Movie Review: Allegiant Part 1

I have said enough about young adult (YA) movies to fill a book, which sounds like a good idea now that I think about it. Each is arguably the same movie with the same plot points, themes, and glaring contradictions to their own worlds. In fact, I have probably written that same sentence about half a dozen times. Are the people who like these films blind to how banal they are or is there a joke I am missing? 5th Wave was a joke, but I am sure that was unintentional. Because thousands of words have been spent explaining all of this, here are links to reviews for Mockingjay Part 1 and 2, Insurgent, Scorch Trials, and Paper Towns to save myself the trouble of repetition. Was Allegiant Part 1 more of the same and a waste of time as I wait for the premier of season 2 of Daredevil?

After the revelation that Chicago was an experiment by the Founders Tris, played by Shailene Woodley, and friends embark on a journey outside the wall. Entering a devastated wasteland, they are found by a group of scientists known as the Pure who want to use Divergents to help rebuild humanity.

Allegiant addressed one issue I had with the series. Before Chicago the world was pushed to the brink with the advent of genetic alteration. It reignited old prejudices and the ensuing conflicts made the world uninhabitable. To reverse the effects of a heavily altered humanity, the survivors took groups of people and put them in Chicago to cultivate pure humans (Divergents) to engineer a cure.  That would explain why the people in Chicago can maintain their Faction divisions.  Still does not explain how Factionless exist. Do they just stop being what they are naturally or are they capable of leaving like a Divergent? Now we are coming back to the same argument I made in Insurgent, but that is the least of the movie’s problems.

Allegiant is Breaking Dawn Part 1 with tons of padding and meandering. Instead of moving along at a reasonable pace, there are breaks as the movie explains how a thing works and why a thing is the way it is, rather than just show it. Then the characters take their time getting to where they need to go. It is a deliberate drag shared by Mockingjay with baggage that was unimportant or could have been delivered efficiently. I do not need a walkthrough of the soldier’s Ghost Recon gear or how the Pure monitor Chicago.

Just show it and let my brain do the rest.

It is a persistent problem in the series that the overall quality is awkward in a lot of areas, especially in the use of CG. The issues with Divergent were rectified in Insurgent with a consistent aesthetic and strategic use of effects. This time the production went so far backwards that every green-screen shot of the actors made me cringe. All of the shots featuring the actors with CG are ugly and the smaller digital effects were on par with a Sci-Fi channel original movie. Granted, Allegiant is bigger and the set pieces look better in comparison, but the production should have seen the issues and made concessions like putting the actors in closed spaces without the surrounding CG.

Believe me when I say that God’s of Egypt looks better in comparison.

Woodley carried the previous movies, but this time she has given up and I do not blame her. The way Allegiant goes about its plot with the padding proved too much to bear. Nobody else wanted to be there either with Theo James’ droning, Zoe Kravitz’ stiffness, Ansel Elgort’s deadpan, and Jeff Daniels’ sleepwalking. The only one that had a heart to try was Miles Teller with his usual sarcastic twerp persona. It was such a depressing spectacle and I felt sorry for them.

Another year, another poorly thought-out and contrived YA movie. In the following months I expect another and the cycle will start all over again. Usually I go more in-depth into the various story failings, but I find myself so drained of passion I must postpone the analysis for a later date in the form of an Editorial. Furthermore, I need save my energy for when I mainline Daredevil after posting this in a couple hours.

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