*Warning - Contains spoilers! I love the Divergent series. These thrillers are almost impossible to put down and are relatable in many ways. I almost always prefer the book version of any movie based on a novel. But with Insurgent, the movie is better! Here’s why:
1. The acting. Shailene Woodley (Tris) is a super-babe. There’s no doubt about that. She also happens to be a singularly gifted actress. One scene in particular comes to mind—Tris must suffer through a test in the Candor faction to prove that she did not have anything to do with the attack on Abnegation, as Jeanine (Kate Winslet) claims. While reading this scene in the novel, I couldn’t imagine how someone could act the way Tris is feeling. She’s struggling against the truth serum in a vain attempt not to reveal her deepest secrets. Eventually, they come spilling out, and her closest friends learn she killed her friend Will while he was under a simulation. Woodley nails the scene, right down to the ugly-cry that most of us would be too ashamed for anyone to see, much less millions of strangers around the globe.
Another notable performance in the film is Kate Winslet, whose Hitler-inspired super-villain helps the viewer to realize just how easy it would be to succumb to the calm logic inspiring her choices, and ignore all human emotion and feeling.
Finally, Theo James (Tobias) is easy on the eyes. ‘Nuff said.
2. The plot. Much has been made of the fact that the movie barely follows any of the original plotline of the novel. This is mainly due to plot problems with the novel structure; however, there are many scenes I wish they would have included (like the election of new Dauntless leadership).
The movie plotline is much easier to follow and Tris’ reasons for her choices are clearer. For instance, in the novel Tris inexplicably abandons Tobias to team up with Marcus—Tobias’ abusive father. We never receive a clear reason why she can’t find the information she’s seeking while accompanying Tobias and the rest of Dauntless on their mission to destroy Erudite. The film does an exemplary job of giving clear reasons for Tris’ actions.
3. The sex scene. Bucking the trend of the virgin hero a la Twilight and Hunger Games is a risky move! The thing I love about the sex scene in Insurgent is that Tris really does own her choices. In the prior film, we see that she’s nervous about losing her virginity and tells Tobias when to stop. In Insurgent, she makes the choice for the right reasons—she is comfortable with herself and her decision.
The sex scene in the novel is a bit harder for me to get behind, because Novel Tris seems a little mentally unstable at that point. I don’t love the idea that she’s soaking up her grief with physical affection, which is how it comes off.
4. The heroine. At the end of the novel, Tris is unable to finish her task of exposing the truth by showing everyone the video footage recorded by the community ancestors. Instead, she is bound and branded a traitor, waiting to find out what the factionless will do with her. Her boyfriend, Tobias, has to come to her rescue and finish the job of acquiring and showcasing the footage.
On the other hand, in the movie, we get to see Tris complete five simulations which unlock the box containing said footage. She’s branded a hero. This version would have made no sense in the book, as Tris spent the majority of the novel making rash decisions and throwing her life in danger for nonsensical reasons. That Tris wouldn’t have been strong enough to complete the sims. Luckily, this Tris is.
I prefer the movie version. What do you think?