Maze Runner: The Death Cure Review


It’s been quite a while since I saw the Scorch Trials but I knew that someday I would finish this series. That time is now and the Death Cure actually isn’t a bad film. For the most part it’s actually pretty solid but ends up losing a lot of steam by the time it reaches the ending. There really isn’t much of humanity left to save either.

The film starts with an almost humorous action scene where the main characters steal an entire train, knock out all of the guards and then fly out of there. They are lucky that the guards can’t shoot straight or that they had no cameras active to see the obvious traps that were set out for them. This sort of plot hax will be around for a while so now is a good time to get used to it. The characters have now freed over 100 kids and are ready to sail off to a better tomorrow. The problem is that one of their friends from the first film is still captured. Thomas, Newt, and Frypan head off to find him before also being joined by Jorge and Brenda. They will have to break into the enemy stronghold to free him and will have to risk everything one last time. Can they do it?

There is certainly a lot of action here. We have constant gun fights and miscellaneous explosions occurring off screen. There is even a hand to hand fight near the end. Naturally these kids aren’t exactly master martial arts so it’s really just both sides throwing a lot of punches as opposed to a lot of crispy choreography. The climax is really just one large war zone as the characters try to make it out in one piece.

The pacing isn’t bad either as things tend to move quickly. The heroes are rarely given a chance to rest and so the film is moving a lot as well. I can’t say the writing was all that good though as characters constantly sound like they are in a horror movie with all the needless yelling. The character cast also isn’t amazing and I had some issues with the ending. To explain why the ending is no ot that good without spoilers is a little tricky, but here goes. The whole film series is really about choosing a side. Is the government right for sacrificing around 50 kids to save the human population or should the kids simply escape but also soon humanity along with them? Well the choice was taken out of your hands early on as the government is unnecessarily cruel the whole time. They even go so far as to attempt to destroy one of the kids when harnessing his blood slowly would have been safer and could have saved more people. It’s also worth noting that their cures keep failing so they are gambling the kids lives on just a hunch. Then in the ending we basically realize that all hope is lost. Unless there is yet another lost city in the middle of nowhere but that would be super convenient. It means that the whole trilogy was ultimately pointless for most of the human race.

As I mentioned earlier there is also quite a lot of plot hax to be found here. The villains constantly seem to be on the losing side when they should have this in the bag. The amount of times they yell “freeze” is almost funny because the heroes absolutely never listen and it always results in the villains losing once again. The scene where the bus is surrounded is the worst part as they just watch one of the characters clip it to a construction crane and lift the bus out of there. They probably should have fired their guns.

Thomas is the main character and he is definitely no good. He is said to be a very forgiving character multiple times in the film to the point where he is ready to quickly forgive Teresa after she betrayed the heroes and took a role in torturing one of his friends. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that he forgives everyone but Thomas isn’t consistent about that. We’ve also got a kid who was mind controlled and forced into destroying another kid. The guy seemingly died but now he has returned and Thomas absolutely won’t forgive him. So really, it’s not that he is a forgiving person by nature, he just likes Teresa so he is willing to overlook her faults. He doesn’t handle the romance situation very well either and tends to not make very good commands as the leader. He’s just not a guy that you would want to follow into battle. Especially since he is always admitting that he has no idea what they are even doing.

Then we have Teresa who does not regret turning evil. That should mean she will be portrayed as a villain right? Well surprisingly the film actually tries to make her a little sympathetic with the classic the Ends Justify the Means line of thinking. That didn’t fly back in the day and it still doesn’t. She is on the wrong side and the film did a poor job of trying to show her switch sides or even making her cause look legitimate. As such the character was just pretty bad the whole time. The same goes for her Boss who spends the first two films capturing the kids and putting them in painful experiments. Now she is finally having second thoughts and it’s just way too late for that.

The only good villain is the main chief of security, Janson. He is sticking to his guns literally in this film as he shots quite a few characters and also knows how to fight. I mean, he’s not a great fighter as he can barely go even with Thomas but I suppose it’s a start at the very least. Janson also knows when it’s time to pull back and just win with a gun instead. His demise seems a little hard to buy since he would have known the room better than anyone and what it would take to break the glass though.

Newt was a solid character. He always does his best to support Thomas while also calling him out when the lead starts to act fishy. He has been infected for a while but manages to keep it quiet so as not to distract from the mission. Newt does have his typical blow up moment at Thomas which comes off as rather forced but that’s really his only iffy scene. Then we have the ex bully who still calls Thomas greeny. Honestly I barely remember the character at all so he may as well be a new character in this one. He is the commander of the resistance (How’d that happen?) aside from one old man who is consulted at times. He doesn’t tend to panic as much as the others and saves the leads quite a few times so at the very least he was really good in this film. More prepared than the others at the very least.

