Movie Adaptation: The Maze Runner

We finally went to see The Maze Runner this afternoon. This is probably my favorite of the big dystopian action trilogies, so I was pumped when I found out they were making a movie out of it. It’s so much different than the others–violence is not the main component. It’s rough in the Glade, sure. But the guys work together as a team, not to save their own skin. And yes, Dashner did include some females, but romance really doesn’t take much of a role. The goals are teamwork and problem solving and thinking outside the box. All really good things to have in a series about a broken world.

The movie did not disappoint. The casting, first of all, was dead on. I’m not even talking about Dylan O’Brien. He made a great Thomas, yeah. But can we talk about Blake Cooper? A more perfect Chuck could not exist in this world. He was sweet and chubby, just like he was supposed to be. And he had the balls he needed to have to back up the rest of the crew. He was one of those best friends every guy needs. I loved him.

Will Pouter as Gally–Yep. If you’ve read the book before you watch this, you know exactly who he is as soon as the box opens. He’s the absolute hard ass he needs to be. Done. Those eyebrows are scary, man.

And Newt? Um. I feel really dirty about much I liked watching Sam from Love Actually run around with leather packs and spears. Who told him he was allowed to grow up and be this fantastic actor? Couldn’t he at least look a LITTLE different than he did as a kid? All jokes aside, Thomas Brodie-Sangster was a perfect fit for the role, and he did a great job.

The landscaping and set up was really interesting. The maze looked amazing–so complex and industrial. The grievers were so freaking scary, and they really nailed the sound effects to go with them. Everything was right on pointe with how I had imagined it, only better.

I had listened to the soundtrack before seeing the movie, so I already knew it was brilliant. It was hard not to be revved up about it though…James Dashner had been talking about it for weeks on Twitter. If you thought John Green was an author excited about his movie–you should follow Dashner. That guy doesn’t stop. He’s absolutely giddy about this series coming out, and for very good reasons.

Movie Adaptation: This is Where I Leave You

When it’s my turn to choose the movie on date night, I will almost always pick a movie that originated in a book. And I will almost always read the book before I go to the theater. I don’t think I need an award for it, but I think you get way more out of a movie if you have read all the little details first.

And so, I’m going to start another segment on the blog that isn’t strictly book related, but I want to discuss the book-based movies that are popping up with regularity. I’ll mark them, so you know it’s not the book I’m referring to. I’ll post the differences, the similarities. Note that I’m writing this with the assumption that you’ve read the book….so these will contain spoilers. Still, I’ll post a spoiler alert at the top. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t read the post.

And, on we go.

 

I’ll be honest, when I saw the cast line up for This is Where I Leave You, I was displeased. My interpretation of the book was more dark and depressing than dramadey. Jason Batemen…ok. He can be awkward and dry, but I was skeptical. The entire time I was reading, I heard John Cusack in my head and it was going to be really hard to follow that up. He was the perfect image of awkwardly cute and sad in my mind. Batemen was just a little to…I dunno…clean?

Jane Fonda. Perfect mom. I wasn’t worried about her at all. That casting was dead on.

But then there was Tina Fey for Wendy. WHAT?! Noooooooooo. Wendy is not a funny character. She’s a depressed alcoholic with an asshole husband. Don’t get me wrong. I love Tina Fey. I think she’s a brilliant comedienne. But I just knew she was going to ruin this character. I wasn’t going to be able to take the movie seriously with her in that role. It was going to be awful.

I was so doubtful that I told my husband that I wanted to skip it and just wait until it came out to DVD. I really wanted to see Maze Runner last night.

But, we really wanted to try out the 21+ recliner theater last night, and Maze Runner is a young adult movie. So, we saw This instead. And I was way wrong. It was really great.

Now, it definitely is a dramadey. It’s not as depressing as I interpreted the book. But, it’s not, by any means, a romcom. There’s a lot of family turmoil in this movie, as you’d expect. And Tina Fey? She nails it.

I still don’t see Jason Batemen as my Judd, but he did a good job. I dug the beard.

They did really downplay Horry’s role, which I was upset about. He was much more of a part of the book, and he was almost background noise in the movie. He’s there, but you hardly see him.

Overall, though, I think this was a pretty good movie adaptation. Is it a good date movie? Maybe…if you’ve been together awhile. Not so much for a first or second. It’s a little hard on relationships. I probably won’t rush out to buy it, but might rent it on Redbox when it comes out.

The Eye of Minds

Let me say, first of all, that I am not a gamer. Unless you count N64 Goldeneye, and the occasional bout of Wii Mariocart. I don’t exactly possess a strong hand/eye coordination factor.

Plus, if I have free time, I’d much rather spend it behind a book than a controller.

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Because of this, I didn’t care much for James Dashner’s new series starter, The Eye of Minds. After reading The Maze Runner, I was psyched to see he had a new series beginning, but this one is definitely not my cup of tea. Coding and portals…that is not my language. And while I could picture the “coffins” (they were very Avataresque for me), I would personally NOT want to live in a video game for 90% of my life. Nope. No thanks. Again, if I’m going to live in an alternate reality, it’s going to be imagined, not virtual.

This was a skimmer, and the only reason I stuck with it for the whole of the book was because of the author. I kept hoping I would get hooked at some point, and that just never happened.

Bummer for me.

The Scorch Trials

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy Freaking Cow, you guys.

I thought The Maze Runner was intense. Then I read the sequel. This series is CRAZY. Hunger Games meets Divergent crazy. It really makes you think about what could happen when our society goes bonkers. Kids killing kids, psychotic madness. Adults controlling things in ways that should never ever happen.

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Be ready for a heart attack. And make sure you have lots of water because this book will make you feel REALLY dehydrated. You won’t want to put it down.

I can’t wait to get my hands on the third book, so I’ll let you know how that one goes. I’m sure it’ll be just as intense!

The Maze Runner

In my last post, I talked about my recent love for fantasy. Another genre that I’ve picked up on is Dystopian Fiction. It’s interesting–when I was growing up, the future still looked bright. We had The Jetsons, we had Back to the Future. Even Jurassic Park had some cool technology…even if it was horrifying.

What does the future look like in today’s Young Adult fiction? Let’s see…we’ve got The Hunger Games and Divergent. The Giver is making a comeback. And now, The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

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Holy Cow is this book scary! Think Lord of the Flies, only where the boys have absolutely no memory of the life before they came to the Maze. The world they live in is not a friendly one, but the society they’ve built is day-to-day functional. They are basically hamsters in a box, and they know it. Enter Thomas, whose very existence seems to shake everything up, but no one has any idea why. The Ending is coming.

While HG and Divergent were mostly feminine based, this is YA written for a male audience. I think it’s very successfully done, and I’m interested to see what the target audience does with it. The movie is coming out soon–which I’ll be honest, is why I picked it up–so we’ll be hearing about this a lot very soon. It’s following on the shirttails of the Divergent release too, so there are going to be some big comparisons.

It’s worth the quick read, at the very least to stay culturally relevant. It’s an exciting book, and definitely not a boring read. I’ll read the next two in line once my turn is up on the library holds list, but I won’t rush out and buy them.

Thoughts?