Divergent Series: ALLEGIANT — Review by Susan Granger

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Joining the “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and “Hunger Games,” this adaptation of Veronica Roth’s popular YA series divides its conclusion into two separate movies. In the beginning of this installment, a voice-over explains, “We designed your city as an experiment.” So Chicago’s citizens were rigidly divided into behavioral factions, like Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Erudite and Dauntless. Read on…

After a revolution that abolished these divisions, militant Evelyn (Naomi Watts) takes charge, opposed by Johanna (Octavia Spencer), whose former Amity cohorts become known as Allegiant.

Beatrice “Tris” Prior (Shailene Woodley), accompanied by her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort), lover Four (Theo James), friend Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and ever-duplicitous Peter (Miles Teller), scales the massive concrete wall that surrounds Chicago to explore the post-apocalyptic world outside.

Captured in the dystopian wasteland after being drenched by blood-red radioactive rain, they’re whisked off to the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a futuristic fortress located at what used to be O’Hare International Airport.

“What’s an airport?” wonders incredulous Caleb.

After they’re systematically decontaminated, Tris meets with David (Jeff Daniels), the smug head honcho, who relates the history of DNA modification and shows how the Bureau keeps Chicago’s citizens under constant surveillance. In addition, she learns that because she’s “pure,” she’s has a special mission. And so it goes.

Episodically adapted with inane dialogue contributed by four different screenwriters, it’s directed by Robert Schwentke (“Insurgence”) with an emphasis on repetitive action, including floating CGI “plasma globes,” an orange “memory-erasing” gas, and frog-shaped hovercrafts pursuing those caught “in the Fringe” with the purpose of kidnapping children.

Unfortunately, talented Shailene Woodley is not as convincing in the intrepid heroine-mold as Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss and her scripted indecisiveness essentially weakens her character’s effectiveness this time ‘round.

That’s confusing, particularly since her new, sculpted, honey-colored hairstyle and stark, immaculately tailored wardrobe evoke the quiet confidence of Robin Wright’s “House of Cards” Claire Underwood.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Divergent Series: Allegiant” is a flogging 5, awaiting the final sci-fi segment “Ascendant,” set for 2017.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.