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July 31, 2016

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

by Franz Patrick


Divergent Series: Allegiant, The (2016)
★ / ★★★★

This is yet another movie where it goes to show that the filmmakers can have access to all the special and visual effects in the world but if there is a lack of imagination, strong ideas, or even a smidgen of common sense in the writing to create a convincing and involving story, the project is highly likely to go down in flames. “Allegiant,” the third picture in the increasingly soporific “Divergent” series based on Veronica Roth’s novels, is the weakest entry yet.

The picture makes no effort to fix the many problems that plagued its predecessors. It is merely a boring, long-winded march to a predictable semi-conclusion. I am horrified there is another installment because it gives the impression that this universe has nothing left to offer in terms of intrigue or entertainment. Young adults, who are the main audience of the film, deserve much better than this balderdash masquerading as a teen dystopian future.

All the more apparent here is that the main character, Tris (Shailene Woodley), is far from a fascinating heroine. It is possible that the source material is to blame, but the screenwriters—Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, and Bill Collage—have the duty of making her multidimensional, someone who we can stick by and root for. Instead, Tris is as bland as tap water; in the previous films, she is supposed to be special because she is a Divergent and in here, it is because she is “genetically pure.” The writers fail to turn these labels into more than just words or concepts. Why not show us exactly why Tris is a standout among the rest instead of constantly pelleting us with such nonsensical branding?

I felt bad for Woodley because she is a good performer, especially in more dramatic roles. Here, we see a glimmer of effort being put into her part, notably scenes where she must connect with another character. She has such expressive eyes and her whole being glows.

However, notice how the exchanges barely last more than thirty seconds. Observe how the language is so simplistic, there is nothing to digest. These are not how real people speak to one another in real life—let alone in a situation where you are fighting for the survival of your world. In actual, day-to-day conversations, there are emotions, implications, suggestions, and the like. There is conflict in just talking with one another. Here, the dialogue is so passive, the actors could have been replaced by robots and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

I choose not to provide a summary of the plot because it does not seem to matter at all. I would like to give the writers and filmmakers a pop quiz in order to see if they themselves know what’s going on with the story. I question their understanding because what should be central strands are treated as secondary, tertiary details are introduced somewhat for about fifteen to twenty minutes and then forgotten completely. Meaningful character development is thrown out the window altogether. It’s a disaster.

Seemingly directed by Robert Schwentke without using his eyes—or brain—“The Divergent Series: Allegiant” is an exercise designed to determine who in the audience is willing to endure the most torture. I sat through it only because I have a rule about watching the entire picture prior to writing a review. If you cherish your time, good mood, and energy, steer far, far away.

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