One scene that will really stick with you is when the main characters walk into a dark tunnel and are basically unarmed. Even if there wasn’t an army of zombies down there, what could they have possibly done against the villains in such a state? You have to bring a ton of ammo at the very least or some kind of plan. The heroes had neither and would have been doomed several times if they hadn’t kept getting saved. The whole film you are reminded of this as the heroes are just out of their depth for the majority of the movie.

Overall, The Death Cure isn’t a bad action film. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and the series ends on a fairly good note. The ending is a little more hopeless than I would have liked and a certain death didn’t really need to happen since things were so bad already. It also didn’t help Thomas much either since at the very end he writes someone’s name down which basically proves his allegiance once more. If you want to see a film with a lot of action scenes then this is the place to go, but don’t expect it to be the kind of film that you will never forget.

Overall 6/10

Maximum Ride Review


Maximum Ride may have been a really popular book series back in its hay day, but that doesn’t mean that it was destined to get a big budget film. On the contrary, the film got a really low budget title instead. The effects in this feature look worse than some fan made projects that I’ve seen and I’d expect a lot more out of it. Parts of the film show glimpses of hope and potential, but on the whole it is simply not a great adaption. Ah well, maybe it’s for the best that it ended here since an adaption of the last few books would have been dicey even with a big budget. Hopefully the inevitable Daniel X Netflix pilot gets a higher budget.

The film starts off with Max and the rest of her flock. She is a human who has had wings grafted onto her and the same applies to her friends. They escaped from the villains thanks to the help of a scientist there. It’s been many years and the scientist never returned for them. He is either dead or imprisoned. Max and her flock have been hiding at a hut during this time, but the Erasers (Wolf hybrids that were created by the villains) show up one day and kidnap Angel. (The youngest of the group) Max and Fang (The “tough” rival) decide to go after her while they leave the little kid, the blind one, and the fashion girl to fend for themselves. Is this a wise move? Probably not, but Max has to save Angel as soon as possible. The clock is ticking after all.

This movie definitely doesn’t bother to explain a whole lot to the viewers, but that’s okay. It gave you enough to make piecing the puzzle together pretty easy. It gets right to the plot, but unfortunately it isn’t executed well. Maximum herself is one of the big issues here. Now, the film did do a good job of casting her so that she actually looks like my interpretation of Max as opposed to the manga. (Worst design for Maximum ever) That’s where the positives end for her. She talks a really good game and is constantly making threats, but always ends up losing. She loses in one hit to a minion and then loses to an ordinary guy with a gun. She even loses to Ari when they meet up. It makes her confidence seem very hollow and undeserved. Max is definitely a lot more reasonable than the other characters, but that’s a very small consolation when you are still losing left and right.

The other characters are mostly just around to make bad decisions. Nudge is more interested in fashion than in keeping up with the others. She nearly jeopardizes everyone’s safety over a sweater and also takes the time to browse while Angel is in trouble. I certainly couldn’t sympathize with her at all. Gazzy likes explosives and messing around with them even after being told not too. He’s essentially your average kid and isn’t all that likable as a result. Iggy isn’t a bad character, but being blind is his only personality. Beyond that, he’s just an everyday guy who can talk a decently tough game, but doesn’t do a whole lot beyond that.

Ari is the main villain of this film or at least the guy with the biggest role. He’s a minion who has a personal grudge against Max. He snarls a lot and makes faces to be intimidating, but I can’t say that the act was all that convincing. It was hard to ever respect him as a villain either since he came across as really petty. He just got jealous of Max and that’s why he decided to become a villain. Certainly not the best reason eh? Jeb shows up and acts as shady as possible. I never trusted this guy from the start and I’d advise you to do the same. No matter what his reasons are, he did leave the heroes alone for years and didn’t seem all that broken up about it. Yeah…the guy seems suspect to say the least. I never liked him in the books either though.

Fang was horribly miscast, but ignoring that…he’s just not a good character. His romance feels very artificial and he always gives Max bad advice. Telling her not to help people and to actively just ignore trouble is something you’d expect a villain to say. It’s hard for Fang to get past this and he comes off as very self centered. Finally, there’s Angel. She’s not nearly as shady as in the books (yet) so she’s a good character. I do question how she was captured so easily when mind reading is her own gimmick. I mean…..it just didn’t make sense. She could even hear the thoughts while she was still far away from the villains. Naturally, the movie cut away so you couldn’t see what happened next since nobody would have believed it otherwise.

I’ll give the film some props for the dynamic opening credits. It sounded like something out of a video game adaption or a Tron kind of movie. Was it totally fitting for this film? No, but it should have been. How I see it, a good novel adaption can be mainstream like Harry Potter or it can be more of a niche product that aims at the hardcore fans. The theme fits the latter and I feel like the film was going for that, the execution just wasn’t there. There wasn’t much of a soundtrack otherwise and the writing is pretty generic.

