Movie Review | The Divergent Series: Allegiant (Lights, Camera, Action!)

By Freda Cooper 11.03.2016

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The Divergent Series: Allegiant (UK Rating: 12A)

The Hunger Games may have fought its final battle last year, but the current crop of Young Adult, post-dystopian franchises won't come to an end until at least 2017. In the meantime, the third instalment of The Divergent Series, Allegiant, has arrived on the big screen this week, just days after the announcement that the fourth and final part will have a new Director. A coincidence? Surely not.
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Part two, Insurgent, ended with revolution, the overthrow of a dictator and the end in sight of the faction system that had kept the peace in post-dystopian Chicago. Now, Tris (Shailene Woodley), can't stop wondering what lies beyond the wall surrounding the city, so, with her group of friends including Four (Theo James) and Peter (Miles Teller), she decides to find out. What they discover is the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a much more peaceful place with no in-fighting and no faction system. The Director of the Bureau singles out Tris to play a vital role in his major new experiment but, while she's happy to help, the rest of her gang are suspicious that the Bureau and its Director aren't all they appear to be.

While the makers of Allegiant will no doubt argue that plunging the main characters into another setting shows they are ready for a new world and a new adventure, that's not quite the whole story. It's more than apparent from the film that the franchise is running out of steam: the destruction of the faction system means the teen heroes have lost their greatest enemy, so they have to find another one. It's also more obvious than ever that the series is a clone of The Hunger Games, and an inferior one at that, especially now that traces of other Young Adult movies are creeping in. The challenge of the city wall is very Maze Runner, so, by the time that the climax arrives, complete with a bright orange memory-erasing serum to invade the city, it's all become rather predictable and silly.

There are some changes since part two, but none of them are improvements. Kate Winslet's dictator has been killed, so the cast needs somebody else with serious acting credibility. Step forward cuddly Jeff Daniels as the Director of the Bureau. He may look benevolent, yet anybody who's ever seen a Young Adult film will know that older people can't be trusted in this particular world. While he's invented some neat pieces of kit - cute little saucer-shaped personal droids for one - his bigger plan is far from cool. Other characters have undergone changes, most noticeably (and disappointingly) Miles Teller's Peter. The morally ambiguous member of Tris' group in part two, he at least provided some welcome complexity, but that's all gone and now he's reduced to being a would-be comedy villain with what's intended to be wisecracking dialogue… but is actually just limp and unfunny comments.
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Rated 4 out of 10


The Divergent Series: Allegiant is easily the weakest so far, by some margin. Its only hope is that the Director of part four will breathe some much-needed life into this pale imitation of The Hunger Games. In the meantime, perhaps audiences can be provided with some of that orange serum to wipe out their memories of this tired and tedious offering. Divergent? More like detergent!

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