Who doesn’t want more moody, post-apocalyptic teens? Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller and Jeff Daniels star in Allegiant.
Cast of Characters:
Beatrice “Tris” Prior – Shailene Woodley
Tobias “Four” Eaton – Theo James
Caleb Prior – Ansel Elgort
Christina – Zoe Kravitz
Peter Hayes – Miles Teller
David – Jeff Daniels
Johanna Reyes – Octavia Spencer
Tori Wu – Maggie Q
Evelyn Johnson-Eaton – Naomi Watts
Director – Robert Schwentke
Screenplay – Stephen Chbosky, Bill Collage, Adam Coper & Noah Oppenheim
Based on the novel Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Producer – Lucy Fisher, Pouya Shabazian & Douglas Wick
Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity
Following the events of Insurgent, Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James) and the rest of their team – Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and Peter (Miles Teller) – must contend with an angry mob of vindictive citizens who crave revenge for all the wrongs done against them by the Erudite faction. When they’re unable to convince the new movement, led by Evelyn Johnson-Eaton (Naomi Watts), to stop the vengeful killings, Tris and Co. escape the wall enclosing Chicago, venturing outside the city and into new territory.
Once outside, they discover a thriving civilization smack dab in the middle of the all that radiation soaked wasteland. While the region’s leader David (Jeff Daniels) explains all the exposition Tris and Co. need to know, Evelyn has begun an uprising against her pacifistic neighbors Amity, led by Johanna Reyes (Octavia Spencer), which threatens to destroy the civilization Tris once called her home.
I honestly forgot about this franchise, and it wasn’t until I saw this franchise’s heavy sigh-inducing trailer for the third entry to Veronica Roth’s novel series of post apocalyptic moody young adults that I was reminded we were all about to be subjected to another Divergent film.
Of course, the fact that I so quickly forgot about a franchise whose previous entry was release only a year ago should tell you how forgettable this franchise is. Forget any Hunger Games comparisons, this series has made the Maze Runner franchise look like the Mad Max films. Still, the first two films weren’t the most wretched films I’d ever seen. Both had enough redeemable qualities to avoid my top 10 worst lists of both 2014 and 2015, and I still stand by the C grade I gave to Insurgent, which honestly isn’t that good of a grade anyway, but that didn’t stop others from acting as if I practically knighted it heir apparent to The Godfather.
So here we are with Allegiant, the third and final entry to Roth’s dystopian series, but certainly not the final entry to this film series as studios nowadays will fight tooth and nail to squeeze a million sequels out of that final book.
And, holy overdose of Valium, Batman, does Allegiant take this franchise’s figurative train and grind it to a screeching, brick wall, smashed-in like an accordion halt.
Some films suffer from an overcrowded story. Allegiant’s problem is padding about sixty minutes worth of story into a two-hour runtime. To fill out that remaining hour of nothing, director Robert Schwentke and his screenwriting team that bafflingly consists of four writers subject their talent cast, and most unfortunately us the viewers, to extremely dull character exchanges and even duller dead spots so dull you’ll be willing to sell your soul to Satan just to have anything interesting occur onscreen. Schwentke and his writers have a wide array of societal themes that they could touch on, specifically authority, capital punishment and citizen unrest, but they don’t build on any of them and are just content to leave any opportunity for substantial story development by the wayside.
All of the above criticisms could’ve been partially forgiven had this film been even the slightest been entertaining and visually exciting, yet some of the film’s special effects are shockingly bad, which takes you completely out of the nightmarish landscape Schwentke is trying to establish. Sure, they may not be Syfy bad, but still, if this is the best effects a $110 million budget can buy, if I was the studio head I’d start firing some crew members.
This is one dystopian world that would’ve looked 10x more believable had they just left the green screens alone.
As for the cast, the best I can say for them is at least they’re getting paid well. Place a group of unknowns in this dour mess and you could expect or at least not be too surprised by the flat performances. Waste away a group of strong actors in this two-hour snooze-fest like Shailene Woodley, Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts and Jeff Daniels (who’s been on a roll lately with The Martian, Steve Jobs and his Emmy-winning turn in HBO’s Newsroom), and you’ll walk away absolutely devastated by the amount of phoning-in this much talent could do. Granted, there’s one-note characters and then there’s these dimension-less dolts, who altogether couldn’t equal one-note combined, so you could argue that maybe there’s only so much these actors could do. Then again, that talent this good puts forth such noticeably little effort from beginning to end is absolutely inexcusable.
To this film’s small, very small, miniscule credit, there is a fair amount of entertainment value in the climactic action setpiece, which involves red mist, flying drone discs and a breaking of every scientific law so egregious Isaac Newton would crawl out of his grave and choke the filmmakers involved. Sure, there’s a slight cheese factor to it that Schwentke may not have intended, but it is a fun little moment. That said, it took this damn film two drearily long and boring acts to get to something that’s even the slightest bit entertaining.
Too little, too late.
At best, Allegiant features a very talented cast. However, that’s in name only ’cause at worst, Allegiant takes said talented cast and wastes them in a tedious, overlong, yawn-inducing world of crappy special effects, cheesy Holocaust allegories and characters that look and act just as bored and apathetic as the actors portraying them. This film’s biggest crime against humanity is that the series has felt long, long, loooong enough up to this point… yet it’s still not over. The prior two entries, while quite a distance away from good, have had their redeeming qualities. Third time, though, is certainly no charm and, on the contrary, evidence that it’s time to put the franchise out of its misery and pull the plug already.
I give Allegiant a D- (½★).