“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” Movie

imageWhen “The Maze Runner” movie trailer first came out, I thought it looked so cool and I really wanted to see it. I had heard of the books, but hadn’t read them yet. I decided to wait to read the books until after seeing the movie. (Usually, people are dissatisfied when they read a book and then watch the movie.) Yes, it was really different from the book, but I thought the movie was great.

After reading the first book, naturally I wanted to read the second. And I did. So, I had read the book before seeing the second film. Today, I finally saw the movie! It’s been practically a year since I’ve read the series, so luckily I don’t remember every detail, which means I could appreciate the movie more.

Here are a few reasons why I thought the movie rocked:
1. So. Much. Action. I mean, that’s Hollywood for you. Some people get annoyed that action scenes are so important in films, but, as a viewer, I must say these actions scenes capture my attention. Yes, I missed the more complicated parts of the book that made the gears turn wildly in my brain, but it is a film adaptation, so it adapted differently than the book–traded thinking for mind-numbing action. My heart was racing and I just wanted to yell at the screen, “Run for your life! Run! You can do it!” Toward the end, I thought I was watching a war play out on screen, which was basically the premise between the kids and WCKD.
2. Brenda and Jorge. The casting was so on point. I felt happily surprised when Jorge turned around and Giancarlo Esposito (Magic Mirror from OUAT or Tom Neville from “Revolution” ring a bell?) came up onscreen. I definitely did not imagine Jorge looking like that, but once I saw Giancarlo, I definitely approved. Bravo screen casters, and, of course, great job actors.
3. The outside world. The storms, the cranks, the devastated world in general, all came together for a dystopian society. Just like in the book. The dystopian genre really manages to captivate me and I was glad to see these elements come together in the movie to give the kids an awful time out in the Scorch.

Yet I did have some issues:
1. The Scorch. It is the SCORCH trials. Why the heck didn’t I hear anyone complain about the heat? The sun has major flare ups, which means the temperature is insanely high and the sun intensely bright. The book did a fantastic job describing this. The kids could barely get outside because their eyes had to adjust to the light outside and it was BURNING hot out there. So much for the scorch part of it.
2. Cranks. The film cranks were so far gone they were hardly humans anymore. That’s fine with me, except they only showed this version of the cranks, and when someone got infected and could hardly breathe. Cranks are crazies! Where was this version? I didn’t really like when someone got infected because it spread so quickly they barely had a day.
3. Rat Man. Janson, as he was referred to in the movie, the guy holding the kids captive after their return from the Glade, was almost perfect. I hated the character, just like I did in the book; the actor portrayed him wonderfully; and there was something…rat-like about his face. But I never heard Thomas or any of the Gladers call him Rat Man! Such a small detail I enjoyed from the book that spoke wonders for the complicated relationship between WCKD and the kids, which could’ve been easily incorporated into the film.

There are more aspects of the movie that I liked and disliked and some which were very similar or very different from the book. Some things changed, but I expected that. My boyfriend, who watched it with me, said, “I didn’t like it. I liked the first one better.” (He has not read the books by the way, which just goes to show books don’t always ruin the movie.) I agree and disagree with him — I liked the movie, and I also thought the first one was better. What was your opinion of the movie, regardless if you read the book or not?

Enlightening Read: “Shadow and Bone”

After hearing so much about Leigh Bardugo (whose book, “Six of Crows,” has just been released), I decided it was about time to start the Grisha trilogy.

imageSynopsis: Alina has grown up alongside of Mal, both orphans raised by the Duke’s generosity. Over the years, they’ve drifted apart; Mal a tracker and Alina a mapmaker. Alina never felt like she quite fit in. When she is sent across the Fold, Alina learns there is more power to her than meets the eye. Now, the most powerful individual, the Darkling, thrusts her into the world of Grisha life–a strange, yet beautiful facet of life with talented individuals–forcing Alina to live in the Little Palace. She learns from the best to harness her ability, but, just like there was more to Alina, there is more than meets the eye to the Darkling. Alina meets another side of him no one else has witnessed before, and he places the fate of Ravka on her shoulders.

The writing: superb. The characters: complex. The setting: marvelous. These all add up to make a captivating plot. Ravka, though a made-up place, definitely has Russian intones. I really loved the world she built. And because of Leigh’s great writing skills, I could imagine the place and people as if a film played in my mind. ┬áSpeaking of people, you think you know someone, but there are layers to these characters that emphasize why they act the way they do (e.g. Baghra & Mal) or delve deeper to uncover something new that changes the way readers look at them (e.g. the Darkling). My favorite character by far is Alina Starkov. She is so relatable, while at the same time I look up to her. She finds her own strength. And who doesn’t love a character that grows?

There was a lot of time spent in traveling and lessons, and though essential in Alina’s development, I wish we could’ve skipped a lot of it or (at least with the lessons) seen more of Alina learning than hearing about it.

This book teaches about life, love, and everything in between–with some magical Grisha that make the story all the more enjoyable to read. And I can tell the story is about to get much more interesting.

Leigh gets a 4.7 out 5 stars from me!