Movie Review: Allegiant

Ready for some more YA dystopian? Yes? Well, probably not but it is coming at you anyway. The third installment in the Divergent series, Allegiant, follows in the steps of its predecessors Divergent and Insurgent.  And since I already reviewed those, I feel it is a just precedent for me to review this one too.  Here’s what is in store for Tris and her friends.

After the revelation of life outside the wall, Tris (Shailene Woodley) is determined to discover what is beyond Chicago. Enlisting Four (Theo James) and some more friends, Tris ventures outside the wall and sees the destruction. Quickly she finds the civilization outside has been watching with keen eyes and possibly being more involved than she believed. The Leader of the outside Bureau of Genetic Welfare David (Jeff Daniels) has his own ideas on how to handle the situation, and he’s not entirely truthful with Tris. Meanwhile back in Chicago, Four’s mom Evelyn (Naomi Watts) is leading the Factionless into revolution against Amity who believe factions are worth saving. But Chicago isn’t the only place still surviving. The question is: how much control and power does this Bureau have over the factioned cities? Apparently, quite a lot.

As with the other films, the cast continues to be amazing. While Kate Winslet is no longer involved, Watts and Daniels are powerful actors even if I feel they are working with less than great writing. Woodley continues to prove her acting chops, and her chemistry with James is very good. Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz, and Octavia Spencer round out the talented cast.

Movies_Allegiant-300x225Cinematographically there is not much to comment on due to the nature of the film. With a dystopian society on the verge of destruction creating sets is difficult,  it is so obvious that blue and green screens are used frequently. What is presented is very impressive, but limited. Another thing is the current separation of novels at the end of series into two films. I’ve said this before and I am more than certain I will say it again, but I don’t get it. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows being two parts makes sense because of the split in action outside and inside Hogwarts. But for Divergent and the Hunger Games, I don’t think it is necessary. It feels more like a money making tactic than the desire to make a good, true-to-the-novel film. I really hope this trend will be ending soon.

There were two aspects of the film that interested me. One is the political climate of the film being very reflective of the current political climate in the United States. People are being kept from the truth by force. You don’t know which side is telling the truth, or who to follow. It is too painfully accurate right now. Ultimately for Tris and for the citizens of the United States, we don’t know who is telling the truth and who we can believe would be a valid leader.

The other aspect is regarding work being done on the Fringe collecting children. David admits that Tris’ mother Natalie (Ashley Judd) was a child from the Fringe who was placed inside the factioned community of Chicago. But the children from the Fringe who are taken have their minds wiped before entering the Bureau community. So who was Natalie really? Did she have her mind wiped like the others? Or did she enter Chicago with full memory of her life outside? It carries on the dystopian trend, and will eventually be followed by the last film in the series. Which I will probably review when it hits. If I’ve done the rest, why not do the last?  It’s got some action and some plot but feels tired considering all the YA dystopian available.

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