Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Review: Allegiant

World of Blackout Film Review

Allegiant Poster

Cert: 12A / 121 mins / Dir. Robert Schwentke / Trailer
WoB Rating: 3/7

That time already, huh? Well, the third installment of a saga which has so far failed to delight me somewhat was never going to be an easy ride. And in that respect alone, Allegiant*1 didn't disappoint.

Too many characters, not enough development and some atrocious green-screening (for a production of this scale) puts this rushed-feeling sequel firmly into the Must Try Harder bracket, I'm afraid. Especially since the second movie showed far more promise than its predecessor. At times, Allegiant feels like an effects showreel (and not a particularly great one) with a meandering plot that makes itself up as it goes along, trundling through a repeating cycle of:
• Demonstration of unfeasible technology given the resources available;
• Exposition so heavy it has to be legally carried using mechanical equipment;
• Some 'third-act-reveal' which counters what we learned in a previous film, or sometimes just a thing which happened two scenes ago.

Sample scene:
EXT: Post-apocalyptic wasteland. Five teenagers tread warily under an ochre sky, through scorched craters and a stream flowing with red water.
The boy one: This hole looks radioactive. Or at least it was in the last two hundred years.
The girl one: ...what does that mean?
The boy one again: That someone seriously messed up the world!

…that the above exchange made it not only through the drafting process but also shooting and editing suggests that this film has been written as part of someone's GCSE coursework. Although not a GCSE in screenwriting, I'm guessing.

On the acting front, Theo James furrows his brow to the point where you could grow carrots in there, while Shailene Woodley spends the film looking bored and bemused in turn, often opposite Jeff Daniels phoning in one of his most lacklustre performances to date. Meanwhile, young Miles Teller is clearly using the film as an extended audition-tape for his much-vaunted stab at the young Han Solo, and every arched eyebrow and cocky retort demonstrates why he should be kept as far away from the role as possible.

Despite my grumbling, Allegiant isn't an awful film; it's just 'a bit crap', which given its position and platform, is probably even worse. At times it feels like the Children's Film Foundation doing a Saturday Night Live skit of Logan's Run.

Let's be honest, unless you've already got the first two chapters of this saga sitting proudly on your movie-shelf, you don't have to rush out to see this third one. And as I write this ten days after the film's initial release, chances are you probably already have or won't.

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
…the first two?

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
As above, you probably already have or never will.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
I'd say not, but then it's not really aimed at me.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It's not even the best work of its own series.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Y'know what? I just might ;)

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
What, other than "Miles Teller wants to play Han Solo and I don't want that"..?
Level 2: Naomi Watts is in this and she was in The Impossible with Ewan 'Kenobi' McGregor.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 The Divergent Series: Allegiant, call it by its name!

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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