• INTERVIEW: Friday, 1/12 - 4:00pm ET - Shoot the Messenger - Lucas Bryant
  • INTERVIEW: Wednesday, 1/17 - 2:00pm ET - Siren - Ian Verdun
  • INTERVIEW: Tuesday, 1/23 - 6:15pm ET - Bellevue - Shawn Doyle
  • INTERVIEW: Monday, 2/05 - 12:00pm ET - Bellevue - Adrienne Mitchell
  • INTERVIEW: Friday, 2/16 - 3:15pm ET - Shoot the Messenger - Elyse Levesque
  • CONFERENCE: Thursday, 3/01 - 3:00pm ET - Showtime at the Apollo - Steve Harvey

DVD Review: Maze Runner: The Death Cure - Out Now

Maze Runner: The Death CureMaze Runner: Death Cure is the third installment in the Maze Runner series, based on the book series of the same name by James Dashner. The films take place in a dystopian future where there is a deadly virus, the Flare, that has wiped out much of humanity as well as turned many of the infected into zombie-like killers called “Cranks.” The story follows the journey of Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien, and his friends as they try to escape the reach of the group W.C.K.D. and save humanity.

In the first film, the characters awake with no memory in a place called The Glade, where they are forced to survive and find their way out of a deadly ever-changing maze. After escaping they learn that that maze is part of an experiment from W.C.K.D. (the World Catastrophe Killzone Department), where scientists are using children, some of which are immune, to find the cure for a disease called the Flare.

Thomas is able to regain some of his memory and reveals that he and the one and only girl in the Glade, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), were originally scientists working for W.C.K.D.

The second film finds the teens in what they believe to be a facility safe from the reaches of W.C.K.D., but is actually run by them. They break out, running from the head of W.C.K.D., Janson (Aidan Gillen), and must make their way through “the scorch,” facing the infected Cranks along the way.

At one point, Teressa betrays her friends, calling W.C.K.D. as she is still loyal to them, and they attack and end up taking Minho (Ki Hong Lee). Teresa leaves with them voluntarily, while the other teens who escape meet with the resistance, the Right Arm, and learn that the only cure for the Flare is enzymes that the scientists get by harvesting them from the Immune. Thomas turns out to be immune himself.


Maze Runner: The Death CureThe third film, The Death Cure, picks up after some time has passed. Thomas and his friends have become part of the resistance as they continue to fight W.C.K.D. as they look for Minho.

In an fantastic opening, they are able to rescue a group of teens from a train, but save the wrong car, and Minho is nowhere to be found.

All-the-while, Janson is still hell-bent on capturing the rest of the teens, but knows that Thomas will come to them for his friend, and they will be ready.

Meanwhile, Teresa and the other scientists, while trying to find a cure for The Flare, are currently performing experiments on Minho, terrorizing him and making him believe he is back in the maze.

Thomas, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Frypan (Dexter Darden), Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) must leave on a dangerous journey to try to rescue their friend when they discover he is being held in what is said to be the Last City, surrounded by a wall. It won’t be easy, as not only do they have to worry about being caught by Janson and his men as they try to find a way through the heavily protected city and over the wall, but they also have Cranks to deal with, as well as the possibility that one of their own has become infected.

Going into Maze Runner: Death Cure, I had previously seen the other two films, but I did not do a rewatch before I started watching the third, and I’ve never read the books. I had forgotten quite a lot, but did, however, read up a bit on the events of the first two films. That being said, I feel that there is enough in the third installment for new viewers to get the gist of the film and understand what is going on. However, I really enjoyed all three of these movies and honestly wish I had rewatched. It’s not that I didn’t understand it, but the story is complex at times and there are some details, such as why W.C.K.D. needed the trials in the first place, and what exactly they took from the children in attempting a cure, that I was hazy on and I think knowing them may have enhanced my experience further. I suggest you at least become familiar with the story before viewing, but it is in no way a requirement, just my own personal opinion, as I’m always interested in the details.

Regardless, I had a very positive experience with Death Cure. It was, as expected, filled with action, adventure, and thrills like the other two. The script was excellent, and I was satisfied with the way the story unfolded and concluded. It was thrilling and at times also quite emotional, even if the ending was a bit predictable.

I appreciated the play of morality that builds up in the film. They did a good job of making you at times start to feel a bit sorry for some of the antagonists, with the whole “good of many versus the good of the few” idea. Obviously their actions were despicable and unforgivable, but you could see their desperation being out of options, and why they did what they did.

The characters were written well, and the acting was fantastic. Granted you have to have a bit of suspended disbelief that only a handful of teens and periodically an adult could pull off some of their heroics, but their bravery and drive is easy to see. I easily became invested in the characters once again. O’Brien carries the show with aplomb, and Brodie-Sangster as Newt was a standout as well for me.

