Call me annoyed.
Here we are with yet another Divergent movie (Allegiant), inspired by the razor thin narrative written by Veronica Roth. Lionsgate couldn’t possibly be thinking of releasing yet another one of these films across the globe this weekend … right? Just when it seemed that it couldn’t get much worse, we get a screen filled with our teen savior Tris, her boy-toy, Four, a post-apocalyptic Chicago that closely resembles a dump, a lot of running, and wondering what lies ahead of us. As they say in the faction Candor, “ May the truth shall set you free” and the truth is that Allegiant is a lifeless, laughable, coma inducing film that will leave people feeling as if they experienced a head trauma.
In this latest installment of The Divergent Series, dystopian Chicago is erupting in a civil war. Without Jeanine in place (Kate Winslet, killed in the last film) a power struggle is starting to emerge between Evelyn (Naomi Watts) and Johanna (Octavia Spencer). Here’s where it could’ve got interesting because, amongst this power struggle, Tris (Shaline Woodley) and Four (Theo James) decide to escape from the city with their friends (Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Maggie Q, and Ansel Elgort.) They decide that the best way to escape the city is to scale a gigantic wall and cut through a fence (that’s electrified). Spoiler Alert: If Tris turns to any of your favorite characters in the movie and utters the phrase “We made it”, they are seconds away from being killed.
They eventually make it over the wall after experiencing a “shocking death” and make it to the remains of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The Airport is a Genetic headquarters run by a person named David (Jeff Daniels). The group realizes they have been part of a larger genetic experiment where this group has been trying to create a perfect society. David has been leading the charge in this experiment, and the only success that he has had was Tris. He wants to take her to Providence (which I guess is some home base in this new world) to show that his experiment could work.
You’d think with all these factors occurring that we would, at least, get some palpable performances from this cast. After all, we are dealing with some shocking events – dystopian world, finding out that your whole world was some experiment, and, of course, being shot at regularly. Instead, everything is on autopilot. Shaline Woodley, no matter what’s occurring on screen, has the same hopeful/optimistic look. Theo James (Four) is constantly sporting the very generic look of a man with a “past”; the problem with that is no one is interested, and nobody cares about his past anymore. Miles Teller is mildly amusing in the film, and the laughter he elicits is more of a shock than anything. Jeff Daniels has this glazed look in his face as if he’s in shock that he agreed to be in such an awful project. Speaking of terrible, let’s talk about the special effects.
Visually, here is an uninspired shellacking of red paint on green screens. Never will anyone ever see a more hideous shade of red as the mess we get about 20 minutes into the film. The special effects weren’t much better, seemingly conjured up on iMovie. A real sign that your film is headed into a deep dark abyss is when your scenes that involve special effects are funny when they aren’t supposed to be. Maybe they did this to detract from the terrible writing and awful performances in the film? If they did then bravo, because it’s distracting.
Allegiant’s screenplay was written by Adam Cooper and Noah Oppenheim. It would seem that neither of them had any desire to try and entertain audiences. However, they sure as hell built a cookie-cutter screenplay and teased a grand finale occurring in the final film (yes, that’s right, we have to endure another one of these films in March of 2017).We shouldn’t have expected much from a writing duo who’s claim to fame is that one of them wrote A New York Minute (that’s right … it’s the Mary Kate and Ashley Olson film), and the other is best known for his producing work on the Today show.
So yes, you can call me annoyed. I’m annoyed that we are expected just to be okay with horrendous films. Annoyed that studios don’t seem to understand that not every Young Adult novel needs to be turned into a full-length movie.
The Divergent Series: Allegiant
Director: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Jeff Daniels, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Zoe Kravitz, Octavia Spencer, Johnny Weston
Screenplay: Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, based on the novel by Veronica Roth
Rating: PG-13; violence, profanity, silhouette nudity
Running time: 121 min.