After an unanticipated three-year break between the second and the third installment in the franchise, “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” had a solid opening weekend with mixed reviews.
When the news was released in 2011 that the “Maze Runner” series was to become a movie franchise, fans of the books were excited to see the story come to life, but nervous for the changes that were bound to occur as with any book-to-movie adaptation.
Written by James Dashner, the “Maze Runner” series quickly became a New York Times Bestseller as the story follows Thomas, a teen thrust into a maze one must solve to escape and stay alive. Throughout the rest of the series, he and his friends from the maze, and others met along the way, are faced with trials given to them by WICKED, the World In Catastrophe Killzone Experiment Department. The movie franchise shortened this to WCKD, the World Catastrophe Killzone Department. This organization was created to find a cure for the Flare, a virus that turns humans into insane zombie-like creatures.
The previous movie, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” (2015), left off with WCKD’s abduction of some of the trial participants after Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) turned her back on her friends for the sake of finding the cure to the Flare.
“Maze Runner: The Death Cure” opens with Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) along with Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), Brenda (Rosa Salazar), Frypan (Dexter Darden) and Vince (Barry Pepper) attempting to rescue those abducted, most importantly, Minho (Ki Hong Lee).
After the moderately successful heist, Thomas, Newt, Frypan, Brenda, and Jorge embark on a trial to break into WCKD’s facility to rescue their friend and hopefully stop WCKD’s human trials in the process.
One of the best elements of the film was the soundtrack. Created by Joe Paesano, the music aided in expressing the emotions the actors were portraying. If information was about to be revealed, the music seemed to build as it led up to what was important for the audience to learn. It also dramatically supported every major death by creating the perfect atmosphere for loss.
The music also helped set the pace of the film, which could go fast at moments but had enough pauses that allowed the audience to understand everything that was transpiring. Because this was the third installment, the characters were very well developed and only aided in creating the pace of the movie.
The special effects were also believable. The cranks, another name for the infected humans, looked utterly sick and insane, yet still humanlike, which only made it scarier because, if not for the virus, they would still be humans with rational thoughts.
The setting was convincing and made the audience understand the world in which the characters were living. Dead grass, sand, and dirt contrasted with bright sunlight made the audience feel the heat of the increased temperature of the world. Dingy lanterns and lamps along with maps and papers strewn
around outside of WCKD versus the harsh blue lights and clean white walls inside of WCKD remind the audience of the differences between the resistors and the government.
For those looking for an accurate book-to-movie adaptation, expect disappointment. “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” very much follows the changes made in “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” of which there were plenty. In the book, the Scorch Trials were actual trials, with an endpoint for the teenagers. In the movie, they are an excuse to escape from Janson (Aidan Gillen), who will stop at nothing to get Thomas controlled. Where the books have Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) as an unseen mastermind of WICKED, the movies use her as the face of WCKD and the main reason why WCKD is still getting funds.
But, for those who weren’t completely happy with how the “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” book ended, the movie does offer an ending that the books do not provide; fans may just end up in tears.
Though this movie franchise caters more towards the young adult audience, any fan of the dystopian genre should check out this trilogy. It is a gift that this third movie was even finished as the actor portraying Thomas, Dylan O’Brien, had been injured and hospitalized while filming, pushing the movie’s release an extra year.
Overall 4.5 paws!