Ahh, being off work during the holiday season has to be the most marvelous, glorious thing in the whole wide world! Having more than a week off is allowing me to do so many things I’ve been dying to do for months, like writing more blog posts (see how this is my second one in 2 days?!), catching up on reading the excellent Victorian novel, Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, that I’m currently obsessed with (review forthcoming), AND watching a whole bunch of movies that I’ve been eager to see!
One of these movies is the one that I just finished watching, Insurgent. (Sidenote: I’m writing this post at 9:30pm on Monday night, but I’ll be making it live sometime tomorrow/Tuesday.) It is the second movie in The Divergent Series, and I must’ve seen the first movie ages ago, but I have been super excited to see this sequel ever since. I have to preface this review by stating that I have not read any of the Divergent novels by Veronica Roth – and, unfortunately, I don’t intend to. This isn’t because I don’t find the story or the characters interesting – on the contrary, as I’m about to describe, I actually find the plot so so engrossing (it calls back to one of the first “real/adult” novels I ever read, 1984 by George Orwell), and Tris is such an inspiring and unique character. I just find it EXTREMELY difficult to read a novel once I’ve already seen the film adaptation of that same story. The only time I ever tried doing this was with Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s and, let me tell you, it was a mistake! I could not get the image of the iconic Audrey Hepburn out of my mind the entire time I was reading the novella, even though Capote’s description of Holly Golightly is hardly like Hepburn at all. It was just far too difficult to get into the novella and properly accept and interpret everything its author had intended, and so I vowed to never “ruin” a novel again by reading it after seeing a film version of it. I’ve stayed true to my word ever since.
I also feel that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a story in film form for what it is, without feeling the urge to go back to the original story. There’s no reason why I can’t thoroughly enjoy the Divergent films without having read the novels, and sometimes I feel like this focus on viewing a film as a film, rather than as an adaptation of a written work, allows me to appreciate the film more without having high and unrealistic expectations. So, I’m happy to leave my experience of The Divergent Series to a cinematographic one.
Having said that, I really enjoyed Insurgent. Like I said, I saw Divergent a long time ago, so I can’t properly review it now, but I remember really enjoying it as well, which is why I was so excited to see Insurgent (and why I’m so eager to go watch the Allegiant trailer, which I just now found out exists!). Insurgent delivered on the high level of action and intensity I was expecting, and I found myself getting easily sucked into the story. I loved all the different fighting sequences, and I found the various simulations that Tris goes through super interesting and true to the character traits they were meant to convey. I found the entire story very engrossing and I had a fun time watching the movie.
What stuck out to me most, however, was just how strong and powerful Tris is. I haven’t seen any of The Hunger Games movies or read the books, so I don’t have any experience with that franchise – so when I say that Tris is the strongest female character I have come across in a young adult story in a very long time, I mean it. She is absolutely fierce, and I love it! In high school, I was a big fan of the Twilight series of books and movies (Kristen Stewart = definite girl crush = hugely unpopular opinion that I am NOT ashamed of in the least) – but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t often seriously annoyed by Bella Swan’s lack of confidence and strength. There were so many moments when I wanted Bella to stand up and fight for herself, and it made me really angry when I thought that she was being too weak and falling apart over a guy or a ridiculous situation that she easily could have stood up against. Not to criticize another young adult franchise, but I have to say that Tris is miles ahead of Bella in so many ways, and it is very refreshing to see a young woman who is powerful and who is not afraid of her powers. Tris embraces her strength and she never backs down – she is the one who “saves” the men in her life, and she gets the job done herself, without fear or hesitation. She is an incredibly brave character, and that’s something that I seriously appreciate. I think that society has come a long way, and I’m proud that young women are able to get to know female characters who accurately reflect the strong, capable women that already exist in the real world. And, of course, as a lover of the Victorian novel, I’m happy that these heroines of the young adult genre are starting to emulate some of my feistier friends like Jane Eyre, Margaret Hale and Elizabeth Bennet, those women who defied their 19th century society by speaking up and forcefully voicing their opinions. I highly recommend Insurgent as a movie that viewers of all ages can enjoy – but, if I was a mother, I would definitely be showing it to all of my kids, male and female, to encourage them to be as confident in their own abilities as Tris is!
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve talked about a movie adaptation here on the blog, but when I did so most recently (in my blog post about the James Bond franchise), I mentioned that I was struggling with a way to tag any quotes I decided to post on my Twitter page from movies. Obviously, I couldn’t use the #JNGReads tag for these quotes, but I also didn’t think it made sense to use the #JNGListens tag either, which is more aligned with lyrics from music pieces. So, I’ve finally decided that, to get around this problem, I am going to introduce a new tag to the mix: #JNGWatches. I watch enough movies and TV shows that I think I will have a good number of quotes I want to share, and what better time than the (almost) New Year to make another subtle change to the blog?!
Thanks again Everyone for taking the time to visit me here!
Girl with a Green Heart