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The Divergent Series: Allegiant the good and the bad

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Release date: March 18, 2016
Studio: Summit Entertainment (Lionsgate)
Director: Robert Schwentke
Rating: PG-13 (for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity)
Screenwriters: Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, Bill Collage , Stephen Chbosky
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, Jeff Daniels, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Keiynan Lonsdale, Jonny Weston, Mekhi Phifer, Daniel Dae Kim, Nadia Hilker, Bill Skarsgård
Genre: Action, Adventure

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3 Books 4 movies. A familiar recipe these days. Inevitably Hollywood stretches out the payday by stretching out the life span of popular franchises, making 2 films when 1 would suffice. And there are times when this reviewer, loves that! More time with the beloved characters I’ve lived with first on the page and now on the screen? Sign me up! But this strategy may backfire for Allegiant and the Divergent Film Franchise.

Allegiant Alienates. In the previous films, “Divergent” & “Insurgent”, the viewer could find someway to relate to the characters and therefore feel invested in their journey. At the heart of the previous films was a coming of age story about a young woman’s journey to self discovery while navigating her way through the complication’s of life’s social contracts: family, friendship, and faction! All while battling a clear enemy, amidst an action filled, science-fiction dystopian backdrop. And backdrop may be the key word. In Allegiant the “world beyond the wall” and the film’s “big ideas” overshadow the characters and any personal story that could entice the viewer to care about their journey. What Allegiant lacks in character and relationship development it attempts to make up in heavy-handed special effects. The special effects previously used in the series always seemed properly motivated. For instance, the characters were in a simulation and special effects seamlessly transitioned the viewer into that nightmarish simulation where the line between reality and illusion blurred. Or there were the little touches here and there to visually signal to the viewer that the world the characters live in is the same world we do, just many years in the future. Instead, the special effects in Allegiant depict a world that looks nothing like our own. Whether it’s David’s office at the Bureau or a radioactive wasteland. much of the film looks like it came right out of a computer, which further removes the viewer in my opinion.

Without the enjoyable distraction of rich interpersonal character relationships, the viewer quickly becomes all too aware of the story’s shortcomings. Not only did the long standing character relationships suffer, but the new characters introduced in Allegiant, like Matthew and Nita, come and go without consequence. We know nothing about them other than that they seem to conveniently fulfill plot needs. Ultimately, the attempted sucker punch storyline – that of the Tris-Four relationship – puts entirely too much pressure upon the importance of a lovers spat. From the first signs of trouble in the Tris-Four relationship the viewer knows that it’s a rough patch and that the couple will get through it. The stakes are low, and there is no sense of relief when the couple finally reunites. The characters and the audience alike go through the motions, wading our way through the inevitable. Even the “big idea” of the film, to accept and embrace one another’s differences, while noble, ends up feeling hollow.

Sadly I could not suspend my belief enough to buy into Allegiant. Our heroes may have scaled the giant wall at the start of the film, but for the better part of 120 minutes I still felt like I was on an uphill climb without reprieve. On the upside, I trust that the final installment of the series, Ascendant, will return some of the heart that was lost in Allegiant.

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Apple TV+ announces season two for delightful kids and family series “Camp Snoopy

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Today, Apple TV+ announced a season two for acclaimed kids and family series “Camp Snoopy,” based on the classic Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz and directed by Rob Boutilier (“The Snoopy Show,” “Snoopy in Space”). The complete  first season of “Camp Snoopy” is now streaming globally on Apple TV+.

After discovering their troop is in danger of disbanding, Snoopy and the Beagle Scouts set off to immerse themselves in nature and the Great Outdoors, with the Beagle Scout Manual as their guide. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown and friends enjoy their summer at Camp Spring Lake, crossing paths with Snoopy as they experience hiking, swimming, sitting around campfires and everything summer camp and the outdoors have to offer. 

Produced for Apple TV+ by Peanuts and WildBrain, “Camp Snoopy” is based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz and is directed by Rob Boutilier (“The Snoopy Show,” “Snoopy in Space”). Executive producers are Craig Schulz, Paige Braddock, Boutilier, Josh Scherba, Stephanie Betts and Logan McPherson.

“Camp Snoopy” joined an exciting slate of new offerings for kids and families on Apple TV+ this summer featuring the second season of beloved animated series “Frog and Toad,” based on the Caldecott and Newbery Honor-winning books; animated adventure trilogy “WondLa,” based on the New York Times bestselling book series “The Search for WondLa” by Tony DiTerlizzi; highly anticipated kids and family series “Yo Gabba GabbaLand!,” inspired by the hit, Emmy Award-nominated cultural phenomenon “Yo Gabba Gabba!”; “Me,” an elevated cinematic coming-of-age story from Barry L. Levy; and, the first-ever television adaptation of the cult classic film, “Time Bandits,” starring Lisa Kudrow.

Award-winning all-age offerings now streaming globally on Apple TV+ include celebrated live action animated hybrid special, “The Velveteen Rabbit”; the Academy Award and BAFTA Award-winning animated short film “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse”; Oscar-nominated and BAFTA Award-winning animated film “Wolfwalkers”; the BAFTA Award and Humanitas Prize-winning “El Deafo,” BAFTA Award-winning “Lovely Little Farm,” “Duck & Goose,” “Get Rolling With Otis,” Spin Master Entertainment’s “Sago Mini Friends,” GLAAD Media Award-nominated “Pinecone & Pony,” “Frog and Toad,” The Jim Henson Company’s Emmy Award-winning “Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock,” “Harriet the Spy” and “Slumberkins,” Sesame Workshop’s “Helpsters,” Joseph Gordon-Levitt, HITRECORD and Bento Box Entertainment’s “Wolfboy and the Everything Factory,” Jack McBrayer and Angela C. Santomero’s Emmy Award-nominated “Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show,” Peanuts and WildBrain’s Emmy Award-nominated “Snoopy in Space,” “The Snoopy Show,” Scholastic’s “Eva the Owlet” and Peabody and Emmy Award-winning series “Stillwater.” Live-action offerings include Bonnie Hunt’s DGA and WGA Award-nominated “Amber Brown,” DGA Award-winning “Best Foot Forward,” “Surfside Girls,” WGA Award-winning “Life By Ella,” Sesame Workshop and Sinking Ship’s Emmy Award-winning “Ghostwriter,” Emmy Award and Environmental Media Association Award winning “Jane,” and Scholastic’s “Puppy Place.”

Also included are “Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth,” the Emmy Award-winning television event based on the New York Times bestselling book and TIME Best Book of the Year by Oliver Jeffers, and specials from Peanuts and WildBrain including Emmy Award-nominated “Snoopy Presents: It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown,” “Snoopy Presents: Lucy’s School,” Humanitas and Emmy Award-nominated “Snoopy Presents: To Mom (and Dad), With Love,” “Snoopy Presents: One-of-a-Kind Marcie,” “Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin,” Emmy Award-winning “Snoopy Presents: Who Are You, Charlie Brown?” and “Snoopy Presents: For Auld Lang Syne.”

Apple TV+ offers premium, compelling drama and comedy series, feature films, groundbreaking documentaries, and kids and family entertainment, and is available to watch across all of a user’s favorite screens. After its launch on November 1, 2019, Apple TV+ became the first all-original streaming service to launch around the world, and has premiered more original hits and received more award recognitions faster than any other streaming service in its debut. To date, Apple Original films, documentaries and series have earned 499 wins and 2,262 award nominations and counting, including multi-Emmy Award-winning comedy “Ted Lasso” and historic Oscar Best Picture winner “CODA.”

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