The Divergent Series: Allegiant (2016)

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The Truth Lies Beyond
 The Divergent Series: Allegiant is the 3rd film in the series and is directed by Robert Schwentke (Red, Insurgent). The film sees Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars, The Descendants), Theo James (Underworld: Awakening, The Inbetweeners Movie), Miles Teller (Whiplash, Fantastic Four), Ansel Elgort (The Fault In Our Stars, Carrie) and Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Ring) all return and are joined by Jeff Daniels (The Martian, Dumb & Dumber). "After the earth-shattering revelations of Insurgent, Tris must escape with Four beyond the wall that encircles Chicago to finally discover the shocking truth of what lies behind it". The Divergent films took a step back with Insurgent, can Allegiant move it forward in the right direction?


Allegiant is a mixed bag - it has some good moments but starts off very poorly that those good moments are almost overlooked due to the negative feelings created by the first third of the film. I would say Allegiant is the weakest entry in the series yet but I still have hope that Ascendant can be an epic conclusion to the series and get it back up to the heights of the first film that the series hasn't been able to get back to as of yet. 

So I have to say, Allegiant had so many stupid moments towards the start of the film that had me laughing out loud when I wasn't supposed to be. I think some of the dialogue towards the beginning is a little silly and some of the dramatic moments just aren't effective -  when Christina falls and when Caleb also falls are moments that should be taken seriously but had me laughing. I don't understand why Caleb has such a strange run - it hasn't really ever been spoken about and I just think he looks very goofy and takes away any serious feelings that are meant to be felt towards his character. Another hilarious moment was the bubbles - I'm pretty sure these are not in the book but I thought they looked so stupid and just were horrendous. Allegiant also emphasised how similar the Divergent series is to all the other YA adaptions and films - the setting at the beginning is like The Scorch, the hidden residency is like District 13, the red area is like After Earth, the whole film feels like The Host and the posh place they go to looks a lot like Tomorrowland.  I think Allegiant is missing that element that sets it aside from the rest - The Hunger Games had its political tones but Divergent doesn't really have anything deeper going for it. 

The visual effects were another thing I had mixed feelings towards in the film. There were some moments where you could tell green screen was used - especially a scene with Peter towards the beginning. I still really don't like the appearance of The Fringe - it looks like a deserted field has had its hue and saturation changed therefore becoming red - it just looks completely fake to me. I didn't like this fro the trailer and I still don't like it now. However, the visual effects were pretty good in the very futuristic place they went to as it was on the level of Tomorrowland's visual effects which were also very strong. Allegiant just felt very futuristic which was a good thing until they try and make it seem like its set in a world similar to modern day - I'm not quite sure whether it works or not. There are also continuity issues such as Tris' hair - it was much shorter at the end of the last film and this is meant to be a direct continuation so how has it magically grown back?

The plot was probably the weakest thing with this film - as fans of the book will know, this is Allegiant - Part 1 but they are manipulating viewers by covering that up with Allegiant and Ascendant - box office is usually depreciated if books are split into two parts so Lionsgate obviously want to cover that up. The plot for Allegiant was extremely messy and confusing - there was so many things going on that everything just became a blur - you would flip back to Chicago where none of the characters we like are and watch things go on there as well as watch Tris be involved in some gene research and then Four battling - too much going on at the same time! SPOILER - One thing I did like about the plot was the little twist to do with the army type characters (Wait, is this The 5th Wave?) - I thought it was interesting to find out that the army were actually kidnapping the children rather than saving them. There are also many loose ends that were never referred to again (such as Tris' Mum) so maybe that will be brought back in Part 2. This whole idea of the damaged and the pure is also super confusing and I don't think the film did a very good job in explaining this at all. 

One thing that this series can rely on is the acting. Everyone here is so talented that makes you wonder how they ended up in this film. Shailene Woodley is fantastic as Tris - I am a little annoyed her characters best qualities (resilience, strength, action) were sidelined until the final act as it almost became the Four show for a while whilst Tris was researching. However, Woodley still did a great job with the character. Theo James was actually quite good - he had some laughable moments in the trailer but in context, he was ok. James is one of those actors that will only work well in certain roles and this is one of them. Miles Teller and Ansel Elgort also did good jobs even though they are both given roles that are so stereotypical - the jerk and the goofy one. The new addition to the cast is Jeff Daniels who wasn't terrible but I don't think he was right for the role. I think his character should be much more similar to President Snow from The Hunger Games but Daniels definitely can't pull something like that off. It will be interesting to see how his character progresses in the next film but I think he was possibly miscast but still did a nice job, just not a great one. 

Allegiant does come together quite nicely and the final two thirds are much more tolerable and entertaining than the first third. What I will say about this franchise is that each film feels different and I wouldn't put them all in the same series - there doesn't seem to be a style, plot or anything that connects these films other than the characters which is unfortunate. I like when Tris actually gets to become empowered once again towards the end and her slow motion fighting is pretty cool. Allegiant is full of blood free PG-13 violence - maybe an R-rated YA adaption is what we need?

Allegiant has many flaws, so many that it is probably the weakest film in the franchise so far. The acting is good and there is quite a lot of action for a film that is a part 1. The film does put forward so many ideas that it is easy to become confused and muddled - especially if those ideas aren't executed extremely well. The visual effects have there good and bad moments and there are some little twists that you don't see coming. It's always a shame looking back at the original Divergent because there was so much promise, Allegiant has brought this series down to the levels of The Host and The 5th Wave...thankfully, Divergent has a fan base of books and two movies worth so we can still be pretty confident we will get to see the final instalment - I have a feeling Ascendant will be worth much more time. Allegiant isn't a horrible movie, it is just a mixed bag. 

3 STARS
C+

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