As “Twilight” demonstrated, just because something sells doesn’t mean it’s good. But in Hollywood, if it sold once, it’ll sell twice! Therefore, any “successful” novel will be adapted for film, with even successful “Twilight” fan-fiction adapted into awful movies.
Which brings us to “The Maze Runner” franchise, the red-headed stepchild of YA novel adaptations, far below “The Hunger Games” and even the “Divergent” series because at least the “separation-by-personality” idea is an interesting one; but the idea behind “The Maze Runner” is just plain dumb, despite its author James Dashner winning a Whitney Award for Best Youth Fiction for this:
Solar flares have scorched the earth, which razed cities and killed millions. Inexplicably, this devastation was followed by a plague called “The Flare” which killed millions more outright or turned them into zombified humans known as “Cranks.” Survivors of the apocalypse who are also immune to the ensuing disease are being experimented upon by a shadowy government body known as W.I.C.K.E.D. (don’t ask), to discover why/how they are immune. WCKD dreams up the dumbest, most elaborate, insanely expensive hi-tech way to test the survivors by bioengineering a paradise in which they live called The Glade, surrounded by a vast, 4-mile high, self-transformational concrete maze populated with genetically modified biomechanical murderous super-spiders called Grievers. WCKD miraculously does this without an economic system or workforce. It’s highly improbable for one such maze to exist; it’s intellectually insulting to learn there are multiple impossible structures. Gladers exploring the maze and running from the Grievers test their mettle while WCKD monitors their brainwaves from afar to asses who’s strongest among them, somehow correlating to their immunity.
All of that time, effort, resources and money which obviously doesn’t exist anymore anyway was spent on placing the hope for the human race in an overly elaborate experiment that can kill them.
T.S. Nowlin (“Phoenix Forgotten”) adapted “The Death Cure” screenplay, and he improved it to a certain extent, jettisoning other ridiculousnessas telepathy-inducing microchip trackers (not kidding). Bold choices abound which avoid an obvious love triangle, the boy doesn’t get the girl, and beloved characters eschew heroic deaths. But each multiple fake-out ending undermines earlier plot points, including the final hanging question in the closing moments.
“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” ultimately chokes on its own illogic , and 142 minutes of well-executed action sequences can’t save it.
MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE
Release Date: January 26, 2018
Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure
Runtime: 2 hrs. 22 min.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, some thematic elements, and for insulting your intelligence.