Saturday, 2 April 2016

Divergent: Allegiant

The decline of the Divergent series continues with this third instalment. Since the second film received only **+ from me, this is a very sad thing indeed.

So I’ll make this brief: Jeff Daniels joins a cast that includes Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer along with the usual Divergent regulars. To say it’s a step down for them is an understatement. All of the acting takes a huge step down in this third film, with not a single performance worth mentioning. A number of scenes were downright embarrassing (including one featuring Daniels). But actors can only do so much with a bad screenplay, and what we have in Divergent: Allegiant is a bad screenplay. 

With a little imagination, heart and a lot more thought, it could have been a good film, as we watch the group of young leaders from a dystopian Chicago finally discover what lies beyond the wall. For me, it wasn’t that the plot was too convoluted. I generally understood what was happening throughout the film. What I couldn’t understand was WHY it was happening. The story is messy and boring, with lots of holes and inconsistencies, like the fact that (minor spoiler alert) an organization with unimaginably high-tech surveillance capabilities has no idea what’s going on right under its nose (the CIA and Mossad do much better with much less). 

But the worst part of the screenplay (for me) was its poor opinion of people in general and of people’s readiness (often eagerness) to use violence for the tiniest of excuses in particular. This leads to far too much violence and a lot of stupidity. 

As in the first two films of the series, there are some thought-provoking ideas in Divergent: Allegiant, like a discussion of what happens when the character traits of any faction become too dominant (e.g. too much emphasis on intelligence in Erudite leads to a lack of compassion; too much emphasis on pacifism in Amity leads to becoming passive, etc.). But these ideas are completely wasted in this film. 

So unless you’re a huge Divergent fan or just can’t resist dystopian films (that’s me), you’ll want to give Divergent: Allegiant a miss. ** My mug is down.

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