The latest movie in a franchise that probably should have been taken out behind the shed, Divergent: Allegiant hits screens at the Village 8 this week and it's about as tense as an over-boiled perogy and as interesting as folding beach towels.
Unique among the host of recent young adult sci-fi franchises in that it actually seems to be getting shittier with each installment, the Divergent storyline seems to have moved away from everything that made it interesting in the first place. The genetic segregation storyline falls away as this recent film climbs into a whole new world of bad writing and techno-exposition that guts the film of any real suspense or emotion. But of course they've split the finale into two parts, so see you next year!
If we make it that long; the election down south is beginning to unfold like the backstory to a too-predictable post-apocalypse movie so in honour of he-who-shan't-be-named (and because Allegiant blows) here's five quick dystopia/post-apocalypse sci-fi movies to help us all remember that no matter how bad things get, some of us will survive. And amongst those (un)lucky survivors, some will (hopefully) be heroic enough to want to stick it to those who are not. Thus, humanity soldiers on. Watch these flicks to see how:
Tank Girl (1995)
This one was trashed when it came out because it was a bit goofy and Ice-T makes a shitty mutant kangaroo, but the premise of a single corporation controlling all the world's power and water seems a lot more grounded in this day and age. Malcolm McDowell plays the evil corporate entity but it's Tank Girl and Jet Girl (Lori Petty and Naomi Watts) who save the day. Female empowerment aside, this one is also notable as one of the first comic book-adaptations that didn't totally suck (depending on who you ask I guess.)
From the twisted mind of Terry Gilliam, this one is like Kafka's The Trial meets Orwell's 1984 but with no single ominous force to even fight back against. Stuck in a consumer-driven, machine-built retro-futuristic society of endless bureaucratic nonsense, this one is also a love story at heart but it carries a dark message about the loss of humanity in the face of progress, and why that is when it's important to laugh.
The best dystopian flicks have that life-imitates-art thing going where parts of the imaginary future seem very probable, almost inevitable, if humanity stays the current course. Gattaca stars Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman in a sharply dressed future where DNA selective breeding (eugenics) are the new method for creating a better world, albeit on where you are only as good, or free, as your genes permit. It's a tight thriller that takes on extra punch when you consider that you can order $99 genome kits today that will test your saliva for genetic disease markers, find out how much Neanderthal DNA you possess or what colour eyes your kid will probably have. Does it matter that the company is backed by funds from Google, and that the era of big data collection might be about to tap into the biggest data bank of all? Nah, we should be fine.
Soylent Green (1973)
This one is a classic but it's also about an overpopulated world of super-consumers that runs out of food. We'll have to start eating bugs in my lifetime but who's ready for some "high energy plankton wafers"?
The Running Man (1987)
It's weird enough that star Arnold Swartzenegger went on to become governor of California but on the "will-probably-come-true" scale this one might be the closest sure bet we have. Based on a Stephen King story, The Running Man is about a reality TV show that's like a cross between The Amazing Race, UFC and Survivor except you are allowed, you're supposed to, kill the other contestants. And it doesn't take a total Hunger Games societal collapse for us to get there either, it's just the natural evolution of entertainment. Coming soon to a pirated livestream near you.
And that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Certainly there is no one single event that can sink our Titanic-like human civilization ("Keep the immigrants below deck! No lifeboats for the poor!"), but doesn't it sometimes seem like Mad Max's Immortan Joe isn't the only power hungry con-man living up in the top of his tower of power these days? The worst is yet to come kids, eat your bugs.