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The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016) – My rating: 8/10

AllegiantConfusing is not the word for the new category of “the world has ended” movies. Usually the youth are shut out, which causes them to fight the older population for any information that can lead to their freedom and a better functioning world.  Their goal is a world that will allow them the right to make their own decisions with less stringent rules and a more flexible future for all. Included in these world ending series where people are also categorized by class, is the Maze Runner/Scorch Trails, The Hunger Games trilogy, Tomorrowland, The Giver, District 9 and Elysium. I found myself getting confused and overlapping stories, making Divergent and Maze Runner fitting nicely together as one story. Having pointed out Hollywood’s new obsession, let me add that it isn’t all bad. While these movies are dealing with similar themes, some are doing it better than others. I like the Maze Runner series better than the Divergent series. I found the Hunger Games to be a little over the top, given the ending. In this third installment of the Divergent series, we find Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) along with her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter (Miles Teller) running away from their home.  No one is allowed to approach the wall which is heavily secured by members of Evelyn’s (Naomi Watts) coalition.  However, they manage to get through and are greeted by an unknown army.  The soldiers take the them to the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a highly advanced city where they learn the truth about their society. Many years ago, the government believed that society’s problems were caused by “bad genes”. In an attempt to create a better society, they began to modify people’s genes, with disastrous results. The government set up “experiments” in an attempt to repair this mistake, establishing isolated cities across the remains of the United States. The hope was to raise enough genetically pure Divergent individuals to fix the “genetic damage” left in the wake of the Purity War.  The bureau is headed up by David (Jeff Daniels) who deems Tris to be a pure Divergent and is therefore suited to help him get funding from the council he reports to in order to extend his experiments that will ultimately include the destruction of Chicago.  Of course there is much more going on, but as usual, I don’t want to give away any more of the plot.  Allegiant concludes with some very good turn of events. In my opinion, Allegiant is the best of the trilogy. The director (Robert Schwentke) ties events together quite nicely bringing good closure to this final sequel. Great acting and great special effects. There’s lots of adventure and the story is interesting and will keep you guessing.

INSURGENT (2015) – My rating: 7/10

InsurgentI was really excited about seeing the second installment of Divergent.  As it turns out, it’s much like Maze Runner and The Hunger Games.  Not that it wasn’t good, it was a concept that was just too familiar, I felt cheated.  As in Divergent, our future world is divided into 5 Factions: Dauntless, Factionless, Candor, Erudite and Divergent.  All is good unless you fit into more than one Faction.  Mainly, if you’re deemed a Divergent like Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Tris’ love interest, you’re doomed.  That would make you too versatile.   This is not what makes the movie like the others I’ve mentioned, it’s the outcome or the reason everything is the way it is.  I kind of felt it was all for nothing.  Their explanation of things was nothing new.  I also found the movie to be a little slow, long and boring.  Different groups of Factions were running around, trying to enforce indecisive plans that made no sense.  Each Faction has a leader.  Something like a governor and all Factions together has one leader, Jeanine (Kate Winslet), something like a president.  Of course power goes to ones head and decisions are based on the president’s determination to keep things as they are, right or wrong.  If you read between the lines, it’s obvious which Faction is most powerful, knowledgeable and forceful.  Once you’ve figured that out, the whole thing just falls apart.  The film focused on a box found in the wreckage of Abnegation and taken to Erudite where Jeanine claims the box holds a message from their founders.  The problem is only a Divergent can open it, so Jeanine must capture the right Divergent who can pass vigorous test to open the box.  There are plenty spurts of action and some exciting scenes but overall, Insurgent isn’t really that interesting.  I would love to write spoilers for this, but I wouldn’t want to ruin things for those of you who are anxious about seeing Insurgent.  Overall, wait for the DVD!

BTW:  Allegiant is the 3rd installment of this trilogy which will go into production soon.

THE FAULT WITH OUR STARS (2014) – My rating: 9/10

TheFaultInOurStarsWhat a heart felt story complete with warm fuzzy’s.  Two beautiful people share similar views on life and death.  Both have cancer and are dealing with their disease along with friends and parents.  They meet at a support group, just when they are pretty much at wits end.  This is not just a love story, as it sends a powerful message and promises nothing.  This film is as raw and down to earth as a movie can get.  Directed by Josh Boone, The Fault with our Stars is brilliantly written and acted.  Hazel played by Shailene Woodley and Gus played by Ansel Elgort are 2 teenagers who were diagnosed at an early age with cancer.  Their union causes them to share a journey that will come to mean more than anything they have experienced, thus far, in their lives.  While you will need to pull out the tissues, I urge everyone to share in this remarkable movie.  It’s both powerful and enlightening.

DIVERGENT (2014) – My rating 8/10

DivergentThe trailers on Divergent were a little fuzzy, as I didn’t really get what the movie was all about.  Now that I’ve seen it, I have to do a little comparison to The Hunger Games.  Like the Hunger Games, the world was categorized into sections.  In Divergent, there is 1 choice from the existing 5 categories one can choose to spend their life perusing.  There’s no going back once the choice is made.  Like Hunger Games, the government totally rules every aspect of your life.

The one thing you don’t want to be is a Divergent.  Being a Divergent is a death sentence since a Divergent cannot be controlled.  The movie starts out with a seemingly normal family.  Ashley Judd plays Natalie, the mother.  Tony Goldwyn of TVs Scandal plays Andrew, the father.  Their son and daughter (Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley) plays Caleb and Tris, respectively.  The 2 children have come of age to be tested and classified in one of the 5 categories.  The adventure starts when the children pick their respective category and begin their life training.  The movie focuses mainly on Tris who is the Divergent.   Kate Winslet plays one of the villains and does quite a convincing job.  While Divergent doesn’t quite reach the heights of The Hunger Games, it is close enough to rake in mega bucks and earn a place on the box office hall of fame.  I wasn’t jumping up and down but I was entertained.  All in all, not bad.