Like lemmings with no soul, conscience or free will outside of toxic 2K+ media manipulation, millennials are making dystopian entertainment the pay per view ticket to their future nightmares. The very latest in the world-has-gone-mad-so-let's-all-act-like-war-drones-from-an-Orwell-novel is Divergent, where unfree society is segregated into factions made up of different personality archetypes. There are wise ones, peaceniks, war hawks, selfless, honest and those who don't fit into any category or know too much about the world that has gone bad to fit in or to care.
Protagonist heroine of the latter (Shailene Woodley) stars in director Neil Burger's rip off of Hunger Games whose title alone was enough cynical cinema depression to last millennials for the rest of the 2010s. But no, another author Veronica Roth had to come along with a similar redundant theme of a post apocalyptic world in chaos where youth survival is a lifelong groundhog day of Golding's Lord of the Flies. Coyboy and Indian comic book fluff for end of the world fangirls, only Kate Winslet and Ashley Judd stand out as a bad girl and a tough mother above the fray.
Set in a post war Chitown, the love interest here with roughhouse warrior teacher/mentor Theo James is forced almost as an ongoing afterthought. And although amidst filler subplots and threats of exile an atypical modern music noise sound track mixes well with the celluloid surroundings, the quality of the audio window dressing only serves to remind you how much the film lacks any humanity or center. Not to give away spoilers, Divergent stops being entertaining when the double message plot build up leads to an unresolute resolution that leaves room for a sequel.
Back in the days when serious sci-fi was for far out film fanatics and not box office poison conditioned masses, this sort of movie was reserved for grindhouse camp or magazine genre sensibilities. But now that such serial soil is sold like so much meat and potato sequel series pastime, you can judge the pulse of new age taste by the filmgoers who make motion picture pablum like this into hit movies. If the darkness is too much to take, all of these millennial fright fight flicks set in dystopia aren't kiddie show business as usual but manic media brainwashing for young naive minds.
What with the threat of climate change and shaky global economics, one can easily gather the psychological impetus behind the juvenile addiction to grave new unworldly subject matter. But good entertainment works as here and now escapism and not a theatrical fear sale of the future. Whereas old school matinees had teens simply coming of age, these new ones exhibit a coming of rage as they inherit a lost world they must fit into or fight off in amorally myopic disaster movies with no social freedom, no hope for humankind and no light at the end of the teen tunnel.