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New Release Review - THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

Tris and her crew venture out beyond the wall.



Review by Eric Hillis (@hilliseric)

Directed by: Robert Schwentke

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Theo James, Miles Teller, Naomi Watts, Maggie Q, Jeff Daniels, Ansel Elgort



The series clearly has its fans, given the healthy box office returns on each installment, but for the rest of us, this third movie plays like three back to back episodes of a TV show that knows it's been cancelled.



If the Young Adult craze shows no signs of coming to an end it's probably because the franchises involved are tied into several more installments. Just as we saw with the adaptations of the final books in the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, the concluding chapter of author Veronica Roth's Divergent trilogy has been split into two films. The book was twice as long as its predecessors you see and so couldn't possibly be condensed into a single movie. Who are we kidding? This is a cynical cash grab and you know it.
At the end of the second movie we learned of a world beyond the wall surrounding the ruins of Chicago, and this time we follow our heroine, Tris (Shailene Woodley), and her merry band as they venture out to the forbidden zone, where they may not like what they find (sorry, wrong sci-fi franchise). What they find is a generic, Mars like wasteland, in the middle of which lies the reconstructed O'Hare airport, now home to a bunch of people who aren't split into the various 'factions' the first movie laboured so awkwardly to introduce us to.
The leader of this place is Jeff Daniels, who takes Tris aside for an awful lot of Danielsplaining about why everyone back in Chicago is split into varying personality groups. O'Hare is basically Cloud City and Daniels is Lando without a moustache. It's an exposition laden trap!
The first two installments tied themselves in knots in their attempts to sell the premise of a world whose denizens are divided by specific traits, but Allegiant simply can't be bothered any more. The premise is practically washed over in favour of a generic class war tale, complete with embarrassingly crude allegorical dialogue delivered by actors who deserve better. The likes of Daniels, Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts put on a brave face and do their best to get through with their dignity intact, but none manage to sell it quite like Kate Winslet did in the previous installments; her absence is all too notable here. Woodley appears to drift through the proceedings as though in a somnambulistic trance, while love interest Theo James seems to know he's destined for obscurity once this ship sails. The only ones trying at this point are Zoe Kravitz and Miles Teller, both of which are left to hover in the background for most of the film.
At just over two hours, Allegiant proves a slog for anyone who isn't fully invested in this world. The series clearly has its fans, given the healthy box office returns on each installment, but for the rest of us, this third movie plays like three back to back episodes of a TV show that knows it's been cancelled.
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