The film has some terrific action/fight sequences, such as the train rescue, the bus chase, and the battles with Janson. They were choreographed and directed well.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure
The visuals, as on the previous films, were also excellent, from the environments to the tech.

There was also an unexpected returning character, as well as a new one. Walton Goggins plays the character of Lawrence. Not only were his makeup effects pretty spectacular, but his portrayal of Lawrence stood out as well.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed Maze Runner: The Death Cure. The film is based on young adult books, but as an adult, I still was entertained and easily was pulled into the narrative. Fans of the books and other films I feel will be satisfied by the conclusion for the most part. New viewers will also have a pleasurable experience, though I do recommend watching the first two if you can, but don’t let that be a deterring factor if you are unable to devote the time. I highly recommend buying Maze Runner: The Death Cure.

Special Features:

There are quite a good bit of features. Each has a choice for “play all,” or to play them one at a time.

Deleted & Extended Scenes - Included is the option to watch with or without commentary. Each is bookended by bits of the original scenes to tell where they would have been inserted. Some of them would have been nice additions; others really weren’t needed and were likely cut for time. Two of them gave clues ahead of time that two of the characters were infected.

I especially would have liked to have seen the “Freeway Jump/Trust Each Other” scenes added, as they actually showed them getting over the wall rather than just climbing onto the highway, and it gave more insight into Gally (Will Poulter)’s character and what happened to him since they left him in the Glades, how he met Lawrence, etc.

* No Symptoms/without Minho [3:18] - Jorge talks to Brenda about her health;
  she thinks she will eventually turn. / The boys talk about having looked for
  Minho for six months

* Running Out of Time [2:03] - While Teresa listens to Minho scream, Ava
  (Patricia Clarkson) talks to Janson about them running out of time to find a
  cure.
 
* Sewer Scene/Serum Vault [2:58] - In the sewer, Gally talks a bit about
  meeting Lawrence, and after, Thomas and Newt discuss if they should trust
  him. / Janson takes serum from the vault.

* Subway Tunnel [4:50] - Gally leads the boys to jump onto the subway tracks
  after the train is passed, and they have to run before the next train comes.
  Newt falls, and Gally pushes him down flat under the train to save him.
  Newt’s previously broken leg is mentioned, which is only talked about in
  another deleted scene.

* Freeway Jump/Trust Each Other [4:25] - After climbing up onto the freeway,
  Gally leads them to the end of the road, literally, and they run and jump across
  to grab onto the wall. / Gally tells them that he may not remember it, but he
  knows what he did, that he killed Chuck. He’s not asking for their forgiveness,
  but they need to put it behind them and trust each other if they want to get
  Minho back. He also briefly talks about Lawrence saving him.

* Newt’s Broken Leg [3:07] - Newt tells Thomas that when he first came to the
  Glade he couldn’t accept it, and he climbed up the highest wall and jumped
  from it, and he ended up breaking his leg. Minho came and took him back and
  never told anyone what really happened.

* Lawrence Camera Shutdown [1:36] - Lawrence’s group gets into W.C.K.D.’s
  system and takes control. Gally tries to contact him on the walkie, but he
  doesn’t answer. Gally assures the others he will still do his part.

* Preparing for Battle [1:18] - While the boys and Teresa enter W.C.K.D.,
  Lawrence’s men are getting ready to fight.

* Frypan’s Grand Entrance [1:04] - Brenda gets everyone out of the bus while
  Frypan comes down from the crane to meet them.

* Lawrence is Gone [1:30] - Brenda and Frypan return with the kids they
  rescued to Lawrence’s, only to discover that everyone and everything is gone.
  She radios Thomas and tells him that something’s up. She doesn’t know what,
  but she thinks that they need to get out of there.

* Teresa and Ava Wait [1:32] - It’s almost time to evacuate as they wait, hoping
  Thomas will come.


Maze Runner: The Death Cure


Unlocking the Cure:

 * The Final Run [6:03] - This feature focuses a lot on how the characters have
   evolved through the three movies and where they are at now. They talk about
   wanting to do the fans justice. Featured are Producer and Director Wes Ball
   and book author Dashner. The actors weigh in as well. Other topics are stunts,
   the scale of the third film, and more.

   Dashner also talks about Minho being his favorite, and that unlike most times
   for authors, the movies have made the story feel fresh, new, and surprising to
   him, and it’s been like experiencing the story for the first time again.

 * Dystopia: The Completed World [4:19] - The cast and crew talk about how
   the third movie has a distinct look. Production Designer Daniel T. Dorrance
   talks about designing the world. The actors talk about the impressive locations they
   shot in, like the Calahari Desert in South Africa. They talk about changing the
   look throughout the films from the concrete and overgrown, to the rust and
   sand, to the city streets of the third film.