One noticable issue is the bad special effects. It’s not as if special effects is a huge deal, but they are so painfully bad that you have to wonder who was handling this. I’ve seen fan projects with better effects or at least flashier ones at any rate. Whenever the characters fly around, it looks like they’re just jumping in front of a background as if we’re back in the 60s. It was scary just how unrealistic it all looked. I’m sure the film tried its best, but the result just wasn’t very good. If the effects were gonna be bad anyway, then I would have liked to have had some big fight scenes along the way. Not having any real action in the whole film is a bit of a let down. The film’s not all that bad as a drama adventure I suppose, but it’s hard to take the heroes so seriously when they’re this weak. If they can’t even beat a thug with a gun, then how can they hope to stop this whole organization? You really have to stretch your disbelief with this.

The heroes also take a little long to get to Angel. While she’s being repeatedly zapped, they’re busy getting knocked out, spending time at a hospital, and flirting instead of going full steam. It made them seem a little unemotional when they should have been going full blast constantly. Naturally, Fang kept saying that they should take a break and rest since that’s all he’s good for during the film.

Overall, Maximum Ride isn’t a really good adaption. The heroes are too weak and all of the villains are as generic as can be. Considering how young Angel is, it’s also a little grating to see her getting zapped over and over again as she waits for the heroes. The cliffhanger for the possible sequel is definitely not much of a draw either. The dream came out of nowhere and didn’t really help much. My final pet peeve is the opening scene as well as when it comes in at the end. Max jumps off of a cliff to escape the villains. It’s a dramatic moment and I figured it wouldshow her taking out the wings and flying off. It didn’t happen either times so I’ll assume she just died in the dream world. Maybe the budget ran out, but everything in the scene pointed towards her being ready to fly and it just didn’t happen. It was fitting I suppose.

Overall 4/10

The Giver Review

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The Giver is a film that I definitely heard a lot as I frequented the world. The poster was just about everywhere, but it was not very informative so I never had any idea on what the plot was. Eventually, I finally saw the film and it’s certainly a pretty good one. I think that the plot works better as a TV show or a movie series, but if it had been the former I may not have seen it anyway…so it’s a mixed bag. Nonetheless, it’s good to see a film with an original plot like this one since that’s pretty rare nowadays.

It is the year 20XX and….well, I guess you can just pick a year. Humanity has erected a…would this count as a spoiler? Hmmmm……all right folks, watch out for spoilers! This probably counts, but it needs to be mentioned…anyway, back to where I started. Humanity has erected a large barricade that stands at the edge of their territory and nobody is allowed to go anywhere near it. It is what keeps them safe by eliminating all emotions and creative thinking. Humanity lives with their assigned roles right now and they don’t know what happiness and sadness are. It’s a world without fault, but without positives as well. That’s where Jonas comes in. He has been selected to be the Taker and the government may have taken too much of a risk here. Jonas’ job is to inherit the memories of humanity, but with these memories comes emotion, color….life! Will he really be content with keeping things at the status quo or will he decide to revolt…like so many figures in history?

This is definitely a very fascinating concept and it’s one that’s fun to think about. The lines aren’t so clearly divided into good and evil here as you can make a decent case for both. The case for why humans should have free will and emotions is a little more obvious so I will be brief on that. Living without free will is like not living at all and emotionlessly just accepting your fate is terrible. You are essentially told that you will be a mother at home or you will work in nursery for the women and the guys are thrown into a random job with no prior preparation or experience. They won’t like the job either, but at least they won’t dislike it right? No matter how you look at it, this existence wouldn’t be great and it’s also logically impossible. Of course, we’re ignoring that tidbit, but it’s unimaginable to not be able to see in color and not understand universals and emotion.

Scientifically speaking, I’m sure that it’s possible to remove the part of the eye rather painlessly that lets us see color on everyone. Removing emotions through a serum injection is certainly more sketchy. Also, you have to have the shot every day for it to actually work. Would the “rebels” really not “slip up” once or twice and then realize that something was amiss? Of course, this is ultimately still science fiction so trying to rationalize everything may not be very rational if you really think about it. I’ll just take this at face value for now.

Now, why would this be a good thing? Well, let’s start off with two of the big obstacles in the real. (“In the Real is a term used in Accel World to distinguish the real world from cool cyber worlds and I rather like the term so I may use it once in a while…for style!) World Hunger and Murder. These two things have been eliminated from the Earth entirely.* (*Unfortunately, babies are murdered every day in this world to keep the population stable, but they are simply “released” as far as the people know. They don’t know what death is and just believe that the person is gone…interesting. These guys better have perfect health tech or there will be unexpected releases sometimes…) Nobody wants to harm other people and billions of tragedies would simply never happen. If you’ve ever turned on the news you’ll know that millions suffer with every passing second. There is none of that here so that is an overwhelming positive that you simply cannot afford to ignore.

