Thursday, March 31, 2016

Movie Review: Allegiant

Title: Allegiant (Divergent #3)
Release Date: March 18, 2016
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James
Director: Robert Schwentke
Runtime: 120 minutes
Rated: PG-13
View on IMDB

After the earth-shattering revelations of INSURGENT, Tris (Shailene Woodley) must escape with Four (Theo James) and go beyond the wall enclosing Chicago. For the first time ever, they will leave the only city and family they have ever known. Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths. Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust as a ruthless battle ignites beyond the walls of Chicago which threatens all of humanity. In order to survive, Tris will be forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

I've talked about my superpower on the blog in the past, but here's a quick recap: I forget everything. Okay, not everything, but a lot. I tend to read or watch something and over the course of a few months I forget most of it. Some would say this is a curse, but I love it because I get to be surprised about things all over again! While I remember the gist of the Divergent trilogy, I had forgotten many of the details before the movies started being released. Forgetfulness is probably a better thing with this trilogy than most because it seems like everyone is complaining about how totally different the movies are! Unlike those people, I'm going to focus this review on the movie itself and not on comparing everything to the source material.

Allegiant picks up immediately after Insurgent left off, with everyone in Chicago heading to the open gate... before it's closed again by Evelyn, Four's mom. As the new leader of the factionless city, Evelyn has decided that the wall will remain closed since she feels that is the safest thing for its inhabitants. Obviously, Tris goes against the status quo and devises a dangerous plan to escape to find those on the outside.

This movie was definitely interesting. I actually have a lot of mixed feelings. To start, Allegiant somehow felt slow while also seeming to jump through situations way too quickly once Tris and Four made it outside of Chicago. I liked their dynamic as a couple and felt like their discord made total sense given the unusual circumstances they'd found themselves in. It is completely unsurprising that Tris would do whatever she could to help the people of Chicago, even when Four had his doubts. The tension between Evelyn and Johanna was intense!! I love the Allegiant although it seemed like the division happened almost too abruptly. I also liked the idea of the experimental city and the reasoning given for it. Sometimes movies leave out the WHY and I feel like Allegiant did a decent, if not perfect, job of explaining the motivations behind Chicago and the faction system.

But now my issues... I feel like this might be the kind of movie where the viewer isn't supposed to think too hard. I always wonder what filmmakers are thinking when they do this. Do they assume no one will notice the weird parts? First of all, I have to wonder about the hair Tris is sporting in Allegiant. Here's a side by side comparison of Tris in Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant:

Just like... what? So Tris starts out in Divergent with long, mostly brown hair (maybe you could argue for dirty blonde). Insurgent gives a valid excuse for her short hair when she chops it off at the beginning of the film, and her hair color stays mostly the same. But Allegiant begins with Tris wearing mid-length hair with very blonde highlights. Two things: first, this movie picks up 5 minutes after the last one leaves off. Where can I get some of those hair vitamins?? Second, do they have hair stylists in this future Chicago who do highlights? Man, they work fast! Okay, so I'm nitpicking, but it's just one of those things that's too ridiculous to be ignored.

Another thing that seemed really confusing to me (and maybe it's explained in the book - if so, someone please enlighten me) is that the air over Chicago was perfectly fine. The inhabitants of the city were healthy and there was no toxic rain or dust, etc. Meanwhile, almost as soon as Tris and Co. get over the wall, they are in some kind of toxic wasteland and have to be decontaminated. How does this work?? I'm no scientist, but I don't think the clouds discriminate based on city limits.

Another issue I had with Allegiant was that it was almost too sci-fi to fit with the rest of the series. Yes, this is a dystopia, but until now it has all seemed real enough to be believable. Once Tris and Four enter what I guess is the real world, it's like they take a leap into Star Wars territory.

When they were surrounded by flying bubbles I honestly had to restrain my laughter. The surveillance equipment that Caleb uses in the movie is pretty amazing though! 

Finally, why do people keep trusting Peter?? Can he hurry up and die, please? It's just getting old. It's like he's set to repeat in each film. 

While Allegiant certainly had some issues, I did enjoy what it added to the series. I don't feel like it necessarily needed to be a separate movie from "Ascendant." There were definitely parts that could have been left out of the movie - the city of Providence, for example - to shorten this movie and make the last book a single film. Unfortunately, splitting the last book of YA series into two films seems to be the way it goes these days, whether it's needed or not. I'm very curious to find out how Ascendant plays out and whether the ending is faithful to the book (that part I do remember). Part of me hopes it is so that I don't have to hear everyone complain, but a bigger part of me hopes they change it as much as they've changed everything else. 

Allegiant was an enjoyable movie overall! I do think that some fans of the books will really dislike it based on the fact that it is so much different. Taken on its own though, I feel that those who liked the first two films will also enjoy this one. You just might have to suspend your disbelief a little more than usual... 

Have you seen Allegiant? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!