Insurgent Movie Strays from Book, but Strangely Satisfies.

Insurgent posterI went into the Insurgent film without a lot of high hopes.  I came out quite surprised at how much I liked it, and even more surprised by the reason.  Because it was the same reason that usually has me hating movie adaptations of favorite books.  Because the filmmakers deviated so much from the source material.  At the end of the day, this was an action movie loosely based on Roth’s Insurgent, not Insurgent:the Movie.  If you are expecting as faithful a book adaptation as the Harry Potter and Hunger Games franchises, or even the first Divergent movie, you will be disappointed.  The percentage of book-congruent material is closer to that of the Little House TV series. But remarkably, the film mostly worked for me.

To be fair up front, every worry I expressed in my comments on the trailers came true.  Except the one about the train.  Turns out Four did have a good reason for leaping in front of the train. But I digress.  Spoilers ahead, after the jump.

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‘Insurgent’ Movie Previews: This is Making Me Nervous!

Another Insurgent trailer released today, along with a “Sneak Peak” that includes commentary from the actors, director and Veronica Roth herself. As much as I am looking forward to the film and want it to succeed, there are more than a couple of elements that are making me a bit wary about getting my hopes up for something that was as good an adaptation as the first movie. [Read more…]

Life Imitates Art: Roots and Apple Day at MBC

Here at Hogpro, you’ve read about a variety of colleges that bear a striking resembles to Hogwarts. However, my home institution, Mary Baldwin College, chooses a Theme for each year. This year’s is “Roots.” I don’t know if whoever designed the celebratory banner, or its red-and-yellow color scheme, knew how close they were to imitating the Amity faction symbol from Divergent.

Even more fittingly, today is our annual Apple Day celebration, a day where classes are cancelled, the morning devoted to community service and the afternoon to a carnival. One of the major events is a trip to a local orchard for apple gleaning, with the gathered produce donated to local food banks.

Sounds like an cooperative endeavor between Amity and Abnegation, doesn’t it?  All we need is a few banjo players strumming their way around and we’d have a scene straight out of Veronica Roth’s epic series.  Minus the invading Erudite and their mind-contolled Dauntless army of course.

Of course, now I am wondering about the selection of future themes.  If there are any possibilities for words related to eyes, scales, fire or outstretched hands, we could soon have a full campus bedecked in Divergent-inspired banners.

But for today, I’m going to stay home, catch up on grading and prepare for my trip to the Harry Potter conference at Chestnut Hill in a couple of weeks.

Happy Apple Day, everyone!

Cruise into summer with The Living

The Divergent trilogy has drawn to a close, finishing with a volume that has drawn decidedly mixed reviews from your Hogpro faculty and the most of the rest of the world as well. There is still much more to be said about that series—personally, I find myself changing my mind about Allegiant about as often as I change my socks. We need to hear more about the first movie, and the others to come–are they really going to split Allegiant into two films?.  It’s Insurgent that needs more screen time! –We also have the Mockingjay movies to look ahead to, as well as more from Ms. Rowling as the Fantastic Beasts movie launches and the Cormoran Strike series continues. Having just re-read James Thomas’s Rowling Revisted, I am particularly looking forward to seeing the adventures of Newt Scamander unfold. But that’s still a long way off.

Last week, I went into the first and hopefully annual LSU Young Adult Literature Conference with a central question in mind… what’s next? What new book series do we start to discuss on this site? The female-centric dystopia trend shows no sign of abating; indeed, there was enough buzzing about Marie Lu’s Legend and Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing series that both are on my library hold list. But I can also see the value in a change of pace.

So, here’s my suggestion….

Several books by our guest authors were recommended to the LSU instructors-in-residence for reading prior to the conference. Among them was Matt de la Pena’s latest novel, The Living, published in November 2013 and described by the conference leadership as a “future classic.” I was unfamiliar with de la Pena’s previous work, although I had read of the controversy regarding his books being pulled from the Arizona public school curriculum. But it made little difference, since according to virtually everyone I talked to who knew Mr. de la Pena’s work, The Living was a radically different type of story from his previous four novels. [Read more…]

Another writer notes the Divergent-Personality test link.

See? It’s not just me….

Laura Moss of Mother Nature Network has written a fascinating article linking the Factions of Divergent, the Houses of Hogwarts, the Breakfast Club and Buzzfeed quizzes to personality theory and people’s need to define themselves.   Please discuss! Does the quick-and-easy “sorting” of the protagonists into “the simplest terms, the most convenient definitions” explain the popularity of Tris (and Katniss and Harry), especially for adolescents who are seeking their own identity?  Is this why Facebook abounds with quizzes that claim to tell us which Broadway Musical or Starship Enterprise captain we really are, with a few clicks of the mouse?

What Muppet are you?

FYI:  This is the most fitting Buzzfeed result I ever got:  You are….  Scooter!  Your life is all about coffee.  You are real, really good at your job and deserve more recognition. In addition, I am Atticus Finch, Jadzia Dax, The Circle of Life and Fraulein Maria.