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article imageReview: ‘The Divergent Series’ sacrifices ‘Allegiant’ for the big picture Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 18, 2016 in Entertainment
‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’ lays the foundation for the franchise’s concluding chapter, comparably making it the weakest film in the group thus far.
Movie franchises based on a collection of books are often akin to a big-budget television miniseries in that all of the parts come together to comprise the whole. The ending of one film informs the beginning of the next and removing an episode throws the whole narrative into disarray (in the good series anyway). The key difference is successive parts are released annually rather than weekly, extending the wait between significant plot developments. The downside of this structure in movies is the penultimate chapter is often positioned as little more than a setup for the epic conclusion. The Divergent Series: Allegiant is the third picture in a four-part series.
Having discovered Chicago is not the last bastion of humanity, Tris (Shailene Woodley) is desperate to accept the hologram’s invitation and find the people on the other side of the wall. Obsessed with her quest and refusing to stand as the Dauntless leader, Four (Theo James) takes the stage as the trial for Jeanine’s (Kate Winslet) co-conspirators are held. However, Evelyn (Naomi Watts) is proving to be as ruthless a leader as her predecessor and a new rift is emerging with Johanna (Octavia Spencer) heading the opposition known as Allegiant. As civil war threatens to overtake Chicago, Tris, Four and a few others scale the wall to see what’s on the other side. They are welcomed into this other society by its director (Jeff Daniels), but its intentions are not as wholesome as they appear.
The land beyond Chicago’s barrier is expectedly desolate with obvious signs of radiation poisoning. But beyond that is a world of technology that has thrived in spite of whatever catastrophe contaminated the earth. Visually it’s similar to the city of Tomorrowland with futuristic architecture and flying everything. From army equipment to basic transportation to even a shower, they’ve made advancements in most facets of everyday life. However behind all of their progress are many secrets, anarchic systems, strict control and a desire to keep Tris for themselves.
A scene from  The Divergent Series: Allegiant
A scene from 'The Divergent Series: Allegiant'
eOne Films
The group’s escape from Chicago is one of the movie’s most exciting sequences as it involves a chase, gunfights and explosions. Although there are several subsequent altercations, they don’t have the same intensity. While Tris allows herself to be blinded by the shiny newness of it all, Four remains sceptical. Tris is frequently whisked away to a restricted area to carry out her new responsibilities as the experiment’s success (which really should be raising more eyebrows), giving him ample opportunity to investigate and find out what’s really going on beneath the glossy surface. The predictable and superficial conflict this creates between them is so clearly a plot device, it’s actually annoying.
In a similar vein, this installment of the series is obviously a means of setting up a large-scale war in the concluding chapter. Thus a rather silly scheme is devised that reveals everyone’s true colours and establishes the two sides of what will likely be an interesting battle that relies on tech and propaganda. Thankfully it appears the series finale, Ascendant, will not be stretched into two parts as most of its counterparts.
Miles Teller continues to steal the show with his great comedic timing and his character’s shifting loyalties. He’s also the main source of emotion in the picture. While James spends most of the time commuting Four’s anger and suspicion, Woodley repeatedly proves inept at displaying relevantly intense emotions. As this movie includes the least amount of action in the franchise, the flatness of the characters is unfortunately more noticeable. Luckily Spencer can smack you with just a look and Daniels is an incredibly skilled speaker.
Director: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James and Jeff Daniels
More about Divergent series, Allegiant, Miles Teller, shailene woodley, Theo James
 
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