Divergences from Novel Lead “Allegiant” to Failure

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Published March 22, 2016
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"Allegiant" opened on March 18. Photo Credit: Julia Siegel

Fans of the popular young adult novels-turned-films “The Divergent Series” should prepare themselves to be disappointed yet again with the franchises’ third film, “Allegiant.”

Anyone who thought that “Allegiantwas covering the whole story based on the title and no reference of a “Part 1” label will be very upset, as the story is beyond thinned out, leaving very little plot.

Following the trend of previous successes, the third and final novel of the series by Veronica Roth was split into two films. “Allegiant” is supposed to cover the first half of the book, while the series will conclude with “Ascendant” next summer, which will possibly be the second half of the book.

Unfortunately, “The Divergent Series” has been completely ruined with no chance of salvation through the destruction of “Allegiant.”

"Allegiant" opened on March 18. Photo Credit: Julia Siegel

“Allegiant” opened on March 18.
Photo Credit: Julia Siegel

The number one problem with “Allegiant” is the fact that it was split into two films. This was a completely unnecessary attempt to attain more profit, which may not work out. All three “Divergent” books are relatively equal in length, with “Divergent” being a few pages shorter than Insurgentand “Allegiant.” Since the books are the same length, the smart move would be to make all the films the same length.

This is where the production studios, Summit and Lionsgate, went wrong. “Allegiant” as a book does not have a natural break or the length to render a split film, which makes the script thin and fluffy to fill the time. It is surprising that Summit and Lionsgate would risk an unnatural split again after the grief of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” being unsuccessfully divided into two films.

Both the “Divergentand “Hunger Games” film series have the same problem. All the “Hunger Games” novels were the same length, like The Divergent Series.” This did not translate well to the screen with “Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2” because the story once again did not have a natural split and was not long enough to sustain two full films. Each series would have benefited more from a single film with a run time around 2 hours and 30 minutes. One longer film would have been much better than two drawn-out, mediocre films.

"Allegiant" stars Theo James and Shailene Woodley in InStyle magazine. Photo courtesy of alien_artifact (Flickr)

“Allegiant” stars Theo James and Shailene Woodley in InStyle magazine.
Photo courtesy of alien_artifact (Flickr)

To play devil’s advocate, it did make sense for Summit and Lionsgate to split these films with the success of their “Twilight Saga” films and Warner Brothers’ “Harry Potter” films. Both these franchises ended with successful novel-to-film splits. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2” and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2″ each worked because their written counterparts were longer than the other books in the series and had too much content to put into one film. “Twilight” was especially conducive to this trend, because the “Breaking Dawn” novel had a natural divide in its plot, allowing two films to be made from the source material naturally.

“The Twilight Saga” saw consistent box office increases with each film release, and “Breaking Dawn Part 2” was the most lucrative. “Harry Potter” saw box office fluctuations, but the final two films grossed almost $2 billion combined, according to Box Office Mojo, so it was a financial no-brainer for Hunger Gamesand Divergentto follow suit.

It is unfortunate that neither franchises have been able to pull off the extension of their series, but I will give some faith that maybe “Ascendantcan be better than Allegiant.”

Still, it is hard to think that Ascendant” will be better when nothing really happened during “Allegiant.” The main problem with the film is the mistakes that were made during the first two films. “Allegiant” was not able to backtrack enough and make up for the mistakes and choppy stories, which is a shame when the books are really good reads. “Allegiant” starts off promising as action ensues quickly, but after about 30 minutes, the story and plot take a nose dive.

Another movie, "Asendant" is scheduled to close up the series next summer. Photo Credit: Julia Siegel

Another movie, “Asendant” is scheduled to close up the series next summer.
Photo Credit: Julia Siegel

From a critical standpoint, “Allegiant” is a disaster. From nauseating shaky camera work to no character development to poor casting, it is hard to find anything positive about the film. Most of the actors have aged too much and look different from the previous films, making it nearly impossible to believe that all three stories were supposed to take place back to back to back.

From a fan standpoint, the final film will more than likely not end the way the novel does. With a name change for the final film, it is hard to imagine it will have the same story as the original. There have also been too many variations to the main story and the characters for the same events to transpire the way they do in the novel.

“Allegiant” is a real disappointment from every angle and is not worth spending the money on.

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