The first installment of the two-part finale of the Divergent series is here. But is it a post-apocalyptic masterpiece or a dystopian dud?
|“Hold me … Now put on that song by The Wknd you know I love so much …” Four (Theo James) and Tris (Shailene Woodley) in The Divergent Series: Allegiant. Credit: Dan McFadden. © 2016 Summit.|
While they wish to save Caleb, Tris, Four, Christina (Zoë Kravitz) and Peter (Miles Teller) also have their eyes on a greater journey: Venturing outside the walls to discover who has contacted them and saying they are needed. They soon discover that the man who has been calling them is David (Jeff Daniels), the director of the Bureau of Genetic Welfare who explains to Tris how and why the faction system ever came into existence in the first place.
But what she doesn’t know is the true nature of David’s plans for the future … And how she is the key to unlocking them all.
Poor Theo James. It must be hard being the only actor fully committed to a movie littered with weak, junior high-level dialogue, lackluster efforts from Jeff Daniels, Naomi Watts and what is easily Miles Teller’s worst performance in eons (yup, even worse than that superhero movie from last year that we shall not speak of) and a plot which is executed in a muddled, unexhilirating fashion.
As the Hunger Games series wore on, it did lose a little intrigue each time, but at least it never felt as stale and anti-climatic as the Divergent series has. Woodley, like many of the characters now, unfortunately just feels like she’s along for the ride instead of leading these excursions and the adults have a very obvious going through the motions feel from start to finish. Having not read the books, I cannot obviously say with certainly if they are less muddled than the films, but Allegiant is so jumbled up that by the time you reach the climax, you’re already over it. That may come as bad news since this film is the first of the two-part finale, which has a LOT of work to do to make its villain seem truly threatening and its heroes, well, heroic. For this paint by numbers affair is loaded with tired tropes (the love conflict story, the guy who isn’t what he seems at first, the former coward that does something to redeem himself by acting unselfishly) that if they are this bland in the novel – which is not the same as the story here (it’s true, Google it!) – then one would have to wonder how the Divergent series can hope to offer up anything fresh.
You’d be better off being allegiant to a better to a better teen dystopian series … Or just embracing the apocalypse altogether.