Allegiant - Can this instalment lift this series beyond the ordinary? 2.5 stars

"You want change without sacrifice, you want peace without struggle. The world doesn't work that way." - David 

Walking into the cinema...
Is anyone else suffering from young adult novel fatigue?

Overall rating: 2.5 stars
Cinematic value: 2 stars   
Big questions value: 3 stars

       At the end of a war, history shows that a leadership vacuum occurs in many of the countries that are left to clean up afterwards. In the world of the Divergent series, the battle for Chicago has ended with the death of Jeanine (), the previous administrative ruler, which causes a division and fight for leadership of the last known city on earth. In this new chaotic world order, Tris () and Four () must determine what their roles will be amongst the new factions. They really have three choices, to follow Evelyn () and the path to violence and rebellion, to follow after the path of peace and tranquillity with Johanna () or to leave it all behind and go beyond the wall. The two women of power have differing views of how the population should be ruled and order restored. With little appeal in either of the camps, Tris and her tattooed band of insurgents decide to take their chances outside the wall of the windy city. After their harrowing escape, they discover a barren wasteland, but quickly determine that an unexpected world of possibilities is about to unfold before them. 
       For fans of the Divergent series, this is the first offering of the last instalment in the journey of these revolutionary friends. Outside of explaining how only pretty people survive in the post-apocalyptic society, the biggest barrier for this series trying to find something new to say in the busy market of young adult dramas. The twists and turns seem like familiar territory, due to the emotion-filled stories and escape plans of Twilight, The Hunger Games and Maze Runner. Director Schwenkte (RED) has an uphill battle to provide theatre goers with a fresh look on a tired formula. He does seem to lift his game a bit with this outing, but the question remains if it is enough to save the franchise.
        What he must do is rely on fine tuning the story with respectable CGI and entrusting  his lead characters with conveying his interpretation of Veronica Roth's story. Schwentke works hard to develop the world of the post-apocalyptic Chicago. The special effects are solid and provide the backdrop that is essential to building the fantasy world around the multitude of players. It is admirable, but not earth shatteringly new. The primary strength of Allegiant is found in the acting capabilities of the cast. Woodley and James maintain their steely demeanour which propels the brooding drama ahead. Still nothing new, but it is the supporting cast that provides the highlights.  (Whiplash) impeccably conveys the humorous portions of the anaemic screenplay. Even though he has limited screen time, he does manage to capture the audiences attention with each entry point on screen. Teller is a shining light, but the best addition to this fateful series is the thespian force of  (The Martian). He delivers the right level of likability in the David character to balance out the eventual dark side that he reveals. His edginess makes up for the weaker adversarial performance of Naomi Watts' which never achieves the menacing level for the leader of a rebellion. 
         The makers of this series have a challenge to lift this series over the wall of mediocrity. Allegiant may have contained originality when published, but it seems destined to be left in the dust of comparison of other series from this genre. It was more compelling than Insurgent, but did not break through any glass ceilings of film making. 
Reel Dialogue: What are the bigger questions to consider from this film? 

Trust. It is a word that is essential for human relations to flourish. The challenge is to know who to trust. Throughout Allegiant the question comes back to knowing who to trust when things are at their worst. This can be said of real life, too. It is not hard to realise that most people will fail in this area at some point. Yet, what is known of the God of the Bible is that he is the only one that is truly trustworthy. If you are looking for someone to trust, how about picking up the Bible and finding the only truly trustworthy being in existence

1. How will the world come to an end?  (Matthew, 24:36, Revelation 20:1-15)
2. Should we rebel against bad leadership? (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17)
3. How can we know that the God of the Bible is trustworthy? (Psalms 33:4-6, Romans 1:18-20)

Leaving the cinema...
Better than Insurgent, but not as good as Divergent. If that is the best to be said of Allegiant, it is hard to look forward to the final instalment of this series. 


Written by Russell Matthews based on a five star rating system @ Russelling Reviews #russellingreviews #allegiant