Divergent

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Divergent has arrived.

A lot of people see the female protagonist and the futuristic setting of this new film and immediately think it’s a copy of The Hunger Games. But despite these similarities they are completely different. It would be like comparing ‘i,Robot’ and ‘Robot & Frank’, both containing a male character that, through unlikely circumstances, befriends a robot. Completely different. OK there might be a few more similarities than that but you get my point.

The story line really is quite different. If you’ve read the books then you’ll be nodding along, and thinking ‘just wait till the next couple in the series, it sets itself even further apart.’ But I do understand where people are coming from saying they’re the same. As well as the common attributes I’ve mentioned above, they also have a very similar tone, with actions, tension and secrets, and of course the romantic side. Though this is maybe of a story in the Divergent series.

Of course being a big fan of the books, I went to see it on the day of the UK release, and I loved it! Despite the fact it was a teensy bit long, there was the right amount tension – both dangerous and sexual; some brilliant action scenes; secrets withheld and revealed; and it actually sticks pretty close to Veronica Roth‘s original story which is a massive plus. Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, I couldn’t wait to see how they were going to do certain scenes and I was just as excited coming out as I was going in. The acting was good, could have been better but it was what’s expected with that kind of film. Shailene Woodley was great as Tris, I think she did a great job. Theo James was OK, the typical good looking heartthrob of a YA film, but I think he was lacking his ‘meanness’. In the book, his character, Four/Tobias, is quite harsh with Tris and definitely has a mean streak going on, but in the film it was quite obvious he was a big softie underneath. He wasn’t the tormented man we were expecting. When it came to Miles Teller, I just wanted to punch him the face, so I guess he did a good job as Peter. I think the best actor in the whole thing was Kate Winslet, of course. She was brilliant, carrying off the suave, menacing character that is Jeanine. Straight away you know she’s going to be a problem but you’re not entirely convinced she’s a completely bad person… just maybe a bit twisted. Not a bad thing can be said about her role.

I do have to say I would have enjoyed it more had there been a higher risk of danger or death, but I know that this is to come in the next installment so I’m not too worried by this.

Something really petty that I don’t like is the tattoo, the three birds are a lovely idea but the way they’ve been designed just doesn’t look right. They looked like Microsoft clipart if I’m honest.

 

There’s a lot of complaints that the future isn’t realistic, that people aren’t ‘buying’ it, and all I have to say to you is WAIT! It is a bizarre system, one that shouldn’t work but if you wait for the rest of the story you will understand why it’s been done like this. If you can’t wait, then READ THE BOOKS! They explain everything.

I think in a lot of ways this film is far more relatable than that of  The Hunger Games; it focuses on the terrifying choice of choosing between ones family or to follow your own dreams; of wanting to do the right thing but struggling with not putting yourself first; fitting into a new place; trying to prove your own strength; and the frightening scenario of intimacy. And it doesn’t stop there, the next couple of books/films delve further into the complexity of the mind and we start to see our heroes suffering with mental challenges as well as physical. It’s definitely something I appreciate, and might even encourage young adults and teenagers to open up about their own problems.

No, it’s not going to win any Oscars but it’s a good entertainment film and personally I loved it!

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Is it Farewell to our Beloved Paperback?

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Because of my love of books I had always been adamant that I would never succumb to the technological revolution that is the e-book, but after being given a Kindle last Christmas I found my resolve wavering. Throughout the day I examined my new toy and despite myself I was excited by what I found. As a fan of the classics I was pleased to discover that most of them came free, and I immediately found myself downloading several that caught my eye including ‘Les Miserables‘, ‘Northanger Abbey‘, and ‘A Tale of Two Cities‘. The more I looked the more I came to realise the Kindle isn’t the horror to literature as I thought. As a student I find it difficult to afford all the books I want to read but here was a cheaper way to expand my novel collection. Not too long afterwards I was downloading ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘ and more recently Veronica Roth‘s ‘Divergent‘ series. I find that it works well as a tester, if I fall in love with the story it will be then that I purchase the real book.

I can now also see how this technology can benefit the public, it makes people excited to read again; everyone wants to be up to date with latest gadgets and having this available makes it fashionable to have your nose stuck in a book. The possibilities of this revolution are endless.

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However just because I now know that there are benefits to the e-book doesn’t mean I’m a full convert. One of the joys of reading comes from purchasing a beautifully bound story where you can feel the roughness of the paper in your fingertips; the warm, musty, smell is such a pleasure to anyone who loves the written word. It is for this reason that I believe we will not be saying goodbye to the paperback any time soon. There is too much love for the literal book that it won’t be allowed to be lost to computers. It will forever be left to the public to save it.