Alright, kids. Time to get back to these movie reviews! I’ve got these two and another pair that definitely need to be discussed. And so much coming out soon! This last month-and-a-half of the year is gonna be jam-packed with movie goodness. But I digress. It’s time to sing another Duet!
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Synopsis: “After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- The Gladers. I grew to like these characters in The Maze Runner, and it’s nice to revisit them in The Scorch Trials. Dylan O’Brien is a likable lead as Thomas, Thomas Brodie-Sangster is great as level-headed Newt, and Ki Hong Lee is a solid sidekick as brave Minho. I even thought Kaya Scodelario’s Teresa was more interesting this time around. (Granted, she was pretty dull in The Maze Runner…but still.) It’s easy to root for this bunch of characters as they grapple with challenge after challenge.
- The brave new world of the Scorch. It’s basically a vast desert filled with mysteries. And also zombies. Well, semi-zombies. Point is, it’s an interesting place, and very creepy in some parts—particularly during semi-zombie chases. And there are a few of those…
- The non-stop action. Seriously, from start to finish, this film is basically go, go, go. It definitely keeps you on your toes.
The Low Notes:
- Though the semi-zombies are creepy, they’re also pretty generic. This is especially disappointing because from what I understand, they are way different in the book. I haven’t gotten around to reading The Scorch Trials yet (just finished the first Maze Runner actually), but I saw the film with a friend who had. According to her, these things are way different and much more interesting in the book. Seems like a missed opportunity to me.
- It mostly feels like a setup for the third movie. It kind of made me think of Mockingjay – Part 1 in that respect (though Mockingjay was a much stronger film, in my opinion). A lot happens, I suppose, but little of it feels particularly significant to the Maze Runner series as a whole. Remember that friend I mentioned in the point above? She also said that this felt like a completely different story than the one she read. Frankly, I could sense that, and I haven’t even read the book. Probably not a good sign.
- It’s just…not as good as the first one. I found the first Maze Runner film really fun with a fascinating, Hunger-Games-meets-Lord-of-the-Flies vibe. This one just doesn’t have that. I realize it’s not necessarily supposed to because it’s an entirely different setting and story, but even so, I think it could’ve been a tad bit stronger.
The Staccato Version: Despite some of its more generic moments, I did enjoy The Scorch Trials. Not as much as The Maze Runner, no, but I did still enjoy it. In fact, I enjoyed it enough that I am pretty curious to see how the whole series comes to an end. It may not measure up to any of the Hunger Games films in terms of dystopian YA, but it’s still a decent amount of fun. If you’re curious, I say give it a rental.
My Grade: B
Synopsis: “70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin.” –www.imdb.com
The High Notes:
- Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway as 70-year-old intern Ben and fashion website mastermind Jules, respectively. The chemistry between these two is fantastic, and I love the pseudo father-daughter thing they have going on. The whole film basically depends on this relationship, but De Niro and Hathaway, being the pros that they are, make it look very natural and warm. It’s an uphill battle for them to become besties, making it all the more satisfying when they finally do.
- The light, fun humor. It’s not a gross, immature, offensive, or plain stupid comedy. It’s funny without going to those lengths. A sweeter comedy, I guess, but that certainly doesn’t make it any less fun.
- The pure, feel-goodness of it. I’ll admit that I’m not normally drawn to these types of movies. Any of you who have known me for a while know that I’m typically more up for the nerdy/scary stuff. But every now and then, a feel-good movie is just what the doctor ordered. The Intern is perfect for that.
The Low Notes:
- It’s definitely sugar-sweet. This didn’t really bother me so much, but it’s not going to be everyone’s thing. You probably know if you’re one of those people, so I’ll let you sort that out yourself. Haha.
- Is it just me or is Jules a little too forgiving? I’m not at liberty to say how or why she is too forgiving (because spoilers), but I found this character trait to be somewhat disappointing. I get why she reacts the way she does, sure. Still don’t like it though.
- For me, the ending was a little dissatisfying. It ended in a way that left me expecting more, and I was actually kind of shocked when the film just stopped. I don’t know. Maybe it’s a good thing that I wanted more? But it didn’t feel like a good kind of wanting more, so I’m gonna keep this point among the negatives.
The Staccato Version: The Intern is a sweet, funny film led by strong performances from De Niro and Hathaway. Is it a ground-breaking comedy? Probably not. But for what it is, I found it to be completely enjoyable. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I’m sure, but if it sounds like you might like it, definitely give it a go.
My Grade: A-