Divergent Movie Review

I had the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of Divergent in exchange for an honest review.  The free tickets did not affect my opinion of the film.  I would have gladly paid for my ticket, in fact I plan to pay for several of my tickets when I return to see it repeatedly at the theater.

When it was announced that the Divergent book I loved so much, was being made into a movie, I was cautiously excited.  Excited because I always love to see my beloved fictional friends through someone else’s eyes.  But cautious because of the unknowns…. will they do it justice, will they tell the same story, will the actors get the characters right and will people who haven’t read the book be able to understand it?

Having seen it, I can assure you, I am now ONLY excited to see it again.  I cannot think of anybody (13 or over) that lives and breathes who won’t like this film.  The story flows well, there is plenty of action, and the plot follows the book.  Everyone I talked to after the movie agreed that this is one of the BEST book to film adaptations EVER!! Yeah, I said it.

I don’t care how many times you have read the book, you will still find yourself wondering, “Will she make it?”  “Are they crazy?” “Will she stop on time?”  I promise, you will be on the edge of your seat at times and your blood will be pumping.  The adrenaline rush I felt from watching it paralleled the rush I get from a 30 minute run.  At times, I actually had to catch my breath from holding it in so long in anticipation.

The score and soundtrack of Divergent deserve some praise too.  There wasn’t a moment when I was staring at the screen (afraid to blink and miss something) when my hearing sense wasn’t busy as well.

The music woven throughout the film added depth to the emotions being caused by the spot-on portrayals by the actors.  There is no more wondering; Shailene Woodley IS Tris and Theo James plays Four better than anyone else I could imagine.  I also want to give a shout out to Miles Teller for portraying the convincing douche canoe that is Peter and to Jai Courtney for kicking ass as heartless Dauntless leader Eric.

I feel a special thank you needs to be given to Neil Burger for putting this film together in the way he did with the cast he did.  My sincerest congratulations go to him for making Veronica Roth’s cameo appearance last for more than a fraction of a second.  Without giving away any spoilers, I will tell you that she bursts on to the screen and grabs your attention.  You can’t miss her!!!

Overall, watching this movie was like taking a courageous ride down a zip-line.  I was nervous, I was anxious, I was scared and then I was confident, I was entertained and I was brave.  Seeing the Divergent movie was a hair raising experience that I can’t wait to have again and again!!!! Who’s with me??

***Let it be noted that Casey attended the screening with me and she whole-heartedly agrees with this review.  That makes Divergent 4 thumbs up from Fangirl Moms!!  We are taking the husbands this week and we will let you know what they think!*** ~Jolene

FangirlMoms and FangirlMoms’ husbands at Vampire Academy

Last night was opening night for The Vampire Academy film in our city.  We went to see it, along with our reluctant (yet supportive) husbands.

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Date Night Attire: Casey wore her St. Vladamir Academy Guardian jersey shirt with Belikov on the back, clearly indicating her fangirl icon for the evening.  I had no Vampire Academy attire to speak of but I did wear my Mellark Bakery jersey shirt to indicate my dedicated fangirl status, regardless.  We looked fangirlicious, if I do say so myself!!

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Dinner: We wanted something quick and delicious to both eat and drink.  We chose a local authentic Mexican restaurant. Having both completed the Shatter Me series this week, with the reading of Ignite Me, we decided to indulge in a FangirlMoms created drink titled, “Warnaritas”, a lime margarita on the rocks with salt.  (*NOTE* FangirlMoms advocate drinking legally and responsibly!)

Fangirl Drink Warnarita

Ticket Line:  Casey identified a fellow fangirl by way of her Beacon Hills Lacrosse hoodie with Stilinksi on the back, much like the sweatshirt my husband got me for Christmas!  We introduced ourselves and fangirled appropriately.

New Fangirl Friend

Before the Trailers: We located perfect viewing seats in the center of the theater and as Casey left to get refreshments, I marched up to our new fangirl friend to discuss other book-to-film adaptations.  I shared our website info and told her to look us up for a shoutout! (“HEY FANGIRL!”)  Her father was with her and he has read many of the same books, including all of the Mortal Instruments.  When Casey joined our conversation, I believe she convinced him to give Infernal Devices a chance.  FangirlMom challenge achieved!

Trailers: We love trailers! Our personal favorite was the Divergent trailer, which included footage from all of the trailers that have been released, including the dog simulation part released this week!  It was so beautiful up on the big screen. Looking at Four, Casey could not even breathe and I was breathing too quickly = fangirling!

VAMPIRE ACADEMY:  To be honest, I squealed when it started.  Having read the book in May of last year, I have followed the fandom through the tightly closed set, fangirling over pictures of signs and chairs or any other tidbit approved for public viewing.  Richelle Mead has definitely kept us aware of anything she could but nothing would have prepared me for how good the movie actually was.

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Five reasons I loved the movie.

