The DUFF & The Scorch Trials Movie Reviews 

Welcome to my “Young Adult Movie Adaptation Review Special“! I read one of these books (the movie was awful) and didn’t read the other book (the movie was surprisingly fun). Let’s see which was which…

The DUFF (2015)

Directed by Ari Sandel

Based on The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Starring: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Nick Eversman, Skyler Samuels, Bianca A. Santos

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF – Designated Ugly Fat Friend – by her prettier, more popular counterparts.

My Opinion:

Even at my advanced age, I still enjoy a good teen comedy. Obviously, nothing will ever compare to my 80’s John Hughes classics but there have been a couple post-1989 ones that haven’t been too bad (Clueless, American Pie, etc). But the majority are bad and full of hateful teens (like in stuff such as Project X and, sadly, Dope – a movie I was hoping to love). However, The DUFF is easily one of the better ones I’ve seen from this genre in a long time & I really enjoyed it.

Mae Whitman (the voice of Tinker Bell in all those Tinker Bell movies! You’ll know them well if you have a daughter 😉 ) plays the DUFF, aka the “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”. I liked her in the fantastic The Perks Of Being A Wallflower and she’s a lot of fun in this & totally relatable as a “real world girl”. I hate saying that as it sounds so rude but, yeah – unlike the girls in all other Hollywood movies, she looks like a normal person. Hollywood movie girls are too ridiculously attractive and it sets a bad example (especially in teen movies).

Whitman’s two best friends in this are of the unrealistic ridiculously attractive variety but I suppose they were trying to make her look less attractive in comparison. But, anyway! That’s not entirely relevant as this movie isn’t really trying to make as big of a statement on superficiality as I was expecting. Whitman’s character is, at first, entirely content with how she looks & dresses – she only changes when someone calls her a “DUFF”. So I guess the main message is more about how we treat people but there’s a bit of a moral about accepting yourself the way you are.

Anyway… Forget I said all that! This isn’t some annoying teen movie that thinks it has an important message or something – it’s just a lighthearted comedy & actually quite funny compared to a lot of current teen flicks. The humor is a tad on the raunchy side (fine by me) so this is probably aimed more at the mid to late-teen age range. Although certainly not at the same level as something like Heathers (nothing is!), The DUFF is smart & sassy like a lot of the 80’s teen classics. Hopefully more teen movies go in the same direction as this one since I’ll probably still be watching this genre when I’m 90.

My Rating: 7/10

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

Directed by Wes Ball

Based on The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, Patricia Clarkson

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot of The Scorch Trials takes place immediately after the previous installment, with Thomas (O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers battling the powerful World Catastrophe Killzone Department (W.C.K.D., or WICKED), while facing the perils of the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with dangerous obstacles.

My Opinion:

WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?!?!?! I’m so damn confused by this movie! I’ve read The Maze Runner trilogy (I did a recap & review of the final book HERE last week) and, although I have some major issues with it and it often annoyed the hell out of me, I thought it was a decent enough story overall. I read the books after seeing the first film, which I found quite enjoyable (much more enjoyable than the books, actually). So I finally watched The Scorch Trials after finishing the books. IT BARELY EVEN RESEMBLES THE BOOK!!! ??? Why ???

I would assume that books can be quite hard to adapt into films, especially long books that must be reduced to a roughly two-hour running time. The Scorch Trials isn’t a long book, however. Plus, the first movie was faithful to the book so it’s even more confusing that they’ve decided to take things in such a different direction in the sequel. I’m not overly bothered about a 100% faithful adaptation as I know things sometimes need slight changing or need to be left out due to running time. As long as there are no major changes that completely mess with the storyline, characters’ intentions/personalities, or the overall themes, I’m fine with them.

Well, The Scorch Trials has major changes. No, wait – that’s not exactly right as you can’t even really call them changes… It has completely new stuff added in. It’s so drastically different that it feels like the screenwriter(s) didn’t even read the book & instead based the story on its back cover synopsis or on some weird ass “Chinese whispers” version of the story.