   They also discuss wanting to make the wall surrounding the city, as well as the
   essence of the lab/facility, be similar in ways to the original maze.

   Also discussed is Lawrence’s lair, the rebel fighters’ base. Dorrance talks about
   using an old retail mall and creating the look of a world that no one’s seen
   before.

   Also touched on is the Berg and designing the look of it.

   Lastly, their Safe Haven on the beach is discussed, and the idea of not knowing
   where it exists in the world. Dorrance talks again about using a location in
   South Africa. The carving rock is also touched on.

 * Allies Reunited [5:27] - The cast and crew talk about the characters and
   actors growing up and how the cast has become like a family. The actors
   talk about how they love to dance and fool around on set.

   Gally’s return is discussed. Poulter talks about coming back and working with
   the cast again.

   Ball and Dashner talk about working with the cast, and the cast members
   talk about working with each other and that they will miss each other.

   Also discussed are some of the tragic moments of the film.

 * A Look Back: The Director’s Journey [5:54] - Dashner talks about being
   lucky to have the same director for all three films and what it was like
   working with Wes Ball and how exceptional he is. The cast also talk about working
   with Ball, his vision for the films, and how passionate he is.

   Ball himself talks about how he was hired based on a short film he put
   online. He also talks about how he approached the films.


Going Out on Top [4:33] - This feature is a behind the scenes look at filming the opening train heist. There are clips with the actors talking about it, as well as Ball, Dorrance, and Armorer Brian Wentzel. Some topics discussed are location, using real train cars, the actors going to the shooting range, and more.


Gag Reel [11:38] - The normal flubs and fooling around.


Maze Runner: The Death Cure


Visual Effects:

 * Visual Effects Breakdown - In addition to play all, there is an
   option for commentary.

  * Train Chase [11:07] - Multiple versions of the scene are shown together
    playing at the same time for comparison. Some of it shows the original
    location shots compared to those with added digital elements, while
    other parts compare the initial shots with green screen versus those
    from the completed film. Sometimes it’s just color alteration.
    Sometimes there is a comparison of three versions.

    It’s interesting to see what was added, and also to see what parts were
    actually physically there, such as certain pieces of the film where it was
    a real train.

  * Goodbye Teresa [5:38] - Again, versions are shown for comparison, this
    time as Thomas and Teresa attempt to escape the roof through the fire.
    Included is a digital version compared to a green screen version and to
    the final version, as well as some color comparison. The digitally
    enhanced versions add the buildings burning and crumbling in the
    background. Also shown is the window of the Berg with Esposito and the
    others shot over green screen compared with the final version. Teresa
    falling is also shown on green screen using wires.

    This comparison is fun to watch as well. Teresa falling into the fire as it
    was originally shot was especially interesting to see.

  * Visual Effects Reel [11:21] - This feature, which also has the commentary
    option, is similar to the breakdown, however rather than multiple versions
    running simultaneously, the scenes are shown with digital elements being
    added or taken away to show the difference. Some examples are the walls of
    the maze that Minho sees, the huge city being added and expanded from a
    real cityscape, bigger explosions, the removal of Lawrence’s nose, and more.
    The scene of the boys jumping out of the W.C.K.D building window into the
    pool is shown in multiple versions as more things are added.

    It’s cool to see how things were made, and often even more so to see the
    smaller things that you don’t notice or think about that were added, such as
    building signs and reflections.


Audio Commentary by Wes Ball, T.S. Nowlin, and Joe Hartwick Jr.


Gallery - There is the choice of auto-advance or manual.

* Wes’ Selects [8:59] - These include highly detailed artistic renderings, location
   photos, character renderings, and more. I especially appreciated the artistic
   renderings of Lawrence’s stage of the disease and other looks as the result of
   the Flare.

* Storyboards - There are three, and they include textual descriptions of the
   scenes.

*Train Rescue Sequence [16:36]

*Revised Train Rescue Sequence [3:40]

*Minho Jungle [0:35]


Theatrical Trailers [3:27] - Two are included.


Maze Runner: The Death Cure


Packaging:

The film I received was the blu-ray version and came packaged in the normal blue clamshell case. Included is a 24-page comic book, Origins, a printed ad for the book Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and the digital code for Movies Anywhere. There is also a code to unlock stickers via Snapchat.

The disc also contains a trailer for Children of Blood and Bone.


Final Thoughts:

All in all, it is a great set with plenty of bonus features. The best features in my opinion are showing how different scenes were created with added effects, as well as the deleted scenes.

I definitely recommend this movie to others.

The film is also available in 4K and on DVD.

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