The latest film in the seemingly endless Divergent series, based on the first half of the third book, has arrived in theaters. If you are the parent of a fan of the books, here’s what you’ll want to know about the movie before you take the younglings.
1. What is it about?
The movie chronicles the continuing adventures of Tris and Four and they discover what lies beyond the Wall.
2. Do I need to have seen the prior movies or read the books to make sense of this one?
If you understood what I said in the sentence above, then you’re all set. If not, you’re going to be lost. This movie does pick up pretty much right after the last one. I haven’t read any of the books, and I haven’t seen Insurgent since it came out last year. There were a few points in the story here that I was a bit lost on. It took me awhile, for instance, to remember who Naomi Watts’ character was. So yes, you really need to be following the series at this point.
3. What’s it rated? Why?
The film is rated PG-13 for “intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity.” Let’s take each of those in turn.
“Intense violence and action:” Yes, it’s an action film. I wouldn’t exactly call the action “intense,” but that’s a judgement call. There is quite a bit of violence, including a few summary executions in the first few minutes of the movie, but no blood at all.
“Thematic elements:” I’m never exactly clear on what the MPAA classifies as a “thematic element.” Tris and Four kiss a few times. There are the aforementioned executions. But beyond that? Nothing that’s likely to upset teens.
“Partial nudity:” Well, yeah, technically. The sequence in question involves Tris having a strip nude and walk through a hallway. It makes sense in the movie, but I don’t want to reveal any spoilers so I won’t explain why. The hallway lighting is pretty much specifically designed to not reveal, so while Shailene Woodley is quite clearly nude you don’t see anything at all.
4. Will the kids like it? Will I?
I’m assuming fans of the books will enjoy it. I can tell you that the teenage girls that were in the row behind me were very much enjoying the movie (at least they seemed to be up to the point when I moved because no one apparently has ever taught them to be quiet and courteous in theaters), but most of that enjoyment seemed to stem from seeing Theo James on screen.
I’ll be honest and admit to not having liked it. It was better than Insurgent, which was on my list of the ten worst films 2015, but only slightly. The writing and acting are still stiff, and there are still plot holes you could drive a truck through.
5. When can I sneak out for a bathroom break?
The movie is officially 2 hours long, but there are almost 15 minutes of credits at the end. The best time to sneak out is just before the one hour mark when Tris is first introduced to Jeff Daniels’ character David. They talk about not-too-important stuff for a few minutes, so you can safely miss that part.
6. Is it worth seeing in IMAX?
The movie isn’t playing in 3D anywhere around me, so I don’t know if that version exists. Considering that the last one was 3D it seems odd that this wouldn’t be. So I obviously didn’t see that version, but I also didn’t see anything in the movie that would seem to be better in 3D.
I did see it in Cinemark’s XD theater, which has the great big screen and digital sound. Kind of mini-IMAX. It’s definitely the kind of movie that benefits somewhat from the bigger, louder effects. But it’s also a weak enough movie overall that I’m not sure it’s worth paying extra to see.
7. Is there anything after the credits?
8. Is there really another movie coming?
Yes. Following in the grand tradition of Harry Potter, The Hobbit, and Hunger Games the studio is milking the series for all they can get, so they’ve taken the last book and split it in two. Because money.