The Divergent Series: Allegiant(2016)
- RatedPG13 /GenreAdventure, Science Fiction
If anything, the ‘Divergent’ series of movies can best be described as an imitation of ‘The Hunger Games’.
The futuristic dystopia, a divided society, the promise of a chosen one — preferably a female — to save said society and a group of like-minded people banding around the chosen one are all familiar and tired tropes by now.
With its third entry, ‘Allegiant’, the movie shows no signs of veering off course; bringing back its roster of actors to do pretty much more of the same. To put it bluntly, there is nothing divergent about ‘Allegiant’ nor did the actors in it show any allegiance to the cause.
Hollywood up-and-comer Shailene Woodley reprises her role as Tris, the girl from Abnegation turned reluctant rebel soldier.
When we last saw her in ‘Insurgent’, Tris and her band of rebels had successfully staged a coup and destroyed Chicago’s caste system. But now, it seems that Tris doesn’t like what is becoming of the new society that she helped wrought.
Led by the fearsome 'Factionless' leader Evelyn (Naomi Watts on autopilot), this new society is one hell-bent on revenge and baying for the blood of its previous oppressors.
Love interest Four (Theo James) breaks out her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) from imminent execution for being a collaborator and they soon pull together a crew of familiar faces (Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q) to hightail it beyond the city’s walls.
Just what they discover over beyond the wall comes as a shock for our heroes: that the stories are true — the rest of the world is an apocalyptic wasteland; the prophecy is false. That is, until they are rescued by David (a dour-faced Jeff Daniels) and his goons from the ominously named Bureau of Genetic Welfare.
While David and his high-tech city gives the promise of hope and salvation for Tris and the rest of the gang, there is, of course, more than meets the eye.
With a cast of some of show business’ fresh new faces and heavyweights, you would naturally expect more. Here, the performances are serviceable at best and sometimes laughably mechanical — most notably from Watts and Daniels.
Thankfully, Shailene Woodley picks up the daunting task of driving the film through to the end. Although it’s not her most compelling work, to say the least, Woodley’s the one that carries the film’s emotional weight, expertly conveying Tris’ maturity and growing resolve.
It has become a force of habit for modern young adult fiction adaptations to have its final instalment hacked in half. ‘Harry Potter’ did it, ‘Twilight’ and ‘Hunger Games’ too. Obviously, ‘The Divergent’ series has to follow suit.
While such an approach might lay the foundation for the story’s eventual conclusion, but as it is done sloppily, it just piles on too much exposition.
This is evident in ‘Allegiant’ as there are just too many strings pulling from all directions, with no payoff at the end.
There are a couple of big reveals along the way but what they do is just to veer away from the franchise’s original premise of a future with a caste system to one that is centred round a nefarious conspiracy.
Let’s just hope the final movie — Ascendant — taken from the second half of Veronica Roth’s ‘Allegiant’ novel — will ramp things up as it draws the story to a close.
‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’ opens 17 March 2016