Directed By: Robert Schwentke
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Jeff Daniels, Naomi Watts
To make a successful film aimed at a teenage market, simply rework a successful dystopian novel franchise. Add in the teeny-bopper heart throbs of the day, stir in some good old fashioned shoot ’em-up action, and balance it with an equal measure of romance. Sprinkle heavily with Hollywood tropes. Pour it into a dystopian American landscape (with unusually circular cities). Then, most importantly, divide the final part in two.
Allegiant is the third part of the amazingly successful and woefully formulaic Divergent franchise. Triss (Shailene Woodley) is two thirds (well, three-quarters if you want to be specific) of the way through saving the now walled city of Chicago from a dystopian civil war, fuelled by different factions. So far, so good. She has an assortment of side-kicks of varying levels of likeability, and they’re all off to see the Wizard. Wait, scratch that, wrong film.
Confusingly enough, two of these side-kicks are played by Hollywood’s young men of the moment, and Woodley’s co-stars on previous films, Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) and Miles Teller (The Extraordinary Now), and one of them plays her character’s brother. It takes a few scenes to escape the sense of pseudo-incestuous déja-vu.
Back in Chicago, Triss and friends escape and are whisked away to a secret facility in which people appear to be masterminding the entirety of the affair as part of a massive genetic “purifying” project. Uncomfortable references to eugenics aside, the film is an enjoyable affair. On a technical level, it is well paced, its action scenes punchy (even if some of the acting is otherwise lacking), and its special effects created a moving postcard from a post-apocalyptic American landscape that glowed radioactively.
In a nutshell: A CGI fuelled roller-coaster through an unpleasant future which ultimately lacks narrative punch. If you’re mildly curious, it’s best seen in the cinema for full effect, but beware the ultimately irritating cliff-hanger at the end.