Starring Shailene Woodley. Rated PG
Cynics might think of The Divergent Series as little more than The Hunger Games with cool-looking ray guns instead of bows and arrows. But why be cynical? The third installment in the series has everything a smug adolescent adores: smart, idealistic teens kicking ass and taking names while greedy old people quiver in their postapocalyptic boots.
Although there’s lots of high-minded talk, director Robert Schwentke is content to serve up what amounts to a two-hour game of laser tag in trendy camouflage jumpsuits. Fans of the series will recognize a definite streak of youthful superiority here. Nobody over 30 can be trusted—not even a melty-eyed Naomi Watts, as one of the shifty leaders of a bleak futuristic Chicago.
Our lovely young heroine is Tris (Shailene Woodley), who’s in favour of uniting the various fractured groups in her walled-off city. In order to do so, she must break the local law by scaling the wall and venturing into the outside world. She organizes a group of rebels that includes her hunky boyfriend, Four (Theo James). They make it over the wall to encounter a devastated landscape. Things look bad until the group encounters an advanced civilization led by David (Jeff Daniels, looking pudgy and untrustworthy). David is into genetic experimentation. In fact, he’s interested in learning how to replicate Tris’s “genetic purity” so he can ultimately fix the genetically “damaged”.
Apparently, Tris doesn’t mind David using terms that would bring a smile to a Nazi scientist. But Four, being one of the “damaged”, is a little more hip to David’s agenda. What follows delivers little more than what we’ve experienced in previous installments. But then, there’s another chapter right around the corner, if you can manage to care.