The Divergent series of films depicted a dystopian future where humanity finds itself divided. In this particular story, the factions are based on human virtues. If one does not fit any faction, they are labeled as the Divergent. What seems to be a perfect society soon unravels with its sinister corruption that has oppressed those with outside ideals. True to the young adult format, the only heroes who can save the day are teenagers who grow up fast when they’re hunted by cruel adults.
The Divergent film series was a part of a huge trend in dystopian tales ripped from the pages of young adult novels. In this case, the many movies were based on the books written by Veronica Roth. But it was only one of many book franchises of a similar nature that were brought to the big screen. There were plenty of films that featured familiar scenarios of teenagers rebelling against an adjusted society of the future. So if you find yourself pining for more after you’ve plowed through all the films of the The Divergent Series, consider these ten films from the same era that fiercely competed for the young crowd fighting back against decayed worlds.
The Hunger Games
Of course, what ultimately made the dystopian teen sub genre so popular was the coming of The Hunger Games. Based on the novel series by Suzanne Collins, the film takes place in a future where resources are scarce, forcing the poor and hungry communities to compete in violent games of death for their colony’s survival. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers herself as the warrior representing District 12 in place of her sister. What starts as a hyped game of deadly survival soon turns into Katniss inspiring a revolution against such a corrupt system. Directed by Gary Ross (Pleasantville), this action-packed dystopian story additionally stars the talents of Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland. The Hunger Games turned out to be such a hit that it led to the sequels of Catching Fire (2013), Mockingjay Part 1 (2014), and Mockingjay Part 2 (2015).
The Maze Runner
Based on the novel series by James Dashner, The Maze Runner finds a collective of kids awakening in a mysterious forest. They have no idea how they got there and can’t find a way back to civilization. Even worse, they find themselves being attacked by mysterious creatures known as the Grievers. Seeking an exit from such a place, the group must brave a deadly maze to find their way out of such a dangerous world. What they find on the other side, however, may be worse than what they feared. Directed by visual effects artist Wes Ball, this survival story in a grim future stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, and Patricia Clarkson. As with most successful dystopian franchises of this era, it would go onto the sequels of The Scorch Trials (2015) and The Death Cure (2018).
Based on the novel by Lois Lowry, The Giver showcases false-utopia where the absence of emotion, love, freedom, individuality, and joy have removed pain and turmoil among the people of Earth. The people have also been modified to not see the color of the world anymore. But one man, known as The Giver, is given the elite status of being the Receiver of Memory and needs to take on a protege. The teenager Jacob is chosen to see what the Giver sees and know all that he knows. But Jacob may not be prepared to handle the truth about how corrupt a society has become when it denies basic human emotions. Directed by Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger), this visually stimulating dystopian tale features the talents of Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift, Cameron Monaghan, Odeya Rush, and Emma Tremblay.
The Fifth Wave
Based on the novel by Rick Yancy, The Fifth Wave takes place in a world where aliens have invaded Earth. The human race now enslaved by invaders are now facing extinction if humanity doesn’t fight back. It may be up to the Ohio teenager Cassie Sullivan to fight off the invaders and see her family again. Her journey will be one of trying to survive in the wilderness and questioning just who to trust in such a changing world. Directed by J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed), this sci-fi action picture stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff, Alex Roe, Maria Bello, Maika Monroe, Zackary Arthur, and Liev Schreiber.
The Darkest Minds
The modern world becomes a much different place when the miraculous discovery is made of teenagers taking on supernatural powers and abilities. This spike in superhumans makes the government overreact and deem such children a danger to the fate of the planet. Hoping to quell their powers, the kids are held in a detention camp to keep their powers under strict confinement. But they may not be able to contain the power of the girl Ruby, strong enough to manipulate the adults who seek to control them. She and a team of other young people lead a war against the adults who wish to strip the kids of their abilities. Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 2) and based on the book of the same title by Alexandra Bracken, the cast includes Amandla Stenberg, Harris Dickinson, Mandy Moore, and Gwendoline Christie.
A post-apocalyptic landscape finds a different sort of societies where cities have become mobile, treading across the dusty land like gigantic tanks. The city of London now exists as a mechanical beast of a vessel, lumbering about and consuming any and all smaller cities and vehicles. The only one who is capable of stopping such a monstrosity is the mysterious woman of Hester Shaw, seeking vengeance on the evil tyrant who runs such a city. Teamed up with the outcast boy Tom, she assembles a team of other rebels to stop such a threat to the world. Based on the book by Philip Reeve and produced by Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings), this fantasy epic of dystopian adventure features the talents of Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Hugo Weaving, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, and Stephen Lang.
City of Ember
The underground city of Ember has been kept alive for many generations thanks to a massive and powerful generator. But the city’s time may be coming to an end with the knowledge that the generator was only designed to last 200 years. And its days are currently numbered. As the generator starts to fail, it’s up to the young heroes of Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan) and Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway) to restore the light to their world via a series of clues to help guide them in the right direction. Based on the sci-fi novel by Jeanne DuPrau, this middle-grade adventure comes from director Gil Kenan (Monster House) and features the supporting talents of Mary Kay Place, Bill Murray, Martin Landau, Toby Jones, and Tim Robbins.
Set in a future where humanity has taken to the stars, the space fleets are looking to young people as the future of their armadas. The young Ender is among the new recruits for training in space to become the soldiers of the future. While there, he engages in physical and mental combat when pitted in games of zero-gravity war and strategic simulations. But all is not as it seems when Ender starts questioning the lengths to which his training extends, unsure of how such training will transform him and questions his ability to trust others. Directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and based on the book series created by Orson Scott Card, this sci-fi action-drama features a cast that includes Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld, and Abigail Breslin.
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) believes she is just an average teenage girl living in New York City. But then she learns the truth, that she is actually a descendent from a long line of beings known as the Shadowhunters. The Shadowhunters exist as half-angel warriors to keep the forces of evil at bay from attacking the mortal realm. She soon teams up with other Shadowhunters to enter into the realm of Downworld, filled with all sorts of fantastical and dangerous creatures. With her mother missing, a mysterious and ancient cup may hold the key to learning the secrets of her family. Based on the novel by Cassandra Clare, this urban fantasy stars Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West, Kevin Zegers, Lena Headey, Kevin Durand, Aidan Turner, Godfrey Gao, C. C. H. Pounder, Jared Harris, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
The future is quite dry and desolate when water becomes a scarce source. Michael Shannon plays a farmer who continues to toil away on his farm, hoping that one day the soil will return to its natural state if he keeps his guard up and his land protected. But he may have to tangle with problems in his family as his daughter’s boyfriend seeks to steal the farmland by any means necessary. Written and directed by Jake Paltrow, this sci-fi action western features a cast that additionally includes Nicholas Hoult, Elle Fanning, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.