It might be best for those of you who have read Veronica Roth’s critically acclaimed “Divergent” trilogy to leave all prior knowledge of the final novel at the door before going to see the latest film installment.
This addition is preceded by two other movies that detail the lives of Beatrice “Tris” Prior and Tobias “Four” Eaton who are looking to reconnect with the outside world and escape the increasing hostility within Chicago. Of course, if you’ve read Roth’s work, you will already know this, so there’s no point in reiterating it. What needs to be mentioned, however, is that you must prepare to be disappointed.
“The Divergent Series: Allegiant,” the first of two film adaptations that split the final novel of the “Divergent” trilogy, shatters all hopes of performing up to anybody’s expectations. The film brings back the original cast, with Shailene Woodley and Theo James reprising their roles as Beatrice Prior and Eaton, respectively. Ansel Elgort returns as Beatrice Prior’s brother, Caleb Prior, and Zoe Kravitz plays Christina, one of Beatrice Prior’s friends and a fellow Dauntless faction member. Stepping into the limelight again after making recent big box-office appearances in “Steve Jobs” and “The Martian” is Jeff Daniels, taking on the role of David.
While the movie industry has constantly anchored itself with developing successful franchises that draw a younger audience, this one seems to be more boring than ever before. It relies on dull action and poor visual effects, not to mention a pile of scenes that seem unnecessary.
The limelight shines brightly on Peter Hayes’ (Miles Teller) brief moments of wit and sarcasm, which can keep you laughing for a split second. The performance by Woodley is near exemplary, too, but is thoroughly buried by the plot’s lazy, repetitive action. Quality editing was definitely amiss here, with much of the plot becoming jumbled with other pieces of the story.
For all of the future filmmakers out there, be assured that if you plan to completely eliminate characters from an adapted film, it could have disastrous effects. “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” was a culprit of this, leaving out two important characters for the third movie. Yes, one actor was credited with playing Uriah Pedrad — the brother of Ezekiel who also went missing from the film — but he played an insignificant role in the event that unfolded. Readers will understand his true significance in Roth’s novels, but the screenwriter’s decision to leave the characters out was truly careless.
There’s obviously some cleanup to be done for the final film, since current and previous production studios managed to succeed in producing three consecutive failed features. “The Divergent Series: Ascendant” the final film of the series, must “rise up” to the occasion if this franchise is going to be considered anything more than a critical failure.
According to IMDb.com, “The Divergent Series: Ascendant” has a planned release date of June 7, 2017, so viewers have over a year to try to get hyped for the series finale. Don’t try too hard, though. If the trend continues, it may not be worth watching.