Saw Divergent this afternoon, as planned. Good movie, but of course, not as good as the book. I was pleasantly surprised by how much they actually left the same, but there were a few glaring differences that I don't really understand the purpose of changing. Perhaps if/when there's Insurgent and Allegiant the changes may make more sense. I will say that Theo James as Four is definitely a better choice than I originally thought. My mental image may have altered. Shailene Woodley isn't quite petite/tiny enough for the mental image I had of Tris, since there are comments throughout the book about her tininess, but it wouldn't have been as obvious if Christina (Zoe Kravitz) wasn't even smaller.
Overall, definitely pleased with the book to movie transition on this one.
I did end up thinking though, as I watching, about all of the recent strong teen girl characters that have been coming out in books and then movies in the last few years: Katniss (Hunger Games), Clary (Mortal Instruments) and now Tris (Divergent) being the most obvious examples. It made me wonder, if there had been books with girls like these when I was that age, if I would have been different. Being a book-geek, many of my "role models" came from books - characteristics that I wanted to achieve in myself came from the characters I was reading. So, if I'd had a Katniss, or a Tris, or a Clary, would I have been a stronger, braver, more independent teen girl? Or would I have just admired the qualities in them, and wished I was them, but not really made any changes to myself to emulate the qualities I admired?
It's hard to say, looking back. Maybe at that point, I wouldn't have been aware that I was capable of being like them, wouldn't have been aware that I could bring out those characteristics in myself. But now, I can sit here, from my twenty-years-later vantage point, and wish that I had been self-aware enough, and that I might have been influenced to be more in charge of myself. And hope that there's some quiet, shy girl out there, who's reading the adventures of these girls and knowing that she can be just as strong, powerful, brave and independent as they are.
Edit: (03/24/14) - I should have included Hermione from Harry Potter. Definitely another smart, strong girl character that presents a very good example for teen girls. Probably the one that I would have chosen as the role model: just because you're a book-geek doesn't mean you're not a strong girl. Perfect!