Happy 4th of April! It's FourFour Day and so the perfect opportunity to talk about one of my favourite YA book boys.
About a week ago, I found an email sitting in my inbox that made me laugh and scream. I had won two tickets for the German Divergent premiere in Berlin!! Theo James, Shailene Woodley and Neil Burger would be there, too and we were invited to walk the red (black) carpet. You can imagine how excited I was to attend.
I asked a friend who is just as enthusiastic about the Divergent trilogy as I am to come with me. We booked a hotel and flight last minute and I went outfit hunting only one day before we left for Berlin. And then the hours passed in a blur, we arrived in Berlin, put the outfits and make-up on and left for the premiere.
Our hotel wasn't even that far from the event location. So we arrived in our faction themed outfits right on time. My friend went as Erudite and you can guess that I chose to be a Dauntless chick.
The event was held in beautiful Sony Center. There were so many fans and movie cameras, reporters and security teams, that it felt like such a big and exclusive event. But it only took us like ten seconds to walk over the actual carpet and enter the cinema.
The cinema was quite big and we could eat free mini snacks and drinks whenever we wanted. Wraps, donuts, quiche, frozen yoghurt. Yum!
When we entered the cinema we found that we got reserved front row seats, prepared with new snacks and energy drinks. Wow! Then we saw the Divergent trailer, followed by two music videos featuring Divergent soundtrack highlights. The first was Find You by Zedd, Featuring Matthew Koma, Featuring Miriam Bryan. Then followed Beating Heart. I was a fan of Ellie Goulding before. But seeing her newest music video with Divergent snippets on the big screen was such a goose-bump inducing experience that I'm now dying to hear her in concert. Ellie Goulding's Beating Heart is my current favourite song and I listen to it whenever I get the chance to. It's beautiful!
If you want to get one Movie Sountrack, you want to get this one. I can't think of another movie soundtrack (not even the The Hunger Games songs) that fit so perfectly together with every single frame. It was like the movie was breathing the music and the music would fill the scenes with life and emotions and everything. Performers like Woodkid, Snow Patrol and Ellie Goulding should be reason enough to get your own copy of the sountrack. Even the artists I hadn't heard about before, were instant favourites, to name only one, M83 - I Need You.
And then when the lights went back on again, it was time for Neil Burger to enter the stage. To be honest, I can't even remember what he talked about exactly, because I was so excited for Theo and Shailene to arrive. The press said they took so much time to take pictures with fans and write autographs (outside the theatre). I'm a bit jealous and would've died to take a selfie with Theo and Shailene, but we were already inside the theatre, waiting for them. Sigh... Here they pose on the black carpet.
Theo, Shailene and Neil
They were exactly like you imagine them to be. Theo is so charming and has a very strong presence just like Four has in the movie. He's funny and his voice is so deep and enticing I wouldn't have minded listening to him talk the whole evening. Shailene wore a stunning, long white dress and despite her looking so gorgeous she always appeared so humble and smart. It was their first time in Berlin and they were headed to a restaurant and a few bars as Theo said. And so their interview only lasted a few minutes and they were gone. The movie was about to start.
So let's come to the Movie Review. I usually don't do movie reviews, but have to make an exception this time. Let me say this first: Divergent blew my mind!
I mean I was and still am a huge fan of Veronica Roth's book. It doesn't happen often that I'm happy with a movie, because directors and screen writers always tend to change or leave out parts of the book that I really loved. And then the story isn't quite the story anymore that I fell in love with before the movie came out. Divergent was different. From the opening scene on I was hooked. It was something as simple as camera movement that showed me that this movie was going to be epic.
Costumes and Design
We only get to see all factions united in the very beginning of the movie and then we spent most time of the first book/movie in Dauntless quarters. A short visit to Erudite territory is included when Tris decides the visit her brother Caleb. The costumes were just the way they needed to be for the Dauntless to appear rough, punk and dangerous. Good job!
When I first heard about Theo James and Shailene Woodley being cast as Four and Tris, I was fine with the choices. Not too ecstatic about them, not disappointed either. The trailer showed me that they had potential and maybe they even could be a link to the versions of Tris and Four that I had in my head for a few years now. 139 minutes of Divergent on the big screen and I knew it, they were my new Tris and Four! Ashley Judd was a wise and loving mother to Tris. Ansel Elgort made a pretty cute Caleb. Not sure about Kate Winslet so far. And Jai Courtney as Eric, was my favourite character beside Tris and Four. Was Eric as cruel and coldhearted in the book, too? I wouldn't want to risk a fight against him.
Fighting Scenes and Stunts
Divergent is an action-packed story and the movie is anything but boring. Tris' training to become a fearless Dauntless member and the fights against her fellow initiates and the enemies were fast and gripping. Complex stunts, combat training and shootings as the constant focus on heights make for a dangerous Dauntless experience. Divergent by Neil Burger in general is a brilliantly shot and editted movie!
Tris & Four Forever! I have five thousand favourite moments. Theo and Shailene are radiating such passion and chemistry in every single frame, sincerity about each other and what they want. They make a powerful couple that always brings 100 % emotion into a scene. Their first kiss is amazing!
The ferris wheel, one of my fave book scenes, wasn't among my favourite movie scenes though. This was one of the few that could've used a few more minutes in the movie, so it would've been as meaningful to the story and Tris' and Four's relationship as in the book.
Tris and Four's fear landscapes are a big part of the first book. They have to face their fears and try to overcome them in these simulations. It was certain that the fear landscapes needed fantasy and skill to be convincing in the movie. Neil Burger found the perfect timing to move from one fear to the next. They were quick, expressive and realized and connected skilfully.
Love! Um, just wanted to give you an excuse to look at that pretty face. He's gazing right into your soul!
Surprises & Verdict
There weren't any major surprises or unexpected changes to the story. And they weren't necessary. Neil Burger got me so involved in the movie and the way he interpreted Veronica Roth's story, slowly built the relationship between Tris and Four and then Tris' personal development, that I felt like I was hearing the story for the very first time. Towards the end of the movie, I was so excited and was desperately wishing for a happy end. Even though I knew what would happen, I was at the edge of my seat and still hoping for everything to work out in the end.
Now everyone go and watch the Divergent movie if you haven't already. I pre-ordered the Blu Ray as soon as I was back home. It's hard to decide but Divergent is probably my favourite book to movie adaptation now. My love for (Four, hehe) and Divergent is endless.
When the movie ended everyone clapped, my friend and I just looked at each other and smiled and giggled. We then went out and treated ourselves to a late cocktail and Indian food and fell into bed exhausted and happy. The next day we had a few hours left to wander Berlin. We spotted a gigantic Lego giraffe, got frozen yoghurt for free again and spent some time in my favourite English book store in Berlin. They had beautiful classics editions and a big Divergent book selection, too.
The whole Divergent evening, seeing Theo and Shailene on stage still feels so surreal and will sure be one of my all-time favourite experiences. Here's a last pic of Sony Center the next morning. The spot lights, reporters and carpet vanished, but the big Divergent banner remains, hopefully compelling many cinema goers to watch this brillaint brilliant movie!