In this Allegiant review, we find entertainment in the movie, but the flaws can’t be overlooked
For those fans holding out for hope that Allegiant the movie is going to go back to the plot of Allegiant the book, you will want to toss that idea aside right now, because you will certainly be disappointed. Aside from names and places and factions, you’ll find that Allegiant has left about ninety-five percent of the details from the book out of the movie. Whether that’s a good thing or not probably depends on if you even liked the third book of the Divergent trilogy to begin with.
I should say that I am not a purist (one who wants everything to be exactly how it is in the books it’s based on). Sure, when a book is really good and Hollywood decides to make a movie out of it, I would definitely like it to be as close to the book as possible. However, there are times when the changes really aren’t so horrible, and I know even some of my friends will beg to differ with me on that.
Now, as I stated, Allegiant, which happens to be the third of four movies based off the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, is really nothing like the book. The direction in which the Insurgent movie had gone should have been the first indication that they were going a different path. The title changes made for the third and fourth movies should have been the second indication (from the presumed titles Allegiant Part 1 and Allegiant Part 2 to Allegiant and Ascendant).
With that in mind, I can honestly say that I didn’t hate Allegiant. In fact, I was pretty intrigued with where the story was going, especially in the second half of the film.
But before I get into that, I’ll also say that there were some issues about the movie that cannot be overlooked. The beginning of the movie started off pretty rocky with certain scenes in the film that I found pretty cheesy and cringe-worthy. There’s one particular scene where a crowd of people are shouting back and forth in anger, and it just made me groan because of the dialogue the audience is forced to hear, where the director had purposefully made certain lines stand out for us who apparently can’t feel the unrest of that moment. The delivery was just over-acted, plus it was blatant and cheesy and completely unnecessary.
That scene, of course, was to show the opposing opinions of those in the crowds and how things are not quite as peaceful as people from the dissolved factions thought they would be under the new regime that is being led by Evelyn Eaton, Four’s mother. That whole scene was kind of hard to stomach, especially when there was a lot of amazing talent involved in it, including Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Daniel Dae Kim, and Mekhi Phifer.
It didn’t help that this is how the movie started off, however, at the same time, luckily it doesn’t continue on and as we move away from that part, where we focus more on Tris and Four and the other major characters, it actually does get better. Keep in mind, I’m not a purist.
First off, when the focus is on the major characters, that acting is pretty comparable to previous YA-based movies. What I mean is it’s nothing Oscar-worthy, but character-worthy, which is just as good as Oscar-worthy in a reader’s eyes. Shailene Woodley and Theo James have pretty much established their characters as well as they are able to and have made us comfortable with their Tris and Four. Miles Teller’s character, Peter, has become the jokester that lightens the mood at times, which is a good thing, because nobody else does. Although Ansel Elgort’s Caleb is still an important part to the story, Zoe Kravitz’s Christina is even less.
We are introduced to some new characters in the community that Tris’s group encounters outside Chicago’s perimeter, that may or may not be acting on their best interest, or that of Chicago’s best interest as well. In this part, we get to see Jeff Daniels’ David and Bill Skarsgård as a new character named Matthew.
It is in this second half, or basically the events after their escape from Chicago, that I found my interest piqued. Being a non-purist, I was able to let myself get drawn into the movie’s story and drama without having to critique and compare every moment to that of the book. In that sense, I was able let myself be entertained by not knowing what’s going to happen.
Given that many of the fans of the book series were not quite satisfied with the final book, this may actually also be of interest to those who wanted more than what the book gave. Thus, I can’t be mad at all the changes they did for this movie. Plus, I’m actually excited to see how things turn out in Ascendant, because I do believe that they might not end it the same way it ended in the book series.
In the big picture, yes, some of the major plot points vaguely resembled the book, but it’s the details that set this apart from the book series. And in that is where we decide whether we like or hate it. For me, I liked that part of the movie
Now, with that said, there were some other issues that I didn’t quite find appealing, and one of them was in the way the movie was stylized. There were times it felt as if director Robert Schwentke was trying for some kind of visual style that apparently was supposed to evoke this futuristic feel for the film. But for me, it not only had that trying-too-hard kind of feel, but just was too noticeable and felt outdated, which simply is not something you want your audience to say.
There were some cool visuals, but again some of it bordered on CGI-overload, which I can only assume to be a hard balancing act in such a film as this. I could say the same thing about Insurgent, which Schwentke directed as well, so it should be no surprise to the audience. Still, it’s a detriment to the movie. I should also warn you that there is also a certain defiance of the laws of physics in the movie, and you can either despise it or let it go. I laughed about it first, and then I let it go.
Overall, I did enjoy the movie despite some of the problems I had about it. It’s certainly not Oscar material, but it has entertainment value, decent drama, action, and even a lesson or two to learn.