Saturday, April 16, 2016

REVIEW: We are Allegiant in latest ‘Divergent’ film

By Lisa Goudy

The world of ‘Divergent’ has expanded.

The characters’ journey in the latest installment in the movie adaptation of Veronica Roth’s young adult ‘Divergent’ series, ‘The Divergent Series: Allegiant’ is like walking out of your front door for the first time to behold a fair. You don’t know what to expect at first, but when you see it, you see a lot of activity and just sit back and enjoy the rides. 

The film follows Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and company as they venture outside of their isolated world of dystopian Chicago to see what lies beyond the wall. What they encounter is a shocking truth that will change everything. Trust quickly becomes a central element to the film. Who can these characters trust and what are the consequences of those decisions?

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Fans of the first and second movies, ‘Divergent’ and ‘Insurgent’ respectively, will be thrilled by the latest adventure. Not only does it feature lots of action, but we also see more character development of characters like Four, Peter (Miles Teller) – who brilliantly delivers humourous one-liners – and Tris’ brother Caleb, (Ansel Eglort). 

We are also introduced to several new characters. We are immersed into a different world than what we grew accustomed to in the first two films. The action sequences are well thought out and keep the movie going strong to make time fly.

The tension also builds inside the wall of the dystopian Chicago world as Evelyn (Naomi Watts) assumes the role of being in charge and cleaning up what previous leader Jeannine (Kate Winslet) left behind in the way she sees as right. But her definition of the right things to do is defied by many, including her son Four and other faction leader, Johanna (Octavia Spencer). This adds to the friction building in the film that leads into the climax.

The actors in the film did an excellent job in their respective roles. The movie focused not just on Tris and her journey, as was largely done in the previous two films, but also follows Four, Peter and Caleb more than we’ve seen yet. The result was a crisp look at the outside world from multiple perspectives and the landscapes and settings were visually appealing. 

What readers of the book will notice are significant changes from the book. In fact, a large portion of the second act deviates from its source material, adding in new scenes and changing or deleting existing ones from the book.

However, for the sake of the movie, the changes work and craft a smooth story that increases with intensity as the movie goes on, leaving you wanting more.

The fourth and final film, ‘The Divergent Series: Ascendant’ is due out on June 3, 2017. While ‘Allegiant’ doesn’t end on a major cliffhanger as previous part one acts of a final book split into two have done in the past including ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, ‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One and ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1), it certainly sets an eerie tone that gives you the feeling that more will come. It sets up what promises to be an epic battle in the story’s conclusion.

*** This review appeared in the April 6, 2016 edition of the Moose Jaw Times-Herald weekly paper, UnCut.

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