Hot Take: I’d call this feckless sequel a dumpster fire but at least a dumpster fire has a little bit of life to it.
The Divergent Series already had a major problem coming into it’s third film as the YA dystopian landscape is packed with options and, unfortunately, The Divergent Series hasn’t done a great job of differentiating itself from the other YA dystopian offerings. There are too many similarities between The Divergent Series and The Hunger Games and while Shailene Woodley is an adequate heroine, her Tris pales in comparison to Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss. And while the series has more depth than The Maze Runner series, the action and dystopian landscape of The Maze Runner blow away anything The Divergent Series has to offer.
Then there’s the unfortunate circumstance that is Allegiant. The third installment of the series is one of two films based on the third novel of the literary series. From all accounts (I haven’t read the books), the third film diverges from the book and from most accounts, the 2+ hour film covers over 80% of the book’s content. Sadly, despite covering a massive amount of ground, Allegiant feels mechanical and the cast seems as bored to be in the film as this audience member was watching it.
Worse yet is the action and effects. The film relies heavily on CGI and, while I’m not one to usually notice, it was evident in many scenes. It felt as if the cast noticed, too, as the CGI-reliant scenes felt stiff and emotionless. But the lack of any real emotion or connection wasn’t left only to the CGI scenes. There’s very little emotion in the film at all. The film never really stops to explore, well, anything going on. Four (Theo James) must decide between girlfriend Tris and mother Evelyn (Naomi Watts) early on in the film and while it looks like it might be a gutwrenching decision, 30 seconds later Four is by Tris’ side. (SPOILER ALERT!) There’s a death early in the first act as the Tris and the group head over the wall fleeing Chicago. While there’s a brief (very brief) moment of sadness on the face of the group, the movie quickly moves on which is ok but then the movie never doubles back to show any sort of emotional connection to the loss of a friend.
Essentially, that’s the feel of the entire film. It’s robotic run to the finish feels like going through the motions to set up the final chapter in the series. Without any emotion or major plot twists, the film could at least deliver some impressive action scenes but even the very mediocre The 5th Wave served up better action than the yawn that is The Divergent Series: Allegiant.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- Jeff Daniels
Even though it seems as though Daniels is among the rest of the group as far as phoning in a performance, his stands out as the best sleepwalking through his part as David, the leader of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare. That’s the best I can come up with.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Robotic and Without Emotion
Typically, this genre has no problem hamming it up and putting the emotion meter on tilt.
After bombing at the theaters, the studio responsible for The Divergent Series: Allegiant has announced budget cuts for the next film. Well, they didn’t get their money’s worth in the third installment so who can blame them for tightening up the purse strings.
- Inferior YA Dystopia
Too many other options in the genre have done it better. Even this year’s The 5th Wave was at least slightly more animated than The Divergent Series: Allegiant.