Latest ‘Divergent’ movie ruins fan allegiance to the series


Erin Sheffield

Despite the success of “Divergent,” its successors were disastrous.

Nightmarish. Devastating. Damaged. Horrific. Pitiful. 

Perhaps those words were what Robert Schwentke, director of 2016 film “Allegiant,” had in mind when he created his post-apocalyptic sets. However, they better describe the entirety of his film.

“Allegiant” is the third in a series of films based upon Veronica Roth’s written trilogy called “Divergent.” The book follows Tris and Four, two people from a dystopian society who are persecuted for not fitting in throughout the series. In “Allegiant,” which is supposed to be the last installment, Four (Theo James) and Tris (Shailene Woodley) escape their society and find out why they are different, what their society’s purpose was and who they truly are. 

The movie’s creators, however, seemed to vaguely skim through the book once before writing their own script. The film is nearly entirely separate from its matching book. Only a few factors remain true to the book, such as a few characters, the general direction of the plot and some locations. The creators of “Allegiant” apparently snipped a few sentences from the story and trashed the rest to add to the already-overflowing collection of stereotypical action movies with cheesy, unbelievable endings of victory against all odds for no apparent reason. Calling the characters two-dimensional would be a compliment, and calling the plot unique would be a plain lie.

Calling the characters two-dimensional would be a compliment, and calling the plot unique would be a plain lie.”

— Erin Sheffield

However, film and literature are two different mediums. No movie can feature all the elements of a book, which is acceptable. It would be more acceptable if the acting was not ridiculously bland. The “romance” between Four and Tris seems entirely unrealistic, as all viewers ever see is monotone conversation between two people who show no clear reason to still love each other. The actors are handicapped by their poorly-created characters, but watching this film, it is hard to believe they have ever been cast in anything else besides a low-budget TV drama shut down after the pilot episode.

Yet, any long-term project, whether good or bad, can bring an emotional attachment. Perhaps this series of films continued because the creators just had to finish, even if they crashed and burned by making yet another mediocre copy-and-paste film. However, the series will apparently somehow continue on television, even though Roth wrote three books, which have brought three movie adaptations to match. Woodley and James, whose characters drive the story line, both backed out upon discovering the final installment of the “Divergent” series would be a television movie and would not release in theaters. Schwentke will not direct the series, either. Supporting actor Miles Teller, who plays Peter, may or may not return. Even the most influential actors and creators of the series are leaving it to crash and burn.

At least the film has some attractive backgrounds. The computer-generated imagery (CGI) is gorgeous and complex–although it is nowhere near as comprehensive as the computer art seen in movies like “Avatar.” The $110 million budget for “Allegiant” was well-spent on the animators. The music, while not particularly unique, was not distracting and contributed to the story well.

Still, the $110 million did not return much profit. “Divergent,” the first movie of the series, had a budget of $85 million and earned back $288.9 million. “Allegiant” spent $25 million more than “Divergent” and earned $179.2 million, about $100 million less. Although the movie did gather a profit, it did not gather much compared to its predecessor.

Despite its hefty budget and well-known actors, “Allegiant” is yet another example of a book ruined onscreen. Its plot line is bland and stereotypical, completely unlike the original story. Clearly, the actors know this as well, since even they are leaving the series to crash. Interested fans should stick to the books; the “Divergent” movie series is beyond saving.