Entertainment Weekly has revealed this week’s cover, which features Shailene Woodley and Theo James as Tris and Four from the upcoming film adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent.
I don’t love it.
But let’s start with the positives: the background is fantastic. A dystopic Chicago skyline, just like the American book covers have featured. I’m glad that Four is included and it isn’t just narrator Tris, the way Katniss appeared solo in EW’s first look at The Hunger Games. Thank goodness Tris isn’t portrayed wearing nail polish, because she wouldn’t. It’s good that the title word is featured boldy, and I like that the font and color remind me of the way it appears on the book cover. And the text on the left promises we’re about to get more pictures from the set, which will be great.
However. I hate the total lack of connection between Four and Tris in this pose. Did they even take this picture together, or where they photoshopped into the same frame?! They have Tris, whose casting I’m still iffy about, giving us a steely stare in an effort to convince us she’s so tough and Dauntless but they deprive us of Four’s eyes which, lets face it, is what we really want to see. And not only is he looking away from the camera, he’s looking away from Tris! There’s nothing about their body language that hints they’re going to be a couple, except the fact that they’re on a magazine cover together. This glimpse of Four is basically the same as the one other picture revealed so far, except we see a piece of his Dauntless logo back tattoo curling up around his neck on both sides instead of just one. This is the best view we’ve gotten so far of Tris’s raven tattoos, and while I think they’re okay I’m disappointed at the direction they’re flying. She gets the ravens to commemorate the family members she leaves behind when she chooses the Dauntless faction, along her collarbone because it’s close to her heart. I can’t remember if the text specifics the direction of their flight or not, but I always imagined them going towards her heart, not away from it. Flying away from her heart makes the whole thing sadder and more pessimistic, like they’re getting further away from her even as she tries to hold them close. I realize that’s an extremely nit-picky criticism, but while I’m at it, Four’s hair looks like it’s thinning on top. And speaking of hair, why does it look like Tris is wearing a wig? Was her hairline photoshopped to be a little too perfect? And I don’t like her pants. Why do movies always feel the need to make costumes different from regular clothes, when the setting doesn’t require it? I guess costume designers need something to do. But the Dauntless initiates don’t walk around with knives in their over-pocketed pants. And these pants are almost gray, but she should be wearing all black. So the shirt is the wrong color too.
In conclusion, I am a curmudgeonly old fan of the young adult genre and I will never be satisfied. Unless maybe one of the photos inside the magazine is a really awesome one of Four; then I might forget all the negatives and swoon over its perfect capturing of his good looks plus self-determined resolve plus sensitivity. No pressure, Theo James.
There are some more pictures up now on EW’s website, but I’m not really feeling any more optimistic about them. The one I’m including below has got to be the derp-iest running ever from both of them.
Furthermore, one of the scan of the inside pages of the magazine circulating on tumblr shows that EW has chosen to caption an image from the scene where Tris is molested and nearly killed as “FRENEMIES: Excelling at Dauntless training can be dangerous, as Tris learns when her fellow initiates become jealous and attack her.” As I vehemently pointed out in a post on tumblr that has over 100 notes of agreement, “frenemy” is a completely inappropriate word to use to describe a scene where three people, two of them antagonists against Tris from day one, make a pre-meditated attempt to throw her over a bridge to her death. And grope her chest while she’s dangling over the bridge. This does not fall under the definition of “frenemy.”
Finally, my instinct about the direction of the bird tattoos was correct. While it’s not really a huge deal, I don’t see what they’ve gained by changing it. It had more meaning as written, and pretty much all the fanart I’ve reblogged on divergentfanart has drawn the bird tattoos flying the way they’re described in the book:
But I understand now what Tori said about her tattoos representing a fear she overcame–a reminder of where she was, as well as a reminder of where she is now. Maybe there is a way to honor my old life as I embrace my new one.
“Yes,” I say. “Three of these flying birds.”
I touche my collarbone, marking the path of their flight–toward my heart. One for each member of the family I left behind.