Saturday, March 19

The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Part 1

The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1
Dir: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, and Jeff Daniels
121 Minutes

“The Divergent Series” has been moving along since its lackluster introduction two years ago. Based on the successful young adult novels, told through three books by author Veronica Roth, “The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1” has taken the route of other final installment films, like “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, by splitting their finale into two films. The results of this method have been somewhat hit or miss, an attempt to build-up towards an ending that will leave you eager for the final installment that you are asked to wait for;  “Allegiant – Part 1” unfortunately doesn’t leave you wanting more and instead feels like a film franchise that has lost its way. 

The recap to this point is that the world has been destroyed and the population still living in a dilapidated, imprisoned Chicago have been divided into factions based on virtues. Tris (Shailene Woodley) doesn’t fit into any individual faction but instead holds significant power within each; she is categorized as Divergent. Along with her boyfriend Four (Theo James) the two lead a rebellion that overthrows the government system that is trying to eradicate all unwanted Divergents.

This new film finds Tris and Four, along with her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort), backstabbing Peter (Miles Teller), and loyal friend Christina (Zoë Kravitz), trying to escape new leadership who seem determined on repeating the sins of the past. Escape means venturing into the unknown, beyond the confines of the wall that hold them captive. Tris, looking for hope and freedom, encounters another group of people on the other side of the wall who have been watching her entire journey from the time she was a baby.

So what’s wrong with the film? For one it’s filled with a bunch of needless, overlong scenes. And at two hours in length every repeated step is felt. The group walks through a raining nuclear wasteland, the best set piece of the film series so far, and directly into a camouflaged army working for The Bureau of Genetic Welfare. From here the familiarity takes over, the group is divided into work factions again, the community is being protected from unwanted people living outside the confines, and authority is controlled by the forceful soldiers blindly doing the bidding of their master. Sound familiar? Still, brave Tris, the strong female character established in the first two films, should maintain focus right? Unfortunately the usually keen and intuitive Tris is completely blindsided and willing to trust an obviously suspicious leader named David (Jeff Daniels). Tris, in this movie, is a difficult character to invest in, let alone cheer for when the time for action comes.

There are some good parts. Shailene Woodley continues to bring something interesting into the composition of her heroine, regardless of how hard the narrative tries to undermine her. It could be discerned that even the best heroes have moments of weakness because of their inherent pursuit for peace and hope, if so, Ms. Woodley is doing her best to display this sentiment to her character and it shines in small moments. Miles Teller is still around and still provided with welcome opportunities to let his comedic side shine, even when he is throwing a temper-tantrum about the world being against him.

“The Divergent Series: Allegiant – Part 1” is trying to extend its life, however splitting its finale into two parts may not have been the best plan. Instead of building anticipation for the final chapter of the series, the film feels unfortunately lost in its own unnecessary designs.

Monte’s Rating

2.00 out of 5.00

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