You know what? I don’t care. I’m not going to waste my time reviewing this. It lost my interest after it started going so completely off the rails that I went & did other things around the house while it kept playing in the background. I’m not sure what the hell was going on. After this movie, I’m not going to bother with the next one since I sure as shit can’t be bothered to re-watch this one to figure out what the hell was going on. BAH! What a stupid waste of time. Either be faithful to a book or, if that fails, don’t follow it AT ALL & just steal the name (like World War Z). At least I knew beforehand with that one that they ignored the book….

My Rating: 4.5/10 (Not lower than that since I guess I still like the characters and think Dylan O’Brien & Thomas Brodie-Sangster are good in these films)

Advertisements

Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy (2014) Review

20140223-025223 am.jpg
Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy (2014)

Directed by Peggy Holmes

Starring Voice Actors:
Mae Whitman
Tom Hiddleston
Christina Hendricks
Megan Hilty
Lucy Liu
Raven-Symoné
Anjelica Huston
Carlos Ponce

Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Running Time: 1 Hour 18 Minutes (Nice & short!)

Plot Synopsis:
Not much different from the other Tinker Bell movies. But with added pirates.

20140223-030242 am.jpg
My Opinion:

Okay, so… Like with Tinker Bell And The Secret Of The Wings (review HERE), I didn’t necessarily choose to go see this. However, it’s not too bad as far as Tinker Bell movies go. They’re all decent enough movies aimed at young girls. This one is definitely better than Secret Of The Wings and probably as strong as the very first film (where Tinker Bell was born? Or the one with the little girl? I don’t know – there are a lot of these now & I confuse them!). What I’m saying is, it’s one of the better ones. And while Tinker Bell movies are always going to be “girl” movies, this one at least won’t be a bad one for any brothers to have to sit through as well since it has the pirate thing going on. It’s a decent boy one! Bring your daughters AND sons if you want!

20140223-025700 am.jpg
Zarina is a new fairy that we meet in this film (psst – she’s the “pirate fairy” in the tale. I mean, she’s on the poster). She’s a decent character and I guess her curiosity (She likes to experiment with creating different forms of pixie dust. This is at the very beginning of the film so I’m not being spoiler-y) sets a good example to girls that they can be interested in science & things like that. She’s a little like Tinker Bell in that way. And we of course get all the usual other fairies (Silvermist, Fawn, annoying Rosetta, etc) which I think has been a good thing about the Tinker Bell movies as they all have different personalities & “talents”. Speaking of the talents, there’s a clever little twist with that which I think was a fun thing to add to the film.

20140223-025720 am.jpg
I honestly don’t know if any adults will care and I also don’t know how much has been given away through Disney marketing but I still try to make my reviews as spoiler-free as possible. So all I’ll say is that I really like there finally being a link to the Peter Pan story again. Since they created all these Tinker Bell movies & all her fairy friends, they’ve really moved away from anything to do with Peter Pan. She’s from Peter Pan! I’ve sort of enjoyed the fact that Jake & The Neverland Pirates has much more to do with Peter Pan (Plus he was even in an episode. Yeah – I’ve had to watch that TV show as well. Don’t be jealous!). I liked seeing a hint of where the character of Tinker Bell comes from in this one. And there’s an adorable baby crocodile, which was one of my favorite bits of the film.

20140223-025758 am.jpg
Summary:

Tinker Bell And The Pirate Fairy is, well, definitely one of the better Tinker Bell movies and quite likely to be the favorite of the fathers of daughters who watch it over and over. The brothers of these girls won’t mind this one so much either. And HOORAY for the Peter Pan links and a more creative story than some of the other films. It’s not going to change the world and it’s not like it’s a Pixar film or something (those get 8 or 9 from me usually because *I* love them as much as any film aimed at adults) but it’s an enjoyable enough movie for your little ones and you MIGHT enjoy it a little bit too. Oh, and stay for a worthwhile scene partway through the credits. I heard some kids shout in excitement at it. 🙂

My Rating: 6/10

20140223-025834 am.jpg