  1. When the credits rolled at the end, I had no scenes left on my “MUST BE IN THE MOVIE” checklist.  All of the important scenes were there.  There were some minor tweaks made which made sense to me, for example calling it a love charm instead of a lust charm.  The only thing I wondered about was I don’t remember seeing anyone under the desk while the headmistress was on top of it with a boy, as I saw in a released movie still.  Maybe I sneezed and missed it?
  2. Zoey Deutch was the PERFECT Rose.  She got her attitude, her snark, her flirtation, and her overall badassery exactly right!  She wasn’t the only one to become the character, either.  Danila nailed Dimitri. Cameron is Mason.  Dominic personified Christian. Nobody could have given us a better Natalie than Sarah.  And if you need Princess Lissa, Lucy is your gal.  The casting department deserves a round of applause and when the credits rolled, that’s what I gave them!
  3. The feels were real y’all. I am an honest reviewer who avoids spoilers and I won’t get specific here about what caused my feels, but let me get specific about what I felt.  I had goosebumps, I had hair raise on the back of my neck, I had hot flashes (and no, I’m not that old of a mom) and I laughed out loud… a lot!!  This movie has chemistry, scary moments, and humor.  The humor you remember from the book is there, but there are new elements added in as well.  You will laugh!
  4. We were in this movie and if you are a fangirl, you were in this movie as well.  In a public area, the main characters encounter a gaggle of girls squealing about something they seemed excited about.  I turned to Casey and whispered, “They’re fangirling!” as Casey said, “That’s us!” to me.   It was an epic moment and as strange as it may seem, really made me feel like that part of the movie was a nod to “our kind”.
  5. Possibly my favorite reason to love Vampire Academy was the cliffhanger they put in the end to point toward the sequel. If you have read the books, you know what the second book entails and the genius filmmakers dedicated a few seconds to a teaser from it.  I was surprised and pleased that they did that and it got me so excited to learn about the sequel getting the green light.  If you want to see that too, do your part and go see Vampire Academy in a theater near you!!!

Wrap-Up:  I know the question you are wanting us to answer, “What did your husbands think of it?”  I will quote our husbands, “I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.”  “That was a funny movie, when can we go see it again?” My answer to that is, “As soon as we can!”

If you go to see Vampire Academy in theaters, let us know what you think!  Share your pictures with @FangirlMoms on Twitter or here in the comments

Review: Ender’s Game

I read Ender’s Game this Spring and really liked it. It was one of those books that received a 5 star rating from me on Goodreads because reading it changed me. The book and movie tell a futuristic tale of preparing for war. The method of preparation is the controversial part. In the end, I am left asking myself, “Which way is right?”
The movie stayed true to the book in all the ways that mattered to me. There were parts I would have liked to see more of, of course, but isn’t there always? The actors were well-suited to their parts. Three cheers for Asa Butterfield for pulling off a young Ender!
I loved watching this book come to life. Even non-readers will find themselves enjoying the movie. I know of someone who has seen the movie only once and is planning to use the themes of it to teach out-of-the-box leadership strategies to her staff.
Look for this Ender’s Game Poster at your local theater and go see it!
Please tell me what you thought of Ender’s Game, either the book or the movie.
~JB

Rules on Viewing Book-to-Film Movie Adaptations

Everyone has had the experience of waiting for a book-to-film adaptation to be released in theaters only to build it up so much in their mind and then be completely let down. I have been guilty of this so many times I have lost count. This only happens when very specific expectations have been created, though. Therefore, before I watch any more films based on books I love, I have written a list of rules to decrease the likelihood of being disappointed.

Rule #1 Accept that the characters in my head are just that: In. My. Head.
~Nobody on Planet Earth other than me knows what that looks like and therefore casting will not be exactly that. Also, RARELY does hair and eye color, height or even weight matter to the story. And acting ability is far more important than looking the part in film making. So, I won’t pretend that my opinion of whom is the perfect actor to play which character is more valid than that of those who ACTUALLY make films for a living. I am relinquishing my right to be upset when my dream fan-casting fails to happen, because as I often have to tell myself, “I love my book worlds but I actually live in reality.” What choice do I have?

Rule #2 Accept that NOT EVERYTHING I love about the book will make it into the film.
~There is no way to take every detail from any book and make an actual feature length movie. It would be fun for me to watch but it would be so unbelievably expensive to make that no company would fund it. Everyone has a favorite scene and not all of them are the same from person to person. I don’t get to throw a fit when a minor character is removed from the story or when my favorite line of dialogue is left on the cutting room floor. Who am I to say, “I know this story best.” The AUTHOR of the book has signed away their right to say that when they gave the rights for the movie to be made in the first place, so I ask again, “WHO AM I?!?!”

Rule #3 View the movie as a separate thing from the book.
~I love my family. It is fun to get together and celebrate our lives. But although my siblings and I all came from the same two people and grew up in the same house, went to the same high school, etc. that doesn’t mean our journeys have been the same. The same is true for a book and a movie. They both tell basically the same story with similar characters but how they react and make decisions may differ. Just as I wouldn’t dare tell my sister or brothers where to work or what to wear, I won’t tell the movie how to be told. Would it even listen?

Rule #4 Really TRY to enjoy the movie.
~When I start a book, I do so with an open mind and some wonder about who I will meet and where we will go. When I buy my ticket, popcorn and take my seat, I need to prepare myself in the same way. True, each character should be familiar to me, but it will be like meeting “my character’s” cousin, and that should be enough. It’s certainly better than not visiting with them at all. It’s why I bought the ticket in the first place; to reacquaint myself with my fictional friends. I will welcome my fictional friend’s cousins with warmness, because my other option is to be disappointed. Who wants that?

Remember these rules the next time you purchase your Book-To-Film Movie ticket and let me know how it goes. I promise to do the same.  Have FUN at the movies! ~JB