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April 1st, 2016

Movie Review - Allegiant

Allegiant

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Jeff Daniels, Zoë Kravitz, Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Daniel Dae Kim, Maggie Q, and many, many more.

Directed by: Robert Schwentke Screenplay by: Noah Oppenheim, Adam Cooper, and Bill Collage Based on the novels by: Veronica Roth Cinematography by: Florian Ballhaus Music by: Joseph Trapanese

Premise: Though Chicago has been freed from the tyranny of Jeanine's rule, all is not well. Johanna asks Tris to step in as a leader, but Tris has other things on her mind. She desperately wants to follow the message which played after the box was opened and go outside the wall. But it won't be easy - not when Evelyn has decided no one gets to go outside the wall. Tris will find a way. And when she does, matters beyond the wall won't be quite what she expects. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Shailene Woodley and Theo James bring forth good performances as their characters continue to evolve in this third installment of the Divergent Series. Jeff Daniels is smooth and deceptive as David. Ansel Elgort gets to show more of what he's made of as Caleb starts seeing the truth of things.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The special effects department truly outdid themselves on this one. Awesome little touches that took some of the effects to a new level.

First was the awesome work on the wasteland just outside the city. The color variations, the maze of half exposed warrens, the red rain falling from the sky; all making a truly unique tableau for the characters. The neat half leaning spires with rings (they looked super cool though we never do find out what they are!). The whole effect on the tainted area was rad.

Second was the creation sequence of the Tris' mother's memory area when Tris is submerged into it. The way things came together like falling strings and draping tarps looked fantastic. The destruction sequence of memories later on was pretty darn cool as well.

Third were the lovely Bureau of Genetics spires and later the city of Provenance. Some truly lovely work. The decontamination sequence was also really cool.

And they had so many awesome gadgets! The three disks, the wall of globes, the Director's ship - lots of new gear to love! :) And the visuals for the immersion of those using the spy globes was totally cool.

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I wasn't so sure I wanted to see this film, but since I'd seen the other two, we took the plunge. I'm glad I did, as the special effects were superb. The story didn't have as many issues as the previous films (if you don't look too hard), which helped a bit. And they actually tried to get the audience up to speed at the beginning - not just drop us off in the middle of the Ocean as they did for "Insurgent".

They did hold up figurative signs screaming of what was about to happen next a time or two. This tendency Hollywood has to have huge pauses right before they kill someone off is a trend I do not understand. The deaths aren't surprising if you stretch and stretch the moment as you figuratively jump up and down so we know it's coming. If you shine such a bright light on it - we won't be surprised! Just disgusted. Duh.

A ton of questions are not answered. David speaks of how everyone must make sacrifices, as he points out the cramped quarters of the non-pure, but they never actually say why he needs all these people! (Or why a man who looks twenty, is in memories from 40 years before and looks the same, while David actually aged. For a while, I thought they might be using genetic material for clones, but nothing ever came up to explain the weirdness.)

I did like how they dressed Tris differently from the others once they were at the Bureau. Not only did it separate them by class, but it also made Tris start to resemble Jeanine.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: The film has a number of fights, explosions, and more. Some nice Four hand-to-hand combat. And the entire wall escape sequence looked great!

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: At the beginning of the film they do a gorgeous, slow sweep of Chicago to remind the audience of the devastation of old and the true state of the city as new scars now plague it's face. With the playing of the recording from the holographic projectors on several of the buildings, it made a great backdrop for giving the audience a quick reminder of what's been going on. Kudos!

As I stated in the special effects section - the regions outside the wall were awesome! We get some super cool overhead shots of the pockmarked surface and the weird discolorations of the ground and the stagnant pools and red creeks. Truly brought home the fact the Earth has seem some super bad times in the past.

All the view shots for the Bureau and Provenance showed both places beautifully. The central building of the Bureau is utterly fascinating!

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: Like I mentioned earlier, they did some nice subtle things with Tris' clothes for some nice subtext. They also did fabulous work on coloring the characters' hair and skin from the red rain.

The burn marks imprinted on one of the side character's face and neck were lovely. And the scars on Johanna were also well done. What I did not see, though, were deformities or sores or other issues on the faces of the people living in the fringes. Since that whole area is toxic, I would have expected more visible damage on the people living there - but they all actually looked rather healthy. :P

Conclusion: "Allegiant" makes up for a lot with the fabulous special effects and inventiveness brought to the third film in the series. Don't look too closely at the plot, and you should have a nice viewing experience. :)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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