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PHOTOGRAPHY
THE DEATH CURE
Movie review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 144 minutes, audio commentary, featurettes, deleted and extended scenes, gag reel, visual effects breakdowns and reel, galleries, theatrical trailers, digital copy, DVD
VIDEO: 2.39:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition
AUDIO: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA (BR), English 5.1 descriptive Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital (DVD), French 5.1 DD, Spanish 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox/ Gotham Corp/ Temple hill/ Oddball Entertainment
Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 1-26-2018
Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 4-24-2018
Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) is looking to rescue his fellow Glader survivor Minho from WCKD (who will go to any length to find a cure for a zombie-like virus known as the Flare). The opening sequence sees Thomas and his group of friends/ allies rescue a group of teenagers immune from the Scorch as a train is delivering the kids to the last surviving city on Earth. Minho isn't among the rescued which leads Thomas, Newt, Frypan, Brenda, and Jorge to infiltrate the last city where they find an unlikely ally. Meanwhile Teresa (after betraying Thomas and his fellow survivors months ago) is working on developing a workable serum to contain the Flare, but Thomas may very well hold the cure WCKD has looking for all of these years while Earth falls apart in this final installment of THE MAZE RUNNER series.

THE DEATH CURE (aka THE MAZE RUNNER; THE DEATH CURE) manages to wrap up the series while knowing when and when not to be faithful to the source novel by James Dashner. Vancouver, British Columbia and South Africa serve as a great backdrop for the dystopian world of THE DEATH CURE. The movie was delayed by almost a year due to star Dylan O'Brien sustaining an injury during a stunt which put the film’s production on hold for six months. The sequel is worth the wait while it delivers an ending more satisfying than MOCKINGJAY PART 2 and a more worthy conclusion to the YA series it is based on than the DIVERGENT series (which fumbles the ball with ALLEGIANT) or an ending more reality based than the book the movie is based on. The production design is top notch and not focusing so much on the Cranks (like in THE SCORCH TRIALS) benefits the story as the movie splits its time between WCKD and Thomas's group). If you want the book exactly, go read the book. Adapting a book into a movie is a balancing act as the writer must decide what to keep, what not to keep, what won’t work on the big screen, and will changing something help to bring about the spirit of the book. If you loved THE HUNGER GAMES series and THE MAZE RUNNER series, you will find yourself entertained with THE DEATH CURE.

SPECIAL FEATURES:
Feature audio commentary with director Wes Ball, screenwriter T.S. Nowlin, and Producer Joe Hartwick Jr
27 minutes of deleted and extended scenes with optional audio commentary by director Wes Ball, screenwriter T.S. Nowlin, and Producer Joe Hartwick Jr. They cut many fo the scenes to get it down from it over three hour first cut, but I do wish they left a couple of scenes in the movie including the subway run scene (which was an expensive cut). The director does hint that a few scenes would be good to be included in an extended cut

UNLOCKING THE CURE: This making-of the movie is a series of featurettes and they aren't as extensive as the previous making-of documentaries on the previous two movies, but they do still give plenty of interviews with cast and crew, clips from the movie, and behind-the-scenes footage. I do wish they didn't gloss over Dylan O’Brien’s on set injury which caused the production to be stopped for a while before resuming. Author James Dashner does comment that the movies allowed him to see his books with fresh eyes and enjoy the movies.
THE FINAL RUN- all about putting together the final movie
DYSTOPIA: THE COMPLETED WORLD- the production design of the movie
ALLIES REUNITED- a characters featurette
A LOOK BACK: A DIRECTOR’S JOURNEY- Wes Ball reflects on his time making the three movies in THE MAZE RUNNER trilogy

GOING OUT ON TOP- a behind-the-scenes look at the opening train sequence
Gag reel- 11 minutes of bloopers and cast shots

VISUAL EFFECTS BREAKDOWN (of the opening sequence and a scene from the climax) and VISUAL EFFECTS REEL with optional audio commentary by director Wes Ball as you see how seamless the visual effects are in THE DEATH CURE

Two galleries which are a storyboard gallery and a pre-production art gallery under the title of Wes's Selects

Two theatrical trailers

The movie is also available as a digital movie to download and stream via a code and in standard definition on DVD

FINAL ANALYSIS: THE DEATH CURE succeeds in wrapping up the MAZE RUNNER series, but some of the deleted scenes hint at the struggle between keeping the movie at a certain pacing and hopes of an extended version that will incorporate some of these scenes back into the movie. The extras are great on the blu-ray with the deleted scenes being the best extra as I wish the making-of featurettes were as extensive as the making-of material on THE MAZE RUNNER and THE SCORCH TRIALS. I just hope 20th Century Fox will adapt the two prequel novels into movies one day.

This review is 5-2-2018 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

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