The Maze Runner Review

Let me start with saying that I watched the movie before I read the book.

That being said, I thought both the movie and the book were just okay. Let me start with the movie.

I was really excited to see this movie because I saw a few trailers and I heard some pretty good reviews on this movie.  I watched it with my sister after she had watched it maybe an hour before.  It was interesting and caught my attention but for the most part I was left with a bunch of unanswered questions and feeling that the movie had so much potential but fell flat of any expectation that I had.  Then I got to read the book.

The ONLY reason I watched the movie first was because the wait list for the book at the library was ridiculously long.  I was able to get on the wait list in October and didn’t actually receive the book until February.  Yeah, that was a lot of hype and waiting for a book that I thought was just okay bordering not that great.

My issues with the book: weird slang, no character development, slow paced, not so scary bad guys, things not tying up in the end, random unneeded elements that didn’t add to the story or help develop it in any way.  Let’s start with the weird slang.  Klunk, Shank, Shuck, Shuck-face… What?  The author has probably NOT walked through a middle school, high school, or even an elementary school recently because I knew most swear words by the time I was nine or ten.  This idea that these “kids” made up their own “swear” words was ridiculous especially since they used “bro” as well.  If you’ve been to a school recently and walked around and listened to what kids say in this day and age, you know what I’m talking about.

Character development was lacking.  I felt no attraction or connection to these kids, the main character, or anyone mentioned in this book and most of that was because their characters stayed pretty one dimensional.  The characters were pretty much the same from beginning to end and that wasn’t really a good thing for me because I felt no sense of loss when a character died.  For the most part, I could barely tell most of the non essential characters apart.

This book was sllloooooooowwwwwww.  For a book that goes on and on and on for 374 pages, not much happened.  When things finally started picking up, it felt as though the author rushed through the book to finish it as quickly as possible with as much information thrown in so that it seemed like it would be worth it in the end.  It wasn’t.  Another thing that added to the slowness was the lack of any information being told to the main character.  When he got to the maze, from the beginning to almost the end, they withheld almost any and all information that could and would be useful to know.  And for what reason?  No clue.  Would it have upset him to know what was going on?  Nope.  Guess that’s why we don’t let kids run society.

The bad guys ended up not being all that scary.  Gooey blobs of weirdness and mechanics that stabbed you with needles or killed you.  Figure it would be easy to make that seem scary.  I wasn’t too frightened.  I guess my version of scary would have been something else (for the movie I think they did a great job on making the things scary because they were not what I pictured when I read the book).  Also, the creators of the maze.  They were made out to be these scary horrible people but again when they finally met, they weren’t that scary or anything.  They just came off as people.

Things not tying up at the end is as self explanatory as I can get without ruining the book for someone. (And that isn’t what I want to do because I know A LOT of people that actually enjoyed this book. These are just my opinions and they will probably be different from person to person, so please don’t take my word for it and read it for yourself and draw your own opinions about the book)

Random unneeded things that made no sense whatsoever and didn’t have anything to do with the plot or development of the plot.  There is a major spoiler which I refuse to reveal but I will say that it made no sense and that it had nothing to do with the plot and seemed like it was thrown in to just wow readers.  It wasn’t needed and if the story didn’t have it the book would have been fine without it. (It also was something that wasn’t in the movie if that helps you figure out what it is)

ANYWAY, that was a long rant about what I had issues with.  Like I said before, these are just my personal opinions.  I didn’t enjoy this book and I think the hype about it had something to do with it.  It was an okay read, but not something that I would pick up and buy.  I urge you to pick this up and read it because your opinions may be totally different from my own.  For the most part, I have only heard good things about this book and I seem to be the odd man out about my opinions, so if you haven’t read it yet go pick it up and form your own opinions.  I think that reading is one of the best things you could ever do no matter what it is you’re reading.

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Interstellar Review

Sorry I haven’t been posting anything for a while.  I was having issues with my computer and wasn’t really able to even log on.

A few weeks ago, I was able to see Interstellar and I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  This movie is a drama about Earth losing most of its food resources and having to find a new planet to live on.  NASA enlists the help of a former pilot and a few others to search out three different worlds that have suddenly appeared from a black hole/rip in space.

I really enjoyed this movie.  I liked how everything connected in the end and how this movie, although slow, was very worth the watch.  This movie makes you think and connect ideas and although I am no scientist, I thought this movie was clever.  I didn’t like Anne Hathaway’s character but I thought that she acted it out very well.  Matthew McConaughey was alright.  He acted better than normal but I have no idea if that is much of an improvement (sorry that is my opinion).  Everyone else was just alright.

I recommend watching this movie and forming your opinions.

Paranorman Review

I am currently watching ParaNorman because it is part of the 13 days of Halloween.  I watched this in theaters when it first came out thinking it looked like a cute kids movie.  Boy, was I wrong.  This review has some spoilers.

Not saying that the movie was bad.  In fact, I’m saying the opposite.  ParaNorman reminded me off all the kids that are misunderstood.  The movie placed an emphasis on the fact that some people are treat very differently from others and they don’t always know how to take it.

