I just read a review of the movie Insurgent from the Divergent series. Never mind that the title here is confusing in that I will never be able to remember which is the original and which is the sequel, the film is another post-apocalyptic young adult sci-fi festival celebrating teen angst and special snowflake heroism. The author of the review argues that up-and-comer actress, Shailene Woodley, needed a star-maker vehicle and that this film series did the trick adequately. He had other stuff to say too. Read his article yourself if you’re that curious. I don’t have time to summarize the whole thing. I’ve got other stuff to write today.
The point I’m making here is about the recent uptick in young adult sci-fi films in the last few years. (It’s something the reviewer also discusses.) I watched a trailer yesterday for the book-turned-film The Maze Runner, which seems to be a cut-rate Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies. It looks dull AF. Seriously, the Divergent series may also be a Hunger Games copycat but at least they knew enough to copycat the interesting female lead actress part of the film.
Just like other struggling writers, I find myself wishing I had a decent idea for a post-apocalyptic, teen-angst filled, warrior woman led young adult story idea that I could crap out quickly enough to ride this current bandwagon to wealth and fame. Too bad, so sad for me. Some might argue the trend started way back with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Cash Grab, in which case, I don’t even need to worry about hurrying since that film’s popularity hasn’t diminished and it’s 14 years old. (I know, right? The film is a teenager itself now.) Also, Hermione wasn’t the main character in the film. Just in my heart. And every “who’s your Harry Potter BFF?” quiz I take.
Alas, I don’t have a decent idea for a cash grab of my own. In fairness to JK Rowling, I don’t actually think the Harry Potter series was a cash grab. At least not until the last book was split into two movies. Peter Jackson did not need that idea put into his head. Splitting a book into two movies is now a meme-slash-trope-slash joke. Way to ruin the franchise, everyone. But I’ll be honest, if some director/producer wanted to turn my currently non-existent post-apocalyptic, teen-angst filled, warrior woman led young adult story into a series of movies numbering more than the number if books on which they were based, I would totally sign the contract. Writers don’t have scruples.
The recent trend of sci-fi/action movies based on young adult book series is actually not a bad thing. First of all, I have always loved a good dystopian future story, and I love actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley who make our potentially dismal future look not as horrifying by being competent with weapons and unthreateningly attractive. I do think there is still plenty of gold to be chipped out of that literary mine. Speaking of which, I need to get some more writing done on my novel. (It’s not a post-apocalyptic, teen-angst filled, warrior woman led young adult story, but who knows what the second draft will look like.)
In summation, I’m not even going to talk about Twilight, except to say that I hope K-Stew gets a second star-maker vehicle because despite the dismal character she played that series, I think she’s got potential.