THE MOVIE GUY: Hard to stay ‘Allegiant’ to ‘Divergent 3’

Published 11:17 pm Thursday, March 17, 2016

Another week and another post-apocalyptic thriller based on a YA novel arrives in theaters. This one is “Allegiant,” the third of four planned movies in the “Divergent” series that still hasn’t found anything new to give us other than a bunch of good looking actors running around, spouting dystopian future-babble while fighting a bunch of special effects and one token, serious actor.


Even my teenage niece, representative of the barometer by which these movies will be ultimately judged, seems to have moved on from this series. I think she only accompanied me to the screening with the hope that it will get her invited to the new “Avengers” movie in May.

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I suppose I should reward her for sitting through this by-the-numbers sequel.

For those who don’t recall, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” series is based in a walled future-city where the population is assigned into a genetic caste system. Shailene Woodley plays Tris, the unique young woman who rebels against the system and joins forces with a group of other divergent fighters. When we last left things, Tris and her friends were finally getting to see what lies outside of the city walls.

To be fair, this part of the movie does have its moments. The fighters have to deal with future soldiers and some sort of bloody acid rain. Alas, the interesting thing end when they are taken to the Bureau of Genetic Warfare to meet with the latest adult who claims to be beneficent, but is obviously a villain that needs to be defeated. Jeff Daniels gets the thankless job this time around, and he’s pretty much wasted here. Let’s hope for a meatier role in next year’s series capper, “Ascendant.”

The rest is a series of lackluster special effects, a lot of running and shooting toy guns and a few, PG-13 flavored romantic moments between Tris and her hunky boy-toy, Four (Theo James). The characters are also starting to fade, although Miles Teller does still inject some much-need humor into the story.

The problem is that Tris seems to be on autopilot. Her character isn’t very interesting this time around, making it difficult to get invested in her struggle. Some of this comes from breaking the final novel into two cinematic parts. The film screeches to a halt when the characters arrive at the bureau, as the screenwriters struggle to stretch out the source material.

Things do pick up, a bit, as the team heads back to the city for a mildly rousing finale. This was also the point when I recognized that I was enjoying the musical score, but these are mild compliments at best. The series seems to have lost momentum as it staggers to the finale, making it nearly impossible to pledge allegiance to “Allegiant.”

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and KBTV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at