Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Jeff Daniels, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Octavia Spencer, Zoë Kravitz and Naomi Watts
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Run Time: 121 mins
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery
2 1/2 out of 5 Frames
By: Shari K. Green
“Allegiant” is the third installment of the author Veronica Roth’s “The Divergent Series” and has been cut in two. Not to be compared even more to “The Hunger Games”, but how can that maneuver not expect the comparison? The series is very much the replica of its more successful counterpart and prolonging the ending is just another way that you can see that strategy. The final book is stretched to get more of a build up to the finale’. The Harry Potter franchise took advantage of the love for its characters and did this, as well, and the fans are fine with that. Everyone is. The money makers are for sure and so are the people handing their money to them. They get to see more of their beloved character before they’re gone for good. It’s like getting to that final chapter of an extremely good book. You start to dread the turn of every page. As the front of the book becomes heavier and the flap of the book jacket on the back more visible, you begin to feel a sense of loss. Yes, you can always pick up the book again or pop in the movie for a second and third watch, as we have all done, but it’s never quite the same, is it? Well, let’s hope that “Allegiant” part one is a build up to something worth the effort.
Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her love interest Four (Theo James) are on the run with Christina (Zoë Kravitz), Peter (Miles Teller), Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Tori (Maggie Q) are trying to escape a civil war in Chicago, the walled city they are living in. They are escaping from the new leader Evelyn (Naomi Watts) who has turned defeating Jeanine into creating a world that will become filled with the same mistrust, violence and hate. Have we learned nothing? Johanna, played incredibly well by Octavia Spencer, did! She has banned together a group of rebels to fight Evelyn, also Four’s mother, but Tris and the gang don’t want to stay for the civil war. They break out and find themselves in an area they learn is called the Fringe, a toxic place to be where the air, land and rain are noxious and dangerous. Right on their heels is Edgar (Jonny Weston), and are about to be captured when they are saved by a highly trained and a very high-tech military working for the Bureau of Genetic Welfare.
The political message is still intact though slightly unclear because you’re trying hard to make sense of what is. With what seems to be a conflicted writing team of three, Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, you’re looking passed the flash and action, wondering who they actually thought would be sitting in the theatre opening day. Also, that flash I was speaking of? Weak. The special effects were cheap, the action is minimal and repeated visits to see David, keeps Tris moving as though she’s on loop. There’s not much story to be had here and it’s disappointing. Blood red, possible poisonous rain is interesting, but director Robert Schwentke’s (The Time Travelers Wife, RED) choice to leave them sitting in it like it’s nothing seemed slipshod. Gassing people so they become complacent and easy to control is frighteningly believable but to elect to spread it everywhere and it effect many but not the heroes of the story? Unacceptable.
David is looking for thegenetically pure and Tris is not only Divergent, but she is pure. He helps her understand what makes her important and she feels more than happy that she can finally make a difference to save the world… or what’s left of it. How this all goes down and asking your audience to not look for all the holes in his plot, Schwentke is reaching for the stars but the Young Adult readers and viewers of this series and others like it will see the positive entertainment and enjoy themselves. Is it the best? No. Will you be looking forward to the next? I would say if you’re a fan, you’ll make it until the end but cashing in at this point isn’t a bad idea.
“Allegiant” opens in theaters nationwide starting March 18, 2016.