With the Harry Potter movie series a strange Hollywood custom was initiated. Every year and a half later a movie based on the subsequent book released in theaters. And the final book in the series was split into two parts, with the excuse of the book having too much content for one movie, but with the intent of squeezing out twice the amount of money from audiences. With the final Potter book the former made sense, but then franchises like Twilight and The Hunger Games did the same, to much lesser results.
With The Divergent Series: Allegiant being the first half of the finale, it looks like this custom will finally come to an end, and the Young Adult post apocalyptic fiction genre itself is at its last breath. Not only is the film a poorly conceived cash grab but a dour, dull and slow crawl towards establishing next year’s final-final movie.
Allegiant is clearly not for those who haven’t seen the previous movies, and those who made the effort to sit through the series will also have a hard time enjoying this one. The film pick up after the events of last year’s film and young kids with guns (Shailene Woodley, Theo James etc) escape from their prison like city and for the first time discover what lies beneath.
Those generally in the loop on YA films will know that this is the exact same plot as The Maze Runner, and yet the film does little to differentiate itself from the other films of this genre. You get the same old autocratic leader hell bent on tyranny, the same old bizarre post apocalyptic sci-fi costumes, the lame romance and a young kid who must lead the other kids into a revolution against all odds.
The problem is the reveal of what happens outside the walled city is so tame and anticlimactic you’ll be furious for waiting for three movies to discover it. The ‘sides heroes’ (Maggie Q, Zoe Kravitz, Ansel Egort etc) that back the heroine are the same cookie cutter tough guys with guys that could drop out of this movie into The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner and it wouldn’t make a difference to any of the films. The reason behind this problem becomes obvious when you realize that the writers of this film were also responsible for The Maze Runner, and you’ll tend to assume they simply made a copy of one script and gave it to both franchises.
Director Robert Schwentke brings nothing new or interesting to the genre’s table, at times resorting to hyper kinetic action to keep the mundane nature of the script interesting. But the action isn’t exciting either and visually the film is a snooze where seasoned actors like Naomi Watts and Jeff Daniels phone in their performances.
The question that comes to mind is why is everyone so serious in this film. You’ve got either pretty ridiculous or super clichéd stuff going on, but everyone in Allegiant behaves like they’re telling a deep soul searching story. Perhaps if the story of the whole film were condensed into the first twenty minutes of the final film, it would probably have led to a more exciting finale. At this point one shudders to imagine what torrid boredom lies in store for us for next year’s Ascendant. And going by her performance in this film it seems like even Woodley is tired of being contractually obligated to continue further.