For example, Noman is this kid that can see ghosts.  He lives in a house where he has no support from his father (his father wishes he was normal) and a mother that doesn’t know how to talk to either of them about it, and a teenage sister who obviously has other stuff on her mind than her little brothers mental health.  Norman has no friends because he is labelled the “weird” kid and he seems to not handle it very well.  However, his friend Neil, is this other misunderstood kid who is called names for being overweight.  He also lives in a weird family.  His older brother is obsessed with working out and is gay.  But with Neil, he is able to remain somewhat happy and doesn’t let bullies get the best of him.

Norman is supposed to take on the burden of trying to keep a “witch” from going nuts and rising from the dead and killing everyone for killing her first.  That’s a pretty big responsibility for a kid.  Norman gets some pretty unclear and vague instructions on what to do for this witch and all hell breaks loose.

Well sort of.  There are only a few zombies are running around the town causing havoc.  The zombies happen to be the people who tried the witch for being a witch.  They end up going into the town and being more afraid of people than the people are of the zombies.

Eventually, Norman finds out that the witch that they had tried had been a scared little girl with a special gift that she didn’t know how to control.  The towns people that tried the little girl were sorry and were trying to tell her that because they were never able to be fully put to rest.

Norman ends up finding the witch and telling her that she has become this monster that everyone made her out to be because she was mad at everyone and wanted them to pay.  The girl calms down and we see this girl that has been sad and lonely for a very long time.  Her soul finally at peace, Norman is finally starting to be accepted by his whole family and things look like they may end up being better.

However, this movie also had touches of depression that I wanted to talk about.  Things always seem impossible in life.  Things don’t always turn out how you want them to and sometimes it feels like the whole world is against you.  I urge you to not give up hope.  Although things may seem bad now, there is always someone who cares about you and wants to help you.  You may not even know that there is someone who cares about you.  So I urge you to reach out to others and to talk about your problems.  There are help lines you can call and people on social media who are always willing to talk and want to help those in need.  I am always willing to listen and help people with their problems.  Don’t give up hope, nothing is ever fully lost.

Battle Royale: Movie vs. Book

I recently read Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.  This book is very similar to The Hunger Games (Battle Royale came first) in that this book is about a middle school class that is forced to fight and kill one another until there is only one survivor.  The book and the movie start out in a fairly similar way.

There is a bus full of students on their way to a field trip and while they are all talking and what not, they all suddenly fall asleep.  The main character, Shuya, wakes up in a desk, slighly disoriented, and stares at his sleeping classmates around him.  Eventually they all wake up and there is slight pandemonium because they have no idea where they are or how they got there.  Their new “teacher”, Sakamochi, tells them that they have been chosen by the Republic of Greater East Asia (the dictatorship that rules Japan) to be the new class to compete in the Battle Royale.  He tells them all of the rules of this game which are: one student must be killed every 24 hours or else every one dies (collars explode), there are certain zones which become forbidden every 6 hours and if they are caught in these zones their collars explode, and there can only be one winner.

During this explanation of the rules, Sakamochi ends up killing two students and injuring one (Noriko the other main character).  Each student is given a bag which has food, water, a map of the island they are on, and a weapon of some sort.  Most of the students end up with guns, a few with knives, and a few with other special items like one studdent has a bullet proof vest another has poison, another has a pan etc.

Shuya and Noriko end up leaving the school together and try to unite the students, in vain, to not fight and to find a way off the island.  Throughout the book, Shuya tries to find his best friend Shinji and he runs into other students.  A few he kills in self defense and others he ends up getting them killed by distracting them from another student.  They end up with Shogo, a random student who had just transferred into their class, and he tells them that if they stay with him throughout the game that at the end he has a way off the island.  Eventually he reveals that he had been in the games before and that he was the survivor of the games a year or so before.

Most of the students end up killing each other out of madness, fear, or just because they can.  Eventually the only students left are Shuya, Noriko, Shogo, and Kazuo.  While Shuya, Noriko, and Shogo were camping most of the game out, Kazuo was the notorious, ruthless killer who had killed most of the students on the island.  There is a huge gun fight between them and eventually Kazuo is killed.  Shogo fakes Shuya and Noriko’s deaths (the collars had a device in it that could hear what the students were saying even though the students other than Shogo didn’t know that.) and goes aboard the winners ship where Sakamochi grills Shogo about the time it took for Shuya and Noriko to “die”.  Shuya and Noriko end up taking out most of the boats sailors to save Shogo.  Shogo kills Sakamochi and teaches Shuya how to steer the boat before dying of his injuries from the gun fight.  Shuya and Noriko escape to the mainland where they become fugitives.

The movie is pretty different from the book.  The only scene that was pretty much the same was the lighthouse scene.  The book, of course, goes into greater detail about how most of the students were killed but even some of the main points weren’t in the movie.  I’m not saying the movie was bad it was just a bit different from the book.

Overall, I think that both the book and the movie were fantastic.  Each one was slightly different from the other, but the overall outcome was the same.  I think I liked the book slightly better if I had to compare the two against each other.  However I give both the book and the movie 10/10