Read our The Divergent Series: Allegiant Review below and get a chance to win tickets to the next movie premiere!
Written by: Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Chad St. John, Christian Gudecast
Directed by: Robert Shwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Daniels
Running time: 121 minutes
Upon discovering the centuries old secret message in Insurgent, Tris and Four set out to leave Chicago to discover what lay beyond the wall. Whereas back home, Evelyn and the Factionless are conspiring to stop this from happening.
The third installment in the Divergent series begins like a mediocre episode from any sci-fi action show. Picking up right after where Insurgent left us, the shocking revelations from the mystery box has given hope to the people of Chicago. They proceed expectantly towards the wall – primed with excitement for what lay beyond the walls that have separated them from anything outside their city for over 200 years. Enter Evelyn (Naomi Watts), chieftess of the Factionless who is determined to stop her world from discovering the one outside their realm. Tris (Shailene Woodley) and group have found asylum among the Amity faction, and are running a clandestine operation to escape.
Four (Theo James) leads their escapade out into the jungle towards the wall. After a couple of mind-numbing action sequences, they are out in the barren radioactive lands and soon begin to lose hope that there is indeed a world out there. They run into another invisible wall, beyond which lay the Bureau of Genetic Welfare. Headed by David (Jeff Daniels), the bureau welcomes the outcasts and Tris soon begins to realize that being Divergent meant nothing more than being normal among the people of the bureau. The city of Chicago, embarrassingly enough, was an experiment to fix people who were ‘damaged’. They learn that the world as they knew it, came into being due to a radioactive war which was started by ‘purists’ back in the day.
Meanwhile, a civil war is brewing back home between the Factionless and Amity. Four starts questioning the motives of the bureau, while Tris is pro-bureau to try and save the world. A lot of CGI and green screens follow, leading Tris to believe that the safety of the world rests on her shoulders since she’s the only pure divergent/special person/the one/…..and so on.
Beyond The Wall
One has got to feel for author Veronica Roth. She had an interesting idea, turned it into a series and watched it become a worldwide bestseller – only for it to be trampled on by filmmakers. Neil Burger gave us a fascinating original. He hit the right notes and did justice to the writing. But Director Robert Shwentke (R.I.P.D, RED) undid all that effort with Insurgent and Allegiant. In fact, he probably made Insurgent look like it deserved an academy award after this gig. The main difference is the centralization of characters. The departure of Kate Winslet’s Jeanine and introduction of a new world outside the one we know surely means reshuffling of perspectives.
Lack of originality can be blamed on the writers for the most part. But Shwentke really doesn’t bring anything new in terms of filmmaking into the series other than setting up a stage for the fourth and final installment. Noah Oppenheim of The Maze Runner fame and two other stellar writers from the industry joined in for this gig, but adaptation doesn’t seem to be their strongest suit. With bullfrog-shaped hovercrafts, plasma tubes and orange serums, even the VFX team has failed this one. It does nothing except make the producers of Tron and Oblivion feel good about themselves. The biggest setback is definitely the fact that all the main characters remain peripheral.
What it does have going for it is the score by Joseph Trapanese which slots in perfectly well with this franchise and its premise. And the best and probably only consistent part of the series has been the DOP. We are presented with admirable artwork by Florian Ballhaus.
Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Descendants) returns as Tris Prior and until the previous two flicks, she carried the franchise well. But she was shunned out for most of this flick. Woodley is definitely better than most of the leads in YA fiction franchises and comes with a lot of promise. Theo James (Underworld: Awakening, The Inbetweeners) packs a powerful punch as Four a.k.a Tobias Eaton. His performances grow with every installment of this series.
Introducing the new baddie in the plot is Jeff Daniels (Dumb & Dumber, Speed) as David. Since The Newsroom, Daniels has established his image as an authority-figure bureaucrat and promises a lot for the finale. Miles Teller’s (Whiplash, The Spectacular Now) Peter is by far the most interesting character in the series. No one quite knows what he wants and his frenemyship with the protagonists keeps us glued. Teller is known as an exceptional actor in his age bracket, but he definitely needs to stop doing franchise films such as this if he wants to maintain that image.
Among the other returning cast members are Zoe Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: First Class) as Christina, Ansel Elgort (The Fault In Our Stars, Carrie) as Caleb Prior and Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Ring) as Evelyn. All of their roles were limited and sidelined. Another appealing character was Bill Skarsgard’s (Hemlock Grove, Simple Simon) Mathew, who will definitely have a lot to do in the finale.
All in All
The Divergent movie series is like that one guy we see in our local gym, who has been going there long before anyone but has nothing to show for it. The producers need to worry about whether the target Tween audiences will remain allegiant to the series. One can’t help but notice that as the series progresses, there’s nothing divergent about it at all. The franchise kicked off well, made us like and feel for the characters but ends up being majorly inferior to many of the other YA fiction franchises out there today. For fans of the series, all questions will be answered in Ascendant, the next and final fixture in the series.
You need to check out our: Should You Watch It? | London Has Fallen Review
Watch it if you’re:
A fan of YA fiction OR have watched the first two parts and want to know what happens next.