After Harry Potter did it, the trend with film adaptations of acclaimed young adult novels was to split the final film into two parts. Sure, it sounded like a quick cash grab, but it also gave the final chapters of stories such as ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Hunger Games’ some room to breathe and let every little detail out on the big screen. However, the level of success in this plan of action varies, especially with ‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’ because this is certainly no ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1’.
Based on the first half of the last book in Veronica Roth’s popular book series, ‘Allegiant’ finds heroine Tris Prior and her friends escaping the confines of Chicago in an attempt to stop the budding war brewing within the walls. However, the group encounters a much larger threat on the outside world (which sees O’Hare International Airport turned into the desolate wastelands of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’) that makes their corrupt faction system of government seem like small potatoes in comparison.
When I reviewed ‘Insurgent’ last year, I said that it was going through the motions. Now that we know who these characters are and what the world that they live in is like, we just followed along without getting too invested thanks to the lack of chemistry between the leads and the incredibly predictable plot. But when it comes to ‘Allegiant’, we get the cinematic equivalent of saying “Yadda yadda yadda…” in the middle of story without the satisfaction of an ending. It didn’t even bother going through the motions this time around. Instead, it rehashed much of the same story elements from ‘Divergent’, except this time Jeff Daniels replaced Kate Winslet as the big bad of the film. Normally we’d be ecstatic to see Daniels play such a seemingly sweet but secretly sinister antagonist with ulterior motives of cleansing the world of the “damaged”, but there’s nothing in the movie that leads the audience to believe that Daniels’ David or his Bureau of Genetic Welfare is anything other than a wolf in sheep’s clothing from the very start.
On top of these major reveals in the plot being underwhelming, unsurprising, and uninspired, the events leading up to them were extremely drawn out to the point that people may have forgotten what’s even going on. And it definitely didn’t help that these supposedly smart characters keep falling into these stupid traps, so the voids were just filled with eye-rolls and audience members silently mouthing the word, “Really?” time and again.
Speaking of which, how is it that in every one of these movies Tris and Four keep trusting Miles Teller’s Peter? He is and always has been a douchebag that has only looked out for himself. They know this fact very well since it literally happens all the time, so why in the hell would they even bring him along yet again? It would have made things easier if they just got him over the wall, tied him up, and left him out on the knock-off Fury Road.
Previously, I found the ‘Divergent’ movies entertaining enough, but not necessarily worth seeking out for another viewing. After ‘Allegiant’ though, it’s going to be like pulling teeth next year when we have to trudge to the theater to see the conclusion of this dollar store ‘Harry Potter’ meets ‘Hunger Games’. The studio should have just bit the bullet and made the last chapter of this story into one movie. At least it would have been more succinct in a way that the action and the pacing could have covered up the convoluted plot and recycled schemes. We might have even gotten one decent movie rather than two inevitably lackluster “blockbusters”. Instead, we’re left waiting for a whole year to see the ending of a tale that we’ve already lost interest in. At least we have offerings from Marvel, DC, ‘Star Wars’, and J.K. Rowling’s wonderful wizarding world to keep us busy until then.