When everyone in the house except me is asleep and I’m too exhausted to get up and do anything, but have too many mental tabs open to sleep, I seek out a movie to watch. Since I’m a movie fan instead of a movie critic, my bar for insomniac theater movie selection is pretty low. It can’t be horror or a documentary. Those infect dreams. What works best is fluff. Fluff is what I found last week in the single digit hours of the morning when I watched Divergent.
I had a pretty good idea what Divergent was when I chose it. It’s been on endcaps and tables in the bookstore for years. I troll the young adult section for books that my children might enjoy and sequels to their favorite series. I’ve mentioned before that I read the books my children are assigned to read so that we can talk about them together. It’s also a good excuse to sit around reading a book instead of folding laundry. When SuperTween was assigned to read “The Giver,” I went ahead and read the entire series because, young adult books are fun to read. You zip through them in less than a day and they’re a lot more interesting than sappy romance novels.
So, knowing how popular young adult books are with people of all ages, why do the movie versions of those books look like they are being filmed to create a new Lifetime channel for young people? I’m not saying Divergent is a bad movie. It isn’t. I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed “John Dies at the End.” That is a bad movie, but it’s hilarious. It is not, however, a good insomniac theater choice. What I’m saying is that Divergent could have been so much better.
We are cranking out comic book movies that are spectacular. Why not put that effort in YA movies? Don’t directors and actors want high quality entertainment for their own children? Some of the Divergent cast members who were supposed to be teens were clearly closer to 30 than 20. They must have families. The huge fight scenes and deaths with hardly any blood defeat the purpose of what authors are trying to convey. Except for the trains, it feels like the entire filming took place in a single warehouse. Everything is muted and dull as though it was filtered through toast to take out the energy and vibrance. Even the actors seem bored. Commit to the adult part of the young adult and make something they will want to see. They deserve better.