Monday, September 21, 2015

Maze Runner sequel surprises with zombies

Grade: B

Rating:  PG-13, 2 hours 9 minutes

In a Nutshell:  Zombies?  I didn’t know this movie had zombies!  The trailers did a great job of not revealing the story line and fun surprises in this sequel to the Maze Runner series.  It’s action-packed and leaves you wondering who is really on the right side. 

Although my friend, James Dashner, wrote the book that these films are based on, I embarrassingly admit that I’ve never read them.   Apparently, the sequel veers from the original source material quite a bit.  He and I did a book signing together many years ago when we were both nobodies.  While he has made it big time, I’m still a nobody.  (weak grin)  Here is a picture of us when we both were speakers at the LDStorymakers Conference several years ago.  I’m so happy for him and his success!

To see my movie review of the first Maze Runner movie, click here.

Uplifting Theme:
·         Run!
·         Friendship, loyalty, trust.

Things I liked:
·         The special effects were very good.  I’d like to see a director make a riveting movie out of one of my non-fiction books.  Ha ha
·         The cast does a great job.
·         The scale and scope are much larger than the first Maze Runner.
-     The sets, green screens, and backdrops are impressive.

Things I didn’t like:
·         There was way too much running around in the dark.  I had a hard time seeing what was going on, even on the big screen! 
·         The cliff-hanger at the end was pretty predictable.  Even some of the lines were predictable.  It was still entertaining though.
·         This is not a stand-alone film.  If you haven’t seen the first movie, you’ll be lost.
-     This film feels like it’s the bridge between two better films.
·         There weren’t any memorable funny lines.
·         My teenage son described the movie as “A bunch of Abercrombie & Fitch models running around in the desert.”  Kinda true.
·         You don’t learn much more about these teenagers, nor what’s really going on.  The plot wasn’t as deep as I had hoped.  One of the best questions dystopian movies should ask is what happens when civilization crumbles.  What morality is left?  We're still waiting for those answers after the final credits roll.
·         The film isn’t available on IMAX and PLF screens this time around, like the first one was.  The really big screens are being reserved in theaters for the opening weekend of the remake of Everest .

Things to look for:
·         You’ll miss it if you blink, but Teresa (played by Kaya Scodelario) puts a blanket over the broken glass when Thomas throws a chair through a window.   That’s a good emergency preparedness tip to remember in a survival situation!  It’s also what you should do if you’re trying to get over a jagged fence or barbed wire fence.
-      See if you can count how many times the teens pose.  It's almost as if every screen shot could be turned into a movie poster for tween fans.

Tips for Parents:
·         Thomas (played by Dylan O’Brien) flips the bird.
·         The zombies that chase the kids are pretty scary because they run FAST and climb anything, unlike the ones in the hit TV show The Walking Dead: Season 1 .
·         Some profanity, an icky vomit moment,  and a high body count, sometimes bloody.
·         Kids will love it because it features kids outsmarting adults. 
·         Thomas and Brenda spend some time in a dystopian kind of den of iniquity with a bunch of druggies and boozers.

To get prepared for the sequel, start with these:


 If you can't get enough, check out the prequel and more!


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