Once again IMAX increases the enjoyment of a movie, this time the otherwise only fair penultimate episode, “The Divergent Series: Allegiant,” opening today in IMAX theaters.
The unusually large “mini-Max” IMAX screen at the AMC Oakview Plaza 24 in Omaha, Nebraska, and the extra powerful sound system keeps you engaged with visual eye candy and rumbling audio so strong that it literally shakes your seat.
It all makes the comments about the benefits of IMAX by cast and crew in the featurette below actually seem sincere – it really is the best way to experience this film. (IMAX is really ratcheting up celebrity praise for its format with a sneak preview of Disney’s “The Jungle Book” preceded by a plug for the format by voice actor Lupita Nyong’o.)
Story and character-wise, “Allegiant” is exactly what fans of the series and books will expect, no more and no less. When the producers of the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series decided to break the final chapter in the book series into two movie episodes, it dramatically slowed the pace of those films. Fortunately, that isn’t the case here – the story moves briskly and introduces plenty of new characters and action set pieces.
Beatrice “Tris” (Shailene Woodley) escapes the post-apocalyptic Chicago conclave with boyfriend Four (Theo James) to journey beyond the wall that encloses the windy city. They take Tris sibling Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and not-to-be-trusted (again) Peter (Miles Teller) with them, as well as Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and Tori (Maggie Q), one of whom doesn’t make it past the first few minutes of the film.
Jeff Daniels is introduced as a manager of the outside world, and Naomi Watts is back as Four’s mother, the new leader of the now non-categorized population of the walled-in community. Once again, the lesson seems to be that no new leaders can be trusted, no matter who they are.
Those lessons and the dialogue is all a bit trite and predictable, but there are enough action and fight scenes — rock climbing, battles in cool aircraft, an invisible wall in the middle of a desolate landscape where rain is the color of blood, and frisbee-like weapons controlled with the index finger — that when enhanced with IMAX sound, the experience is worth the price of admission and the two hours of your time.
— By Scott Hettrick