Saturday, March 22, 2014

Popular books made into movies

I write a LOT of movie reviews on my other blog, but when it pertains to writing and books, I like to share them here on this author blog!  If you're having Hunger Games or Twilight withdrawals, you may want to check out the Divergent book series or movie...

Movie Title:   Divergent

Grade:   B

In a Nutshell:   
This planned trilogy is starting off with mixed reviews, despite its popular book by Veronica Roth.  The Hunger Games and Twilight fans will enjoy another heroine who can kick butt and fight the system while finding time for romance.  Shailene Woodley has been successful in supporting roles, but this is the first time her performance carries an entire film.

I think the ideas are interesting and Director Neil Burger creates a dystopian setting that has holes, yet is still intriguing.

Uplifting theme:   Tris declares “Don’t try to define me.”  The movie is about independent will and finding ourselves.  Jeanine Mathews (Kate Winslet) explains “The system removes the threat of anyone practicing their independent will.  Divergence threatens that system.  It won’t be safe until they’re removed.”  Teens often question where they belong, as if there is only one place that they have to find to be “home.”  This film takes a stab at showing we are multi-dimensional creatures that need to dance on many floors in order to find balance.

Things I liked:
  • I’d love to play Capture the Flag with that glow-in-the-dark flag.  How about playing PaintBall with those guns that shoot darts that make you feel like you’ve been really shot?
  • This movie is full of dangerous stunts that make you want to stand in line to try.  For example, I love that gigantic zip-line that goes through the city.  Do you think Universal Studios will build one if this movie does well enough?  I won’t be jumping onto moving trains any time soon though.
  • I thought it was interesting to watch the fears some of the characters had.  Four explains that most people have 10-15 really bad fears.  When Tris can’t run away and her feet move slowly in mud during her “fear evasion” sequence, it reminded me that I had that same recurring dream when I was a little girl.  It’s a terrible feeling to not be able to move forward, whether trying to escape danger or making progress on a goal.
  • I thought it was an interesting concept that when people in the movie were injected with a certain serum that their thoughts could be controlled.  Isn’t that called alcohol? 
  • I love Shailene’s thick, beautiful hair.
  • Cool double infinity mirrors and other special effects.
  • Who doesn’t love Ashey Judd?
  • I’d like a blue jacket with the stylish neckline that Jeanine Mathews wears.

Things I didn’t like:
  • The ending was disappointingly predictable, but I haven’t read the book, so I’m hoping there are more interesting things to come.
  • Many of the characters were one-dimensional.
  • Those in the Dauntless faction run during most of the movie, yet they’re never out of breath.
  • Tris tells Four “I don’t want to go too fast.”  The very next thing you see is her in bed near him.  Huh?

Interesting lines:
  • “My mother says there’s an art to losing yourself.” – Tris
  • Tris sees the fear in Four’s eyes as they climb up and states “You’re afraid of heights.”  He reveals “Everyone is afraid of something.”
  • “Are you even human?” – Four says to Tris as he watches her climb a tower with ease.
  • “This isn’t real.”  What an empowering sentence you can say to yourself when you have fear.  Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do.  One of my favorite quotes by Franklin D. Roosevelt is “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” Later, Tris says “Don’t think.  Just jump.”  I’m wondering if we’ll see that tagline on basketball shoes soon?
  • “I think human nature is the enemy.”  Jeanine Matthews   What a terrible thought.  Human nature is what makes us all fantastically flawed, interesting, and wonderful.
  • “There is a certain beauty in the resistance, but it’s a beauty we can’t afford.” – Jeanine Matthews
  • In Divergent , kids who leave the nest aren’t allowed to go back.  In this troubled economy, we’re seeing an increase in “Boomerang Kids” as college graduates return home while trying to pay back student loans.  How wonderful that families can pull together and embrace returning kids who return home to get support.  On another level, it’s a great thing that we CAN reinvent ourselves and not be pigeon-holed into one thing in our lives.
  • “We train soldiers, not rebels.” – Eric
  • “Trust the test; it will tell you where you belong.” – Tori  

Tips for parents:  The language is clean, but there are a lot of dangerous stunts you may need to remind your kids NOT to try.  An interesting dinner conversation with your family might be to ask everyone which faction they would want to join if they had to choose.  Check out this fun Infogram MTV made and check out the Harry Potter comparisons.

In case you need to catch up on reading the series...