Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016)


Wall Soldiers

Director: Robert Schwentke
Running Time: 121 Minutes
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Bridges, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Zoë Kravitz, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Maggie Q

Beginning in 2014, Divergent has been a profitable young adult franchise about being original. Such a bitter irony that three films into the franchise, and it remains anything but original. Instead, the latest entry is a mere cookie cutter entry into the young adult tales set in a future dystopia.

After a released message tells how Chicago was the grounds for an experiment, with Divergents being the successful outcome, Tris (Shailene Woodley) wants to venture beyond the walls of Chicago with Four (Theo James). Beyond the city walls lies the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a complex ran by David (Jeff Bridges), with the goal of making genetically perfect people.

While the series was hardly grounded in reality, once the setting jumps to something resembling Brad Bird's Tomorrowland, things take a large leap into deeper sci-fi territory. It's peculiar how characters are now able to control drones for battle, a camouflaged wall protects an entire city and there's a shower which secretes disappearing goo.

Divergent goes to Tatooine.


Once more, the weak script underutilizes the assembled cast of decent performers, especially with the older cast members (Ray Stevenson and Maggie Q are the strongest examples of this). Instead, the focus seems to be on making the plot even more convoluted, while rushing to build up to a conflict that should appear big, yet feels as though it's come out of the blue.

An odd decision is how Tris, the franchise lead, is sidelined to hear Jeff Bridges ramble on, while Four is left to unravel the conspiracy at the heart of the plot (much of which viewers will see coming a mile off). Miles Teller is left to deliver snarky dialogue, while his character has clearly learnt nothing since the last film. A noticeable decision is how the non-white characters either exit the film early on, or regularly find excuses to disappear off the screen.

It's concerning how the franchise about being original is anything but, and The Divergent Series: Allegiant does nothing to alleviate that concern. The shoddy screenplay (from four different writers!) fails to give the talented cast anything to work with, and leaves little worth anticipating for the final instalment.

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