I think the fact that they were essentially murdering their own citizens at the end was where the film clearly starts to point to why you should be rooting for Jonas. It’s a painless death and typically it is willing since they cannot feel emotions. This was a one time exception because of what Jonas has done, but it definitely makes the others look more like villains. I’m still on the free will side for many reasons with the main one being that it is really what makes us who we are. It’s certainly a fun debate to tackle with in your head.

Jonas is not a great main character though. I just don’t like him and I felt like the writers were trying to make him a little too…over reactive. He was sort of showing us how we should be reacting to every scene and he didn’t seem to have any actual personality. He has a good excuse at first of course, but I still didn’t like him by the end. I felt like he really pushed his emotions onto Fiona. She didn’t know what romance is so she really couldn’t comprehend what was happening. Jonas had liked her from the start so it was different. It was just a romance that I really couldn’t get into and think that it was very unnecessary. It’s a sub plot that I definitely could have done without and it cost the film a star.

Fiona is actually a pretty good character as she stands by her friends (Unlike Asher) from start to finish. She is always looking out for Jonas and she risks her career and future to help him when the main hero is in a pinch. I do think that the romance was unnecessary, but this is one time where at least 90% of the blame should go to Jonas. Learning emotions for the first time can be a rather confusing experience after all. I imagine that it’s like trying to play a video game for the first time without a manual and holding the controller upside down. Now that would be confusing!

Is it just me or did the film try to make Jonas’ mother extremely antagonistic from the start? She would literally correct him every time he spoke and she seemed to almost despise him. Keep in mind that none of these characters actually have emotions. They demonstrate them a lot, but I guess that just shows that no serum can be 100% effective. The dad is more tempered and he seems to know more than he lets on, but that sub plot vanishes when he decides to go through with the releasing ceremony. He definitely didn’t know what that meant so maybe he just acted smarter than he was.

Asher is Jonas’ other friend and he definitely wasn’t good. Of course, he’s made to be unlikable since he represents the average person who quickly loses sight of all his aspirations and goals as he just follows what the government does without any questions. He has his big moment where he gets to try and stop Jonas, but let’s just say that he’s outmatched. None of the character even know what a fight is so they definitely can’t comprehend that the best way to stop an incoming punch is to parry or punch back.

The Chief Justice is another intriguing character since she has clearly been through a lot, but that isn’t really explained. We are left to guess and we are given pieces to the puzzle. We know that her heir suffered an untimely fate and it helped her to despise emotions, but then we have to wonder just how long ago the barrier was put up. I would guess that it was only recently from that (Last 20 years maybe) but other parts of the film hint that it’s been like this for many decades. It also makes sense since a big change like that could definitely not occur in such a short amount of time. She definitely has a lot of determination to help her keep things the way that they have been while her counterpart…The Giver has other ideas.

The Giver is the original keeper of the memories, but he doesn’t do a whole lot with his position. He could give everyone back their memories if he makes it past the barricade, but he’s old and he worries about what will happen to the town now if he should be away from it. Unfortunately, he’s a little sloppy and memories that he didn’t want to be shared are given pretty soon. He makes this mistake twice, which isn’t great for him. He’s ot a bad character, but I guess he’s not that good. He could have certainly done a better job during the memory transfers with Jonas and with his former pupil as well.

Now, I have mentioned that I think this plot would work better as a whole show or series. The reason why is mainly illustrated in the ending. After the barricade is breached…the film just ends. You can imagine that the world will quickly be plunged into chaos and it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Will they go back to creating wars and become corrupt like the Chief Justice believes or will they unite and stand as one? The former is more likely, but it’s still an interesting situation to watch. Alternately, they also could have shown this emotionless world more so that we can really contrast it to natural life. Achieving all of this in about 90 minutes is a tough feat to be sure. I suppose that the concept itself is what’s important though and we can just put together the unseen pieces.

Overall, The Giver is a very interesting movie. As I mentioned, my main problem with it is the romance. I just found it distasteful and it certainly does impact how much you will enjoy the film. Beyond that, I definitely enjoyed it and the concept is certainly a winner. There isn’t really any action to be found besides a short scuffle and chase scene, but the writing is strong enough to hold the film together. I definitely recommend checking the film out since it will pose some nice philosophical questions for you to answer. I do think that the concept is a little too broad for a film, but I suppose that it did the best that it could. My stance on the ending is that most of the survivors were thrown inside of the barricade, but a few rebels managed to hide out in the outside world where they kept their memories and got to continue the human race as it used to be. That’s just my 2 cents on the ending so you’re free to speculate on it.

Overall 6/10