Director: Robert Schwentke
Run Time: 2h
Allow me to clear something up: Allegiant is not boring. It’s just really dumb, and poorly executed.
Once more we are in dystopian Chicago with Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her hunky honey Four (Theo James). After the events of Insurgent, the city is being controlled by Four’s mother Evelyn (Naomi Watts). She is executing “traitors” and keeping anyone from going beyond the wall to discover the truth behind the cryptic video message that there are people outside waiting to meet them. Former Amity leader, Johanna (Octavia Spencer) has banned together a group who disagree with Evelyn and they call themselves the Allegiant. With the city divided and the truth still unknown, Tris and her usual gang escape beyond the wall. What they find is an entire compound — called the Bureau of Genetic Welfare — of citizens who know exactly who they are and have been watching the Chicago experiment for years. The survivors are assigned jobs and given a “purity” ranking. Tris is assigned to work with the Director, David (Jeff Daniels) to study what made Tris 100% pure and thus rendering the experiment a success. But while she’s up in an ivory tower, the rest of the group is getting to see what the Bureau is really about and not all is as miraculous as it seems. (Per usual.)
Where to begin. This movie is sloppy. The story varies drastically from the book, changing the ‘how’ and ‘why’ but using the same ‘who’ and ‘where’. To me these changes opened up several holes in the plot and allowed for mass confusion as to who was fighting who and what their motivation actually was. Several times we would stumble over blatant contradictions and it was almost embarrassing. These inconsistencies went way beyond ‘deception’ and landed somewhere closer to ‘clumsy’. I’ve said time and time again that I will never be against shying away from source material…as long as it still works! There was substance to be had here and I think that a majority of what the movie was trying to do could have totally worked; if only they had chosen one path and stuck to it. It was like the writers were victims of the Bureau’s memory erasing serum and forgot what the point was from one scene to the next. (Yes there’s a serum and it’s important but is also cursed as being the vapor ex machina. So stupidly convenient when it needs to be.)
Perhaps the most frustrating thing was the new level of naiveté that these characters have reached. After everything that they’ve been through — the lies, the deception, the secrecy, the separation — how could you believe some of the most transparent lies you have heard thus far? The things these characters accept is despicable. For instance, Evelyn is perhaps the biggest skeptic out of anyone and there is a pretty important bit of information she accepts as truth even though she hears it from a notoriously untrustworthy character. Seriously, the whole thing is almost insulting to us the viewers since we have to endure their stupidity for two whole hours.
Please… do NOT even get me started on the continuity issues. How does an entire outfit change in seconds? If you’re wearing the blue pants sitting down, please don’t magically have red pants when you stand up. Sleeping Beauty’s fairy godmothers were nowhere to be found so I call bulls***.
For a movie that received a PG-13 rating, there’s quite a lack of blood. In a normal movie, if someone is shot in the head it’s pretty graphic. You’ll need more than a few rolls of Bounty to get that floor clean. In Allegiant though, you probably won’t even need a single Kleenex! It’s like they have super special sci-fi bullets that absorb blood as they pierce through flesh and bone. In the film’s defense, the sky did rain blood at some point. But the heads? Nope. No they did not.
I am begrudgingly curious to see how they tie this series up with a fourth movie. Everyone knows that the Divergent franchise has chosen the cash cow approach and split up the final book into two parts. They did have the decency to not use the dreaded “Part 1” and “Part 2” labeling, but I just don’t see how they are going to make the final installment a full length feature. As I said before, they did shy away from the books quite a bit, but they’re going to have to be incredibly creative to squeeze out anything halfway decent for the finale. (Please be decent. I beg you.)
As far as the acting goes, it’s truly not terrible. I’m not saying the dialogue is squeaky clean or the characters themselves are flawless (see above). But I am saying the actors who played those characters and delivered those lines were committed to their roles. It makes it all slightly less annoying. (I said ‘slightly!’)
Like any other franchise I’m not going to be able to persuade the avid fan-base to save their pennies and skip this movie. (Suit yourself.) But for the majority of moviegoers I think you can do better than Allegiant. I might even go as far as to say don’t bother seeing this one until I give you the “OK” that the finale will be worth it. There’s a good chance it won’t be. Then that’s FOUR hours of your life that I have given you. You’re welcome.
I’m a little tired of recommending YA series in these posts. Instead I want to offer substance as the alternative. In 1998 there was an experiment involving someone being watched by millions of people. Jim Carrey stars as Truman Burbank in The Truman Show.