MARK ON MOVIES: Deceptive diversions

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MARK ON MOVIES: Deceptive diversions



I can’t remember the last time I went to the movies twice in the same weekend in March.  But such was the case with two of my anticipated movies on the big screen.

The Divergent Series – Allegiant

I really wanted to like this movie.  Divergent was such a surprise for me and Insurgent was so eye popping that I naturally kept an eye out for the finale Allegiant. 

To be fair, the source material is taken from the trilogy of the same name by Veronica Roth.  Therefore, not much can be changed so the fact that I found it disappointing might be my expectations.  However, I think there is enough blame to pass around.

The most obvious point that I clearly missed is that, like The Hunger Games - Mocking Jay and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, this book is broken into two movies.  So actually, be aware that it is Allegiant Part 1. 

Had I been aware of that from the outset, I may have been prepared for a “set up” movie.  Instead, I am waiting for a stronger resolution, disappointed by the obvious twist, and left wondering when the characters became so wooden.  Even the romantic angles with Tris and Four seemed forced and their heroism less thrilling. 

I also didn’t enjoy being slapped in the face with the clear moral of the story, that despite our differences, we can work together to rebuild.  Instead of using our different talents to divide us, we should celebrate them. 

The dispassionate delivery of this universal truth toward the end of the movie seems to say more about the United States of 2016 given the campaign of Donald Trump, than the factions created in the fictional Chicago of 2250.  The fact that this is pretty well the lasting thought of this film does little to set the stage for a robust ending. 

I really, really wanted to like this film.  I didn’t. 

10 Cloverfield Lane

JJ Abrams smash “Cloverfield” set the stage for a new type of sci-fi movie making.  No big stars, unique film making technique and a solid premise that was understood by the audience. 

So how do you follow it up?  With, what JJ called “a blood relative.”  It is not a sequel, but the use of Cloverfield in the title is meant to evoke its connection.  But just what is the connection?  That, my kind reader, is for you to enjoy.

While the above mentioned “Allegiant” cost an estimated $110 million, 10 Cloverfield Lane only ran the studio bosses $5 million in production.  This only goes to show that a good story, well told, well acted and well promoted will always find an audience. 

While I didn’t find it as nail biting as was hustled in the media, I found it very engrossing in its richness of characters and the strained relationships they endure underground. 

As the film reaches its apex, you are scrambling to decide which of the clues you’ve been shown are true, which are red herrings, and which are the connection to the original Cloverfield.  All of this is achieved with basically three characters in a claustrophic doomsday bunker. 

Major kudos to John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr. 

I wouldn’t dream of spoiling the ending of the film because the pursuit is far more important than the capture.  I will say that it is pointless to expect that everything you saw be tied up in a neat bow by the time credits roll.

Given the circumstances and flaws in every human’s need to survive, 10 Cloverfield Lane doesn’t demand an Agatha Christie “whodunit” explanation, but the JJ Abrams knack of letting you decide for yourself.

Read More: Entertainment, Mark on Movies, Opinion, Guest Blogs, Quinte

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