Film Review: Allegiant

Rating:

Based on the final book in Veronica Roth‘s young adult dystopian Divergent trilogy, The Divergent Series: Allegiant is the third instalment in The Divergent Series of films and is the first in a two-part adaptation of the final book.

Directed by Robert Schwentke and set in the aftermath of Insurgent after the release of a video that revealed the truth about the faction system, announcing that the Divergent are needed outside the borders of the city. Tired of waiting for the self-appointed leaders of a now factionless city to make a decision, Allegiant sees Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) venture outside of the walls that enclose the only world they know, a futuristic Chicago in ruins, for the first time ever. Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths. Taken into protective custody by a mysterious agency known as the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust, as a ruthless battle ignites. In order to survive, Tris is forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, and sacrifice.

The following post is a review of the film only. You can read my review of the book on its own here or my comparison of the film to the book.

The Divergent franchise has been on a downwards slope as the adaptations have distinguished themselves from the books more and more as they have gone on, and Allegiant is undoubtedly at the bottom of that pile.

With the release of Divergent in 2012, many of us were quickly hooked on this new young adult franchise, which had similar dystopian themes to the likes of The Hunger Games and a female protagonist to keep us engaged. But after seeing what a mess of an adaptation Insurgent was, my hopes for an epic finale quickly disintegrated as it became painfully apparent that the film adaptations weren’t going to stick closely to Roth’s original story in the slightest.

A decent read, the final book does well to tie up some of the loose ends that the previous instalments have opened up, but there’s so much left to explore and to be resolved by the end that it felt like a whole book had been missed out. The conclusions given were badly thought out and the bigger picture was often avoided, meaning that a science-heavy conclusion lost its potential in its own confusion.

But what the book didn’t detail well enough, the film adaptation missed out altogether. With complete changes in plot and structure and half of the cast being missed out, Allegiant falls to tiny, irretrievable pieces.

With a dire lack of character development, and of characters altogether, many of the smaller characters aren’t given enough attention, as Tris and Four become more unlikeable the more their egos get in the way.

The book certainly had its flaws, but this adaptation does everything it can to ruin anything that it had going for it and, instead, tries to create a whole new dystopian future where character and backstory don’t matter. As an adaptation, it completely tramples over Veronica Roth’s work. The film didn’t need to be split into two, especially since this first instalment includes nearly everything from the book (only with huge changes), so I have no idea what the final instalment will bring. Because Allegiant has used up most of the book’ s source material for the first half of the film, Ascendant will, not only be very different from the book, but have to make up a completely new story to keep it going.

It’s so sad to see the franchise end this way, and with a whole other film to be released, nobody can predict where that’s going to go because there’s very little of the book left to use that they haven’t messed up already.

Sadly, fans of the books will have completely lost interest in the film adaptations at this point, which have gone from good to worse. And for watchers who have not read the books, I will be surprised if this film makes any sense to you at all, but you might still be entertained by the filled-out action which takes dominance over concluding a somewhat complex story.

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