MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Allegiant’ isn’t the last ‘Divergent’ movie and that’s unfortunate

divergent

Film: The Divergent Series – Allegiant
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Jeff Daniels, Theo James, Naomi Watts

The Divergent series always seemed a bit of an enigma to me. These movies are churned out once a year, they don’t make that much money in comparison to other big budget fare, and they always leave you with a promise of more to come. It’s almost like there’s supposed to be deepening to the corners of whatever cobbled-together futuristic dystopia the series sports. The problem here is that the story has nowhere to run or hide now, so things become cyclical and border on self-parody. “More of the same” doesn’t even begin to break down how Allegiant—the new (and penultimate) installment—gets burdened with carrying out the motions until the series comes to a close next year. This is two whole hours of boring retread bereft of any sort of personality, and the movie knows that.

Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) have successfully removed the evil Jeanine (Kate Winslet) from office, only to find the faction and faction-less still at unrest. They round up a gang of turncoats and set their sights on overcoming the wall that separates them from the outside world. What they find is much more dangerous and life-threatening, though. David (Jeff Daniels), the man orchestrating the “experiment” that is post-apocalyptic Chicago, sees all others as damaged goods except for Tris. Now Tris must make the impossible decision of saving the people back home or sacrificing them to start anew. Guess which option she picks?

The weird thing about Allegiant and the other Divergent entries is that they’re too lazy to work out exactly what or where they’re getting at. The Maze Runner series at least spices up the tedium with zombies and hallucinogenic drug parties. Allegiant just has futuristic ships, space elevators and drone software. So futuristic! Beneath the overly-aestheticized visuals lies a hollow shell of a story about a girl who keeps fighting the power only to find herself befuddled when a new power rises that she doesn’t agree with.

Allegiant has this blaring thing about eugenics going on, too. Please, don’t take this as some idiosyncracy that you need to see with your own eyes. Eugenics being the study of improving the qualities of the human race by means of genocide, selective mating or other nefarious things. David believes that if he wipes the memory of the damaged, he can continue to make a society consisting of people best fit for a game of natural selection; pitting people against each other for the purpose of creating a better world. Sounds pretty nefarious, doesn’t it? Here’s where the YA genre modicum interferes, though. Tris loves Four and the rest of the citizens of Chicago for all of their genetic inconsistencies and decides to try to save them all.

What happens in the end, though? What will make the audience stick around for another go-around? Nothing. Allegiant ends with (spoiler…?) Tris and the gang tasked with rebuilding after showing David the power of a repressed people, the good that can come from the power of teamwork. If this sounds all too familiar, it’s probably because it’s the same thing that happened in Divergent and Insurgent.

The performances don’t help Allegiant’s case, either. Woodley, James, Daniels, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts and the rest of the talented people seem tuckered out from the burden brought on by the material. In between gunfights they must have all been taking naps because they seem as disconnected with reality as a toddler is with the choo-choo train of food coming straight for its mouth. Allegiant treats the audience almost like toddlers, feeding them the same tired ol’ shit they’ve eaten up before because this is a third entry in a franchise and people like to be completists. The only thing complete here is my patience. All of the Divergent entries are ugly-looking byproducts of a cinematic fad that needs to go away. The actual scat of what’s playing in theaters right now.

GRADE: F

Sam Cohen

Sam Cohen is that guy you can't have a conversation with without bringing up Michael Mann. He is also incapable of separating himself from his teenage angst (looking at you, Yellowcard). Read on as he tries to formulate words about movies!
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  • Too much talking … I think this basically a transition movie for the last one. But the story is so true about human being. There is always something that we may not agree to no matter where we go.