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NJ Kids Movie Review: The Divergent Series: Allegiant

Posted by: Jane Louise Boursaw - March 23, 2016

MOVIE SYNOPSIS: After the earth-shattering revelations of 2015's "Insurgent," Tris must escape with Four beyond the wall that encircles Chicago. In the world outside, they discover a shocking truth.

Reel Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity   
Released in Theaters: March 18, 2016 (2D, IMAX)
Best for Ages: 13+
Genre: Sequel, Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure
Runtime: 121 minutes
Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Miles Teller

MOVIE REVIEW: Based on the YA book by Veronica Roth, "The Divergent Series: Allegiant" picks up shortly after the events of 2015's "Insurgent." Factionless leader Evelyn (Naomi Watts) is holding trials for Jeanine's treasonous Erudite and Dauntless followers in front of bloodthirsty crowds straight out of "Thunderdome."

One of those prisoners is Caleb (Ansel Elgort), who is the brother of our heroine Tris (Shailene Woodley). But before Caleb is executed, Tris, Four (Theo James), Christina (Zoe Kravitz), and Peter (Miles Teller) break him out and then scale the wall surrounding the apocalyptic city of Chicago.

Outside, they discover an invisible "camera wall," and beyond that, an area controlled by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare. The Bureau's leader, David (Jeff Daniels), and his employees reveal that Chicago's Faction-based society is actually a generations-old experiment to see whether humanity's "damaged" genes could heal themselves without genetic modification.

The Chicago experiment is monitored by the Bureau's 24/7 surveillance systems that see everything. Tris is summoned to David's "office" at the top of a glass-walled high rise, where he tells her that she is genetically "pure," but the other Divergents, including Four, are "damaged." David proceeds to conduct a series of studies on Tris, while a suspicious Four believes that David's motives are less than honorable.

For moviegoers who've read the books, be forewarned that this installment of the franchise strays wildly from Veronica Roth's book. While I still love the story and characters, "Allegiant" isn't quite as engrossing as the previous movies, 2014's "Divergent" and 2015's "Insurgent."

I love the scenes outside the wall, where we get to see David's modernistic oasis in the midst of a barren apocalyptic landscape. There are also some cool bubble-like flying machines and intriguing special effects, especially when Tris and crew scale the massive wall.

But "Allegiant" doesn't equal the similarly-themed (and better) "Hunger Games" franchise, even though both feature strong female characters, young romances and dystopian landscapes. For one thing, I miss Kate Winslet's character, who provided a deliciously sinister foil for our heroes in the previous movies. And there's not a lot of new character development in this movie.

There's still one more "Divergent" move coming up - "Ascendant," in theaters June 9, 2017. In that movie, Tris and Four fight to end the Bureau of Genetic Welfare's authoritarian reign over the United States. I'll be curious to see how the franchise ends, whether they follow the book a little closer, and if they can find enough material to fill up a whole movie.

PARENT OVERVIEW: Violence includes fist-fighting and gunshots, including some execution-style murders at close range. A few passionate kisses. A non-sexual shower scene shows silhouettes of male and female characters. Infrequent profanity includes a few uses of "s--t" and "ass," as well as insults.

PARENT DETAILS (May Contain Spoilers):

Violence/Gore: Not much blood is shown, but there's danger and peril throughout the movie. Characters die via gunshot wounds, including some execution-style murders at close range. Violence also includes hand-to-hand combat, vehicle crashes, and a gas unleashed on the population that erases peoples' memories.

Sex/Nudity: Several kisses, a few of them passionate. A male character tells his girlfriend, "I wish we could be alone." Brief, non-sexual shower scenes show silhouettes of Tris' back and then her whole figure, as well as Four's bare chest and back.

Profanity: A few uses of "s--t" and "ass," along with insults like "damaged," "ass kisser" and "stiff."

Drugs/Alcohol: None.

JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:

One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender.
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

By Jane Boursaw.  Jane Boursaw is the film critic and editor-in-chief of Reel Life With Jane. Contact her at jboursaw@charter.net. Images in this review used courtesy of the studio and distributor.

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Posted by: Jane Louise Boursaw| March 23, 2016
Keywords:  Famiy Movie Review
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