Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan



Several times while watching this film I was a little confused. Is this The Hunger Games? Or is it Ender’s Game? Or even Full Metal Jacket. Young people are going to extremely brutal military schools in all of them. The recent ones also all feature protagonists who are “special,” in some way. What’s the deal with that? Well, that’s okay, I guess. Juvenile fiction has always catered to the feeling most teens have of being, 1) weird, isolated, misunderstood, and 2) above the common herd. Hell, I’ve done it myself in my {Thunder and Lightning}} series.

I hadn’t been aware that this is the first installment of a trilogy of novels, to be followed (since this one made a lot of money) by Insurgent and Allegiant. The idea is, after some long-ago war, the city of Chicago sealed itself off from the dangerous world outside (which I didn’t believe for a minute; obviously it’s to keep the Chicagoans in.). They have stratified society into five types: Abnegation (the bleeding hearts who help other people), Amity (pledged to non-violence), Candor (who never lie, and wouldn’t they be a lot of fun at parties?), Erudite (eggheads), and Dauntless (soldiers, cops, risk-takers, the sort who today make videos of themselves jumping off buildings and busting their nuts on picket fences). They are supposedly equal, but I’ll bet you’ll never guess which one has come up with a dastardly scheme to turn everyone into robots that can be easily controlled, “for the good of society.” Bingo! You win the kewpie doll. It’s the eggheads, led by Kate Winslet.

It was an interesting movie, and I might take a look at the sequels, but it’s by no means a sure thing. A marginal thumbs up, as Roger used to say.