The Divergent Series: Allegiant - Review
Frustration over Tension
The Divergent series should be taken as an example of what young adult novel adaptations shouldn't be. Instead of building on the series's interesting questions and ideas, Allegiant pushes the series further into the back of my mind with ugly effects, wooden acting, and a ridiculous story.
The first Divergent film, Divergent, had a fairly straightforward plot that revolved around the different factions in a future version of Chicago. As the series has progressed, it has followed in the footsteps of series' like The Hunger Games and Twilight, losing focus on their core ideas in favor of a bigger spectacle. Allegiant is a prime example of this, and its story is no exception. The plot is nearly identical to the first two films, bringing in ANOTHER mind control scheme, supported by some of the weakest villains the series has seen. Jeff Daniels's David is clearly a bad guy from the very beginning, and he does very little to hide that fact once it is discovered. At the most surface level possible, Allegiant's story could have been considered serviceable, if it didn't treat itself like a whole new series. It seems like every other shot introduces some new technology or character that we're supposed to believe has "always been there."
Also, one of the most amusing things about Allegiant is the way it refers to the main villain of the first two movies, the villainous "Jeanine." Throughout the film, characters toss around her name as if she were something greater than a human, and it actually made for some pretty good laughs.
As has been an issue with the Divergent series as a whole, Allegiant is plagued by completely stiff acting, across the board. More than ever, Shailene Woodley seems bored out of her mind with Tris, as does the audience. The rest of the cast, including Theo James's Tobias, are basically living stereotypes, as was already evident from the first two films. One of the reasons Allegiant fails at establishing real relationships is that it assumes the audience already knows about them from the previous films, failing to realize that relationships change and evolve. Tris's early comment to her brother Caleb (played by Ansel Elgort), "That's what family does.", after she just saved him from execution, means nothing to the audience, as we don't know why Tris is still harboring old feelings. Allegiant paints the picture that people's emotions never change, and that's just wrong.
Allegiant has got to be the ugliest film in the series, which is ironic, since it uses the most CGI of all. The red, brownish "fringe" outside the walls of Chicago are hideous, and when they are shown next to the picture - perfect landscapes of the Chicago O'Hair airport, they look cheap. In several scenes, I couldn't tell if I was seeing an error in the effects or if it was really supposed to look that bad.
One other thing that remains a mystery to me is that Allegiant has not been advertised as "part one" of a two part series, but as I am writing this I have discovered several sources claiming it is. Is this a failsafe for the movie studio to use if the film doesn't succeed, or just poor marketing?
Allegiant is not only a poor movie, but it is also incredibly boring, and promotes inaccurate values. The third and possibly final installment in the already troubled series goes out with a fizzle, hopefully for good.
Pros- Some interesting ideas
Cons- Bad acting, ludicrous story, boring