Maybe the post-apocalyptic movie trend has come to an end. According to Box Office Mojo, The Divergent Series is showing diminishing returns. The fact that the various production companies responsible for bringing the Divergent trilogy of novels to the silver screen pulled a fast one; they took the last book, and once again, divided it into two separate films…and here I asked so nicely for them not to do that.
The problem for both the Divergent films and novels is that they closely resembled The Hunger Games. When the first film was released the comparison didn’t hurt because in another universe Katniss and Tris (the main characters in their respective franchises) felt like they could be best friends. However as time wore on everything post-apocalyptic started to feel a bit tired – a post-apocalyptic fatigue if you will. (Once again I assert that taking these novels and expanding the last book into two films is never a good idea.) Whereas Katniss had some wit and bite about her, Tris felt like a watered down version of Katniss with tattoos and a way hotter boyfriend.
Probably the most interesting thing about Allegiant were passing elements in the film that left audiences wondering, “Why did they do that?” A rugged band of rule breakers led by Four and Tris scale the wall that surrounds Chicago which has been expressly forbidden by the new government. However after one of their comrades is shot dead but no one ventures to pick up her gun or backpack though these things are valuable resources (and come on, when being shot at for wall climbing you just shouldn’t stand up and admire the scenery once you have reached the top – talk about candidacy for a Darwin Award). After landing on the wall’s other side the small party then individually shed their gloves as in “We don’t need these even though we have no idea of the terrain and possible obstacles facing us.” Why show any of them shedding their gloves at all when all it offers nothing to the storyline? We are talking gloves not something which is a burden to carry.
My favorite example of “Why did the filmmakers do that?” has to be when Tris is taken to meet the head honcho of The Bureau of Genetic Welfare. * Mild Spoiler Alert * After exploring their new surroundings the group soon encounter soldiers with technology more advanced than theirs. These soldiers welcome the Chicago natives to their facility located in former O’Hare airport where it is reiterated that Chicago and its different factions were an experiment that has been watched carefully by the fine folks welcoming them. Tris and friends are given a radiation decontamination shower then gifted a set of white clothes to wear. The audience views Tris from the back thus knows girlfriend likes to go commando. While comparing notes with Four about their day one of the director’s underlings comes by and tells Tris that the director wants to meet her. He then gives her a set of different white clothes to wear for the meeting and together they walk away to the director’s penthouse Ikea decorated office. There is no indication if Tris stops to change or if she just sheds her clothes along the way while putting on the new. Breaking this sequence down; there is no need for her to change clothes, there is no need for the underling to actually say “Hey, I’m bringing you different white clothes so you can change.” This isn’t a goof where a character’s shirt is different from one scene to the next; this was dialogue in the screenplay and because no one edited it out and serves to be distracting almost as distracting as the Director of The Bureau of Genetic Welfare’s orange Ikea furniture.
What Allegiant does right is populate the film with recognizable faces including Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q, Daniel Dae Kim, Ray Stevenson and Ansel Elgort. Now that Kate Winslet’s character is no more it gives room for Jeff Daniels to take the role of the heavy. Shailene Woodley and Theo James are likeable enough as the leads.
As far as the science fiction element of the story it was okay. Many critics have come down on the film but there have been much worse and more convoluted movies. The major problem is that Allegiant is not a standalone story. For maximum enjoyment you have to know the plotlines of the previous two films because there is no narrative in Allegiant that starts off by telling you here’s where the characters started, this happened here to trigger this response. For films of this nature, futuristic dysmorphic science fiction tales, audiences need to be clued in to plug in.
Despite my griping I still recommend The Divergent Series: Allegiant/The Divergent Series: Allegiant, Part 1/Allegiant. Although I hate the series did not conclude with this film, I am invested enough that I want to see the next movie. Part of the reason too is that I think the films have diverted from the novels into telling a different tale; ergo a different ending. Lastly, I want to know if anyone picked up those abandoned gloves.