Comparisons can serve a purpose, but sometimes they aren’t fair.
This applies to real life scenarios and to the world of fiction, including books, television and movies. It’s fair to compare something on a per capita basis between cities. It’s fair to compare systems of government and how they work differently. It’s even fair to compare similar genres of books, TV and movies.
These comparisons, however, stop being useful when you compare something to something else and evaluate what you think of it based solely on the comparison. That isn’t fair.
I have read a fair amount of reviews for the new movie release, Divergent. All of the comparisons, even some in the marketing, have pitted it up against the popular series, The Hunger Games.
I have read all of the Divergent books by Veronica Roth and I saw the movie on opening weekend. Conversely, I have also read all of The Hunger Games books by Suzanne Collins and seen the first two adaptations. It’s important for me to stress that I love both series of books and movies so far.
But a lot of people have said Divergent falls short of The Hunger Games. For that, it has received a fair number of negative reviews. Of course everyone’s entitled to his or her own opinion. I personally don’t agree with any of the bad reviews for the film as I thoroughly enjoyed it and found it to be a great adaptation.
I do not think it’s fair to judge Divergent based on The Hunger Games, even if it was marketed that way. They are two different stories that should be judged on their own.
That said the books do have a similar concept. Roth has even stated she got inspiration for her books from The Hunger Games. Both feature strong female leads in the form of Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior and Katniss Everdeen respectively.
Both stories involve a war that drastically altered the landscape of North America. In The Hunger Games, the world is divided into 12 districts based on class and status. In Divergent, society is divided into five factions based on one personality trait.
That’s essentially where the comparisons end. Of course there are others, but these comparisons of one ripping the other off are untrue. The stories are different. The characters are different. There are some genre similarities, but no real plot similarities.
And both stories are enthralling and engaging. It doesn’t matter how much each first installment made at the box office. The studio considered both movies a success and quite frankly so do I.
The remaining two installments in the Divergent series, Insurgent and Allegiant, have been green-lit. The final book in The Hunger Games trilogy will come out in two parts with Mockingjay Part 1 hitting theatres this November.
I have no problem with others stating they didn’t like one movie or the other for whatever reasons. As long as our opinions are respectful, it is welcomed.
We’re not all going to like everything. That’s impossible.
But at the end of the day, the books and movies are not the same. Judge Divergent based on Divergent, not based on The Hunger Games. It’s only fair.
Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.