<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Robert Schwentke. Starring Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller, Jeff Daniels, Octavia Spencer, Naomi Watts, Ansel Elgort, Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q, Daniel Dae Kim, Bill Skarsgard
Running Time: 2 hours 19 minutes
The films for this young adult fiction book keep coming out but we have no clue what they’re about and where they are going. Allegiant is so vapid and formula that you just sit there sighing and wondering how they can make a film with no recap of the previous ones expecting you to remember what happened.
From the first two films, Divergent and Insurgent, I vaguely remember something about different factions called Amity, Erudite etc and how they were divided to promote peace and prosperity in a dystopian world and set in Chicago. A wall surrounding it obviously became the focus for the rebels who didn’t want to be divided and kept as a lab experiment. Didn’t this concept play out similarly in The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials? Whatever.
Tris (Shailene Woodley) and her hunky boyfriend Four (Theo James) and their gang manage to escape Chicago only to find blood rain and a red barren landscape. Makes you wonder about that saying: ‘the grass is always greener’. But soon enough they discover another wall and a group called the Bureau of Genetic Welfare headed by David (Jeff Daniels). You know pretty much immediately that this place doesn’t seem far better than the one they left but Tris gets caught up in it all and just goes with the flow. That flow is pretty boring and you wonder what the film is trying to say if anything at all. Instead of getting a place of peace they get employed to watch over the Fringe and Chicago and attack unarmed populations, rounding up the kids who are then brainwashed.
Pedantic, formula, mind numbing, clueless, directionless – are some of the terms that come to mind about this film. They assume you know and remember the whole back-story. But you don’t. And you don’t care about it either. Shailene Woodley’s character is no Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) and she seems even more helpless and useless in Allegiant. In fact, the guys – who all look far prettier than her – steal the show even though their characters are pretty one-note. Miles Teller as the duplicitous and self-serving Peter has some nice one-liners but his real wickedness never really shines through.
The only thing I liked about Allegiant was the graphic design employed for the ships they use. Slick and futuristic and certainly different from most of the other sci-fi vehicles we’ve seen recently, the team who’ve come up with the designs on those deserve to be in the next Star Wars or Star Trek film.
Apparently there’s still the second half of the book Allegiant that has to be made into a movie. It’s absolutely ridiculous to think that the studio is blind to the disinterest that this film engenders.