Sunday, March 20, 2016
(Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant):
I like the Divergent Series/Franchise about as much as I like the Hunger Games Series/Franchise which is basically, They aite. It's the strong leads - Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley which give each movie juice, along with the production designs. I haven't read the young adult novels by Suzanne Collins or Veronica Roth, but I'm almost certain the books would give me more of what I'm craving with these stories, which is story, heart, more than just a premise.
I am a sci-fi fan, not a geek, or an authority, but dystopian futures and high tech gadgetry works for me, so I'm down with the ideas behind both franchises; and as I was watching Allegiant, I couldn't help but think, damn, we may not be too far from having to separate into factions in order to live - if things continue to get more and more divided among Trump supporters; those with BlackLivesMatters ideals; those with Bernie Sanders all for one ideals; and the rest of us moderate liberals. There's a reason why in the last 4 or 5 years we've had so many pre/during/post apocalyptic movies, it's the muses of the Universe inspiring movie makers, saying "Wake Up!" this horrific future could be real!
For those of you who have not followed the Divergent Series, let me see if I can break it down for you real quick like:Divergent - Director: Neil Burger Screenplay: Evan Daugherty & Vanessa Taylor
Divergent post for the real breakdown of the factions. Anyway, the weird part is, although you take a test to see where you fit, you also have the ability to choose your faction. However, if you fit into ALL of the above, then you're divergent and you must be done away with in order to keep the status quo. Of course, our heroine, Tris, discovers she's divergent and has to hide it from the powers that be - Erudite faction, lead by the power hungry, unfeeling Janine (Kate Winslet).
Tris picks the Dauntless faction which are like bad-ass police, they're in good shape, adventuresome and ready for combat, but for some reason, they are not Janine's army. She has another group of can't think for themselves soldiers at her beck and call. Anyway, Tris is not really Dauntless material and she has a lot to prove mentally and physically in the first movie. This is also where she meets Four (Theo James), he's all gorgeous, swarthy, tattoos, moody stares, firm jaw, hard but loyal and true. Opposite of Four is another Dauntless member Peter (Miles Teller) he's a smart-ass most of the time, seems harmless enough, but he winds up betraying Tris & Four big time in all 3 movies. And then there's Zoe Kravitz as Christina, another member of Dauntless, but she's useless as a character, personality 0. Kravitz is just collecting a paycheck. Not only is there not much written for her role, she doesn't bring any personality to it either.
Mekhi Phifer)- Director: Robert Schwentke, Screenplay: Brian Duffield & Akiva Goldsman
The group including Tris' brother Caleb are on the run from Janine and hide out with Johanna (Octavia Spencer) the leader of Amity (peaceful faction). I can't really remember much of what happens in Insurgent, I know Caleb also betrays Tris & Four, siding with Janine, but I can't remember the exact nature of his duplicity. The main plot involves this futuristic cube, with digital information locked inside. Somehow Janine realizes you need the right divergent person in order to open the cube and of course that person is Tris, but it's like a painful process to be hooked up to the cube and... The big deal for fans of the series, is in this movie Tris and Four consummate their relationship. Tris gets the tattoo of the 3 Ravens which represent her mother, father and brother. Tris parents are important to the story, but I'm trying to give the skimmed down overview, so I didn't go into them or their deaths. We also meet Four's mother Evelyn (Naomi Watts) who abandoned him to an abusive father when he was little. In her absence she's been leading a rebel group, who are trying to remove Janine from power. At the end of Insurgent Tris does unlock the cube which reveals there's another civilization still on the planet outside the walls of Chicago. This group planted all the people in Chicago into factions as an experiment and the experiment was supposed to honor anyone who was found to be divergent, not eliminate them out of fear. It also ends with Evelyn killing Janine.
Evelyn is now in power, but she's just as abusive and unseeing as Janine. Her objective now is to put all of Janine's people on trial, including Tris' brother Caleb. But they are mock trials and really everyone's just getting executed. This doesn't sit well with Joanna and she changes the name of her group from Amity to Allegiant and sets out to stop Evelyn. At first Tris is like, I don't care if they execute Caleb, I am not my brother's keeper, but then she has a change of heart and breaks him out. She and Four's objective in this movie is to go beyond the walls and see if the civilization revealed from the cube still exists and to meet them. Only Evelyn isn't having it, and decrees no one is to go over the wall. Of course, Tris, Four, Caleb, Christina and Peter who blackmails them into taking him with them, along with another character Tori (Maggie Q) whose been in all 3 movies, but it's too much to go into her story.
Now we see that a nuclear disaster destroyed the rest of the earth and there's only a few advanced civilizations living within some Wizard of Oz 2.0 type cities, one city is lead by a, you can tell he's going to be shady, David (Jeff Daniels) who welcomes the group with open arms, but he makes it clear it's Tris that holds his interest. Now he can study and test her up close. It seems she's not only divergent, but "pure" David's city has been watching the goings on in Chicago for over 200 years, and Tris is the first pure person, all others are damaged...
Bottom line: If you started the series, you may as well watch it through to Allegiant Part 2 due out next year. Of course just like Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 1 & 2, a fourth movie is unnecessary. I wish they wouldn't milk these franchises past their expiration points. There's a reason why trilogies work, what do you call a four part series anyway?
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