From bookshelves to big screens

‘Maze Runner’ proves great stories survive the transition

Fans of James Dashner’s award winning book series, “The Maze Runner,” anxiously waited for Jan. 17, when the third and final movie adaptation of the series was released, “The Death Cure.” I was among them, but after seeing the first two movies, I was skeptical of how closely the producers would follow the book, since the first two movies in the series departed from the storyline.

The first movie in the trilogy, “The Maze Runner” strayed from the book while on the other hand, the second movie, “The Scorch Trials,” seemed like a completely different story. You could not tell this movie was modeled after a book at all, so fans had good reason to be unsure of how this last movie would be.

I am one who likes when movies actually follow the books they are modeled after.

It is heartbreaking to go into a movie after absolutely falling in love with the book only to see the movie totally rip your heart out because they completely changed the plot from the book.

If I had not read “The Death Cure” book prior to seeing the movie, I would have thought the movie was excellent. I even watched it with someone who had no prior knowledge of the book series, and they were able to understand what was happening and get invested in  the movie.

The directors really made the movie pull you in even if you had no attachment to the characters or previous movies.

But the movie was overall unimpressive. Yes, it told a good story, but it did not tell the actual story of “The Death Cure.” I did not completely hate the movie because I really had an attachment to the characters, so I was bound to at least tolerate the movie.

Although the movie did not follow the plot of the book at all, it still told an exciting story filled with adventure, love and loss.

— Margaret Malley

The directors most likely knew fans like me existed, which makes me wonder if that is why they crafted the movie how they did —  making it exciting and easy enough to follow for people who did not read the books but still good enough for long time fans to pay money to see.

Although the movie did not follow the plot of the book at all, it still told an exciting story filled with adventure, love and loss. The movie grabbed your attention right from the start, pulling you in with an intense action scene, and the action did not stop there.

One aspect I really liked about the movie was how real it seemed. The special effects were awesome and left me awestruck. They made what was on screen come to life. There are a lot of really intense scenes throughout the movie that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Dashner did a great job at making readers feel connected while reading his book series. He really plays with your emotions as you read. The directors did a similar thing, so many raw emotions were felt while watching this movie. There were a lot of tear jerking moments where it was far too difficult to hold back your feelings because the directors produced the movie in such a perfect way that it almost felt like the events happening on the screen were happening in real life right in front of you.

The ending of the movie was packed with action as the city around the characters was collapsing. Buildings were crumbling in vivid detail. Adrenaline was pumping while people were trying to steal the serum that would provide a cure from the Flare, a virus plaguing the population, away from the main character, Thomas. It was truly heartbreaking to see Thomas’ best friend, Newt die from the Flare only moments before Thomas found out that he could have saved him.

Although the ending was great, it could have avoided typical movie fallacies. There was the super cheesy kiss between Thomas and his love interest, Tessa. Then, when Thomas was rescued when a jet flew over to the top of building they were on, he was able to get onto the jet, but Teresa was not. Unfortunately, it looked like she made no effort at all to get on the jet, which detracted from the moment.

After we watched her tumble to the ground with the rest of the building, we see a little bit into the future where all of the people who survived the Flare gathered and began to start a new society. It is a very touching ending scene because Thomas finds a letter that Newt had wrote him before he died and that letter played as the movie came to an end.

Despite the changes in plot and the typical mistakes that are often made when adapting a book series to the big screen, “The Death Cure” serves as proof that truly good stories survive the transition because they are just that good.

The movie was exciting despite being nothing like the book. I guess a story this good cannot be completely ruined on screen.