. The first thing that I noticed were the differences within the family structure, where during meals parents were much more open with the children and didn't reprimand them for asking questions. In the novel Caleb and Beatrice did not have a voice, and were seen as rude if they asked their parents questions. In the film we are shown the four of them discussing Erudite and the conspiracy against Abnegation.
Another small, but noticeable, difference was during the Choosing Ceremony. In the novel all of the initiates that would be participating were grouped together, and stood alphabetically. In the film, however, the initiates sat with their families while they waited for their name to be called. I did not prefer one over the other, but instead appreciated them both. In the novel Beatrice finally starts to be independent and think on her own, as a member of society instead of a faction. However in the film it is our last chance to see Beatrice with her family, and the endless support she receives from her mother. I believe that this scene also foreshadowed the decision that Beatrice will make, when her mother says "I love you...no matter what." A mother truly does know everything.
I was very disappointed with some of the plot changes that were made - one of the most significant being her interactions with her mother. If you have read the novels you would know that Tris only sees her mother during "Visiting Day", however in the film she is seen before stage two of initiation. This took away from the point of the factions and initiation, because the initiates are not allowed contact outside of the faction they chose, and believe "faction before blood." It was clear that the directors wanted to keep the family aspects prominent in the film, but I enjoyed the independence of the novel much more. There were other small differences throughout, during the training initiation and the reveal of the tracking devices for example, but nothing too significant to hinder my experience.
I was very happy with the way the characters were portrayed throughout the film - both in their attitudes, relationships, and developments. Even though the events might have been changed, I could appreciate the consistency between them all. Tris started as very shy before growing into herself and her abilities; and with Four, the sometimes friendly sometimes deadly instructor, supporting her from behind the scenes. Christina and Will were the same, and Peter was still a terrible character.
Before watching this movie I had only ever watched Shailene Woodley in the ABC series Secret Life of the American Teenager. It was not the best show, but instead dramatic through every 40-minute episode. I think that I didn't love her in this film because I kept seeing her as Amy Juergens who would cry a lot and constantly flick her hair. Don't even get me started on Theo James - I could write an entire blog post about him. I cannot imagine anyone else playing this part as well as he did. He was sultry, authoritative, protective, and a very believable actor.
Overall I was not overly impressed with this film adaptation, and would rate it as average. I will be rereading the sequel Insurgent, and then watching that film, and I hope it will be good as well!