Screened Out – The Divergent Series: Allegiant

By : Stephen Miller
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Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Zoë Kravitz, Maggie Q, Jeff Daniels, Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts

In the beginning, Woodley’s character Tris says, “We’re going to be okay” just before the feces hits the fan.

Woodley’s career has also hit the fan, especially after she signed up for this watered down YA science fiction with too many special effects and a wimpy story. This third installment of four in the Divergent series is the absolute worst – action sequences and clunky voice-overs giving way to slow, confusing speeches about genetic purity.

There’s nothing pure about Allegiant. It’s all chewed up and crapped out ideas from better books and movies.

Even Shailene Woodley looks bored most of the time.

Even Shailene Woodley looks bored most of the time.

Allegiant continues the trend of milking moneymakers by splitting the last installment into two. Harry Potter did it first, then Twilight, then Hunger Games. Will this travesty never end? These movies are always the cruddiest in their series. Here, the filmmakers squeeze out a substandard movie that lands with a wet thud.

The series started with the dumbest dystopian concept ever; teenagers were separated by their predominant trait. Their fashion and hair all matched their clique. When that was done away with last film, Allegiant finds another, slightly less dumb but confusing way to divide humans up.

At then end of the last film, the clique-enforcing villain (Kate Winslet) had been conquered. The now commingled citizens of ruined Chicago are going to see if they can climb the wall that had imprisoned them, because a strange box says there is life on the other side. However, the city’s new boss (an almost captivating Watts) doesn’t want anyone leaving. She’s holding public executions. So, the city turns more violent, with warring factions fighting for control. Tris and five others sneak off and make it over. They find a toxic dump.

This whole movie is a toxic dump.

With the planet in ruins, what we didn't need is shallow teenaged soap opera subplots.

With the planet in ruins, what we didn’t need is shallow teenaged soap opera subplots.

First of all, though everything is in ruins, Tris and her friends are at times flirty or – in the case of one character – just plain douchy. Secondly, the only nice place we can find used to be Chicago’s O’Hare airport (in a twist that must have been meant tongue in cheek).

Finally, so much of the supposed plot is merely long voice-overs and monologues. There’s nothing in between. When a film cannot explain itself with visuals – without long speeches – it’s a bad film. It’s called a “show”, not a “tell”!

There are some dull lines – “You incited a riot. Now you try controlling them.” Then there are some lines that are so senseless, they’re laughable; as Elgort walks through the wasteland, he points out, “That hole looks radioactive.” Really? That’s a line you’re just going to let sit there? A throw-away? Like this film? All the lines are close to this bad.

All of the actors are abused, but Daniels is absolutely wasted. He plays another dictator in a series full of them. He tries to convince Woodley she’s even more special than the last two films told her she was. She’s like a genetic princess, a diamond in the muck. Even Woodley – with stiff, wooden acting – doesn’t buy this bull.

Ratings Key

See it now! Buy the DVD! Quote lines at parties!

Definitely worth the price of admission

It’s useful as a distraction

Maybe if someone else pays and you need a nap

Slightly worse than eternal damnation

I didn’t hate the first action sequences. Unfortunately, this is just decoration on a story that’s a steaming pile of crud. The teenaged angst is boring, the plot is dull, and the themes are too simplistic to be compelling.

I could mention that this futuristic film has the future of Hollywood in it. Woodley, Teller, Elgort, and even James are better young actors than this. Both literally and metaphorically, this is a toxic wasteland. Time to flush it away.

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