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Divergent - movie review
Divergent, yet another YA bestseller book trilogy trying to archive the box office caliber close to the Twilight Saga or the Hunger Games, and based on my experiences watching the movie, it might fall a little short. It's hard not to compare Tris to Katniss, and die hard fans can stop yelling "They're not the same!", cos I agree, they were very different. As a heroine, I like Tris more. There's going to be some minor spoilers, nothing unpredictable.
When I first saw the trailer, I was quite excited. I like Shailene Woodley. Though I haven't seen any movie of hers, I had a feeling that she could be the next Jennifer Lawrence, who is my second Goddess who I worship (since you asked, my absolute first place Goddess, now and forever, is Emma Stone). Shailene added enough lure for me to pick up the books. See, I'm one of those who tries their hardest to first read the books, then see the movie. Because I love books, and because books don't have the two-hour time limit to tell a story. I want the back story, I want the stupid inner dialog to get to know the characters. So I read books. I'm still reading the third and final book, and am actually quite disappointed. The first book was marvelous, I loved Tris. But the second and now the third so far were less than mediocre. It all depends on the ending now. Let's talk about the books later when I finish the whole trilogy. Let's get back to the movie.
Shailene Woodley makes a great Tris. She's not the traditional kind of beautiful, but she can be very pretty. I imagine Tris to be more muscular towards the end of the movie, but Shailene did carry herself with more dignity and pride after she had been training with the Dauntless. She was believable as a warrior, especially at the final fighting scenes. I'm not sure if the real Tris do come across in the movie, because it lacked the inner dialogs from the books. The reasons and struggles behind making every decisions don't quite come across, because while Shailene is a very good actress, nobody's that good. Another thing is, I keep marveling how good an actress she is during the movie, but that's just the thing. She kept reminding me that she's an actress, she didn't quite become Tris at any point for me.
I was OK with Theo James's Four. He was easy on the eyes, he's butch enough for the role, but he lacks that certain charm and mysteriousness that I imagined in my head that Four would possess. While I'm fine with Theo being Four, I don't feel loyal enough for me to care if they find another actor to play the role in the next movies. Shailene and Theo's chemistry was medium heat. It was believable but I didn't blush when they kiss but they do look good next to each other.
As for the supporting cast, both Kate Winslet and Ashley Judd were outstanding. For others, they didn't have the time for character development. Like Peter for example. He seemed more petty than cruel in the movie, in the books he did some despicable things to Tris. And where was the Edward story line?
The movie seemed quite rushed for an over-two-hour feature. It had next to no breaks for breathing and absorbing. All the relationship seemed shallow. I didn't get the material nor the time to feel the tension or friendships, to mourn or to cheer. And the script had several alternations and rearrangements of the story line compared to the book, most made the story move on smoother, but some were just annoying. Like the hugging of the Prior family before the Choosing Ceremony, thus stepping out of the faction habits. But I guess they didn't explain the faction habits enough for anyone to notice. I'm actually surprised that the author Veronica Roth allowed that many changes to her books. Though considering the quality of the next books, maybe it's a good thing that they take quite much liberty to alter the books.
All in all, if I consider the movie and the book separately, Divergent the movie isn't half bad.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
It's not about fangs or sparkling in the sun. It's about the real meaning of forever.
Starring Tilda Swinton as Eve and Tom Hiddleston as Adam, they're a vampire couple who has been together and in love with each other for centuries. It's actually quite a beautiful description of love. Two persons (in this case, vampires) who don't necessarily even need to live in the same city, but are always there for each other. And no matter how much time passes, their love and respect for one another is still strikingly present. The tenderness was hard to watch for time to time. It is beautiful, yet it feels a bit too personal.
I love Tilda Swinton and her Eve's the exact kind of vampire that I would probably be; surrounded by books. I loved the long scene showing Eve packing her favorite books for a long journey. Eve is quite a little drop of sunshine for a vampire, who enjoy all the exciting events that us humans created, like the Middle Age and Inquisition. Thus she's the best counterpart for her melancholy liege lord, Adam.
Instead of books, Adam surrounds himself with every kind of musical instruments and creates eerily beautiful pieces of music. Instead of being amused by our antics like Eve, Adam is quite sick of us zombies (that's what they call humans). He seems to be always sad to the point of being suicidal, except when he's around Eve. With Eve, he seems to come alive, well, as alive as a vampire can be. Tom Hiddleston plays brilliantly a role that's quite the opposite from his previous role as Loki. There's a vulnerability in Tom that makes Adam's dull characteristics amusingly awkward and lovingly adorable.
All in all, I loved the pitch black humor, almost banal problems of our heroes and the peaceful pace. After all, if you have eternity, why rush?
- Emily Wu -
Read the full review at Doxophilia at Wordpress.