When you see the word “commentary” you should probably read it as “rant.” Beware, this is not very organized but I just had to get some of my thoughts out.
I wasn´t planning on doing a movie review for Allegiant, but after watching it two nights ago, I decided I should at least comment on the second-to-last instalment of the Divergent saga. Mind you, I didn´t take notes at the cinema, nor watched the movie with the intention of doing a review, so this will be mostly about things that just kept nagging at me, and nagging, and nagging, until I sat my butt down to write it down.
First, I stepped into the dark, popcorn-scented screening room with the lowest of lowest expectations. Book to movie adaptations are never particularly accurate, but after the trailers and general discomfort when it came to the blockbuster-like adaptation of Insurgent, I sat down and waited, not indifferent, but definitely not as excited as I had been for Divergent.
After the latest trailer, I´d decided to separate the book series from the movies, so I could enjoy the latter without having an angry breakdown afterwards. I expected a different plotline, with different characters and different settings, and I was sort of right.
They added this whole new “city” with a Council or something, which supposedly controlled everything. I don´t really remember that from the book, but it´s alright, since it fit into the whole futuristic-and-over-technologic vibe they had going on. But, to be honest, I could not stop laughing at their flying ships because they looked very much like frogs. Huge, metal frogs. Everything was swirly, white and made of metal and glass, and at one point, Tris and her troupe get picked up and encased by these CGI-bloated bubbles, that reminded me of Meet The Robinsons. Also, you know how most dystopian movies with secret government facilities have a scene where some characters get “cleansed” and “decontaminated”? Allegiant has one. And it´s just weird.
I enjoyed the scene where they did a Hun-like maneuver (BAM! Mulan reference!), climbing the Wall as if they were running, and Tris did this thing where she flips over and falls straight down to get to the generator. Tris´ lines got me cringing all over, but at least some of what she did seemed like what the book-Tris would´ve done. But that´s the key word: some.
I loved that they didn´t take out the conflicts between the people in the airport hangar and the ones living in tents in the margins. Tris´ mom´s origin wasn´t forgotten either, which made me happy. The story has not been completely twisted and as a bonus, the movie has some nice costumes and really cool props.
So far, I can forgive all the faults. I don´t mind that they changed the scenery and even a little bit of the plot so it would make sense in the big screen, but the one thing that got me angry is that they changed the characters´ dynamics. No one messes with my babies.
My feelings towards the characters in the movie were very different from what I felt towards them in the book. It felt like Tris and Four switched roles, and that´s just a big no-no.
I remember very clearly that despite Four being the one joining with the rebels and Tris trusting David in the book, he became a big whiny person. He would not accept that he wasn´t divergent, that he wasn´t different, and he took that out on Tris and did some really crappy things, things that made him and Tris drift apart for a while. Tris stood her ground and stood up for what she believed in, eventually figuring out David, and I remember feeling so immensely proud of her. But in the movie, it was all the way around! Four was strong and intelligent, the one who discovered the truth beneath all of David´s lies and Tris was the flimsy one who was meek, who didn´t believe what big, strong Four told her. They made it seem like it was because of her that they fought and drifted apart, since she was apparently so gullible and made of paper.
They tried making it up to us with a few scenes where the real Tris showed up; there´s one where she delivers a speech in front of the council, or whatever they are, in favor of her people in Chicago. Another where she steals David´s ship and gets into a chase, while Christina and Caleb cling to each other in fright next to her. And also, there´s a scene where she drops into a dark hole and literally shoots through concrete to save Chicago. That´s Tris. Reckless, brave and very much her own person.
I absolutely hate that they switched Four and Tris´ roles and people left the theater liking Four better than our lovely, intelligent Tris. They made her submissive at some points, her stubbornness thrown out the window. Four had a more important part in the scheme of things than she did. I just…AARRRRGHHHH! I´m frustrated.
Overall, Allegiant was okay when viewed as just a movie, but it wasn´t a satisfying adaptation. It is only the first part, and it didn´t manage to get me excited for the next instalment. I could watch it or not and it would make no difference, because I´m not curious about it. I am going to watch it as a show of faith to a book series that I love, but that´s it.