Reviews – The Maze Runner Trilogy (2014-2018)

the-maze-runner-collection-566c0acd789bcOver the course of the last few weeks, I’ve watched and re-reviewed each film in the Maze Runner trilogy – and I wanted to wait to see the entire thing because I read the books and wanted to say something from the get-go, but had to wait until the end in order to see if they actually added it or not (they didn’t). Here’s the thing, this entire series is a very strange string of adaptations for one reason: they left out a major genre in the books….fantasy. The books really wouldn’t be what they were without the massively creative fantasy world that it is built upon, try to think of a Lord of the Rings trilogy without the elements of fantasy, or Back to the Future without time travel, it just doesn’t work.

To give you an idea of what goes on in the books, Thomas and Theresa can telepathically speak to one another; there are invisible vortexes; teleportation rings; black orbs that fall from the ceiling, engulf a person’s head, and decapitate them; and the monsters in the maze? They weren’t mechanical robot-like things. They were yet another fantasy-based creature of horror. The entire series is like this, so to take one major genre away from a genre-defining book series baffles me. I’m not one to compare due to this when it comes to the movies themselves, but I will say this – it is extremely unfortunate. If you get the change, check out the books, it’s an entirely different’ ballpark. Now…onto the reviews.

THE MAZE RUNNER (2014) – 81%

the-maze-runner-5402ff1a71c4c

This is the movie that focuses most on adapting the story the closest, but that unfortunately brought along a number of issues. It just didn’t have enough time to really get you acquainted with the world. The book had a lot of exploration of the different things found in the maze; why the gladers speak the way they do, what the actual verbiage means, etc. Instead, this is what you get: a lot of random wordy explanations right in the beginning that feels more like an obvious adaptation than a normal movie. That being said, it still felt really fresh and original, the action was really great, and we get an early look at how Dylan O’Brien is a severely underrated actor who seriously has the chops for what he does.

Wins: Writing

Title Maze Runner, The
Year 2014
Total Score 81
Watched 10-Apr-2018
Acting 1
Characters 2
Casting 2
Importance 1
Chemistry 2
PEOPLE SCORE 8
Dialogue 2
Balance 1
Story 1
Originality 2
Interesting 2
WRITING SCORE 8
Visuals 2
Directing 1
Editing 2
Advertisement 2
Music/Sound 1
BTS SCORE 8
Introduction 2
Inciting Incident 2
Obstacles 2
Climax 2
Falling Action 1
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE 9
Rewatchable 2
Fun 2
Impulse/Buy 2
Impulse/Talk 1
Sucks You In 1
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE 8
Specialty 1: Genres – Action
Specialty 1 Note:
Specialty 1 Rating 10
Specialty 2: Concept – Title Specific
Specialty 2 Note: Adaptation
Specialty 2 Rating 5
Specialty 3: Genres – Thriller
Specialty 3 Note:
Specialty 3 Rating 10
Specialty 4: Genres – Mystery
Specialty 4 Note:
Specialty 4 Rating 5
Halfway Decent 10
SPECIALTY SCORE 40
Genre Action, Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
Possible Awards Adaptation
Franchise Maze Runner
Total Score 81
Review # 1441

THE SCORCH TRIALS (2015) – 91%

maze-runner-scorch-trials-5649b7e18d7dc

Out of all of the films, I had the most fun with this film. We’re starting to branch things out, meet new characters, still be wowed and thrilled by what’s going on in front of us, as everything sort of just transitioned into World War Z out of nowhere. In the end, it’s a movie that still feels super fresh and original, feels much more like an actual movie than an adaptation, O’Brien is still kicking butt, and without a doubt, the action sequences in this film knock the tail out of the others, with the exception of the opening sequence in The Death Cure.

Wins: Entertainment, Exceeded expectations

Title Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Year 2015
Total Score 91
Watched 11-Apr-2018
Acting 1
Characters 2
Casting 2
Importance 1
Chemistry 2
PEOPLE SCORE 8
Dialogue 1
Balance 2
Story 1
Originality 1
Interesting 2
WRITING SCORE 7
Visuals 2
Directing 1
Editing 2
Advertisement 2
Music/Sound 1
BTS SCORE 8
Introduction 1
Inciting Incident 2
Obstacles 2
Climax 2
Falling Action 2
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE 9
Rewatchable 2
Fun 2
Impulse/Buy 2
Impulse/Talk 1
Sucks You In 2
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE 9
Specialty 1: Genres – Action
Specialty 1 Note:
Specialty 1 Rating 10
Specialty 2: Series – Franchise
Specialty 2 Note:
Specialty 2 Rating 10
Specialty 3: Series – Sequel
Specialty 3 Note:
Specialty 3 Rating 10
Specialty 4: Concept – Title Specific
Specialty 4 Note: Adaptation
Specialty 4 Rating 10
Halfway Decent 10
SPECIALTY SCORE 50
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Thriller
Possible Awards Adaptation, Sequel, Visuals
Franchise Maze Runner
Total Score 91
Review # 1442

THE DEATH CURE (2018) – 75%

maze-runner-the-death-cure-5a32a23247501

I am certainly bittersweet about The Death Cure as it’s the final film in the franchise. In a lot of different ways, this film knocks it out of the ballpark. That entire first sequence was incredible, everybody did a great job this time, not just O’Brien (even though they kinda had a bit of misplaced chemistry going on), and it does tell a final story. That being said, this is suddenly the most predictable and unoriginal movies of the bunch. It suddenly feels like a mismatch of other dystopian young adult films rolled into one and we ALL knew how it would end, which is exactly what happens. Not only that, but at this point in the game, it’s kind of all over the place and not quite as tightly balanced as the other two. When you have stuff like that, there usually tends to be a snowball effect causing other areas of the film to plummet, cause and effect.

Wins: People

Loses: Writing, BTS, Narrative Arc, Entertainment

Title Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Year 2018
Total Score 75
Watched 14-Apr-2018
Acting 2
Characters 2
Casting 2
Importance 2
Chemistry 1
PEOPLE SCORE 9
Dialogue 1
Balance
Story 1
Originality
Interesting 2
WRITING SCORE 4
Visuals 2
Directing
Editing 2
Advertisement 2
Music/Sound 1
BTS SCORE 7
Introduction 1
Inciting Incident 1
Obstacles 2
Climax 2
Falling Action 2
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE 8
Rewatchable 1
Fun 2
Impulse/Buy 2
Impulse/Talk 1
Sucks You In 1
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE 7
Specialty 1: Series – Franchise
Specialty 1 Note:
Specialty 1 Rating 5
Specialty 2: Series – Sequel
Specialty 2 Note:
Specialty 2 Rating 5
Specialty 3: Genres – Action
Specialty 3 Note:
Specialty 3 Rating 10
Specialty 4: Concept – Title Specific
Specialty 4 Note: Finality
Specialty 4 Rating 10
Halfway Decent 10
SPECIALTY SCORE 40
Genre Action, Science Fiction, Thriller
Possible Awards Disappointing, Adaptation, Sequel
Franchise Maze Runner
Total Score 75
Review # 1443
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