It's happened! I read Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (book 1) of James Patterson's NYT Best-selling series back in 2005. 11 years ago! Even though I know that the prose isn't amazing, it's engaging (same as the Twilight saga, whether you like it or not), and Max was one of my first literary role models in addition to Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series) and Lyra Belaqua (The Golden Compass).
And when I first joined MoviePilot as a staff writer 4 years ago (before it became an open-source platform), Maximum Ride was listed as "in development." And then, there was radio silence. And more silence. So much so, that I gave up hope it would ever happen.
But then... a poster popped up in my instagram and Facebook feeds.
And people were already bitching about "bad casting" in the comments. Some of them forgot that Max is blonde in the books, and were saying she should be a brunette. But, spoiler alert: Max is blonde, and only dyes her hair brown later in the books to disguise herself.
And I got SO excited. I was aware of the skepticism in these comments too, and I wasn't naive enough to hope that it would be PERFECT. I mean, look at Percy Jackson and all the Allegiant drama of the Divergent Trilogy. But that didn't stop me from hoping for the best.
I finally watched the movie yesterday (at night, even though people had been posting about it online for 14 hours before I got to see it for myself). And WOW. For a movie that was cast and started filming in the same week, and wrapped filming in 2 weeks, I was blown away.
In my opinion, the casting was perfect. I do wish Fang's hair was darker, but other than that, everything about the actors playing their characters was amazing. Well... almost everything.
The dialogue was stilted 90% of the time, which is a shame given how snappy the dialogue always was in the books, but they did their best with it. And there definitely were some awesome one-liners and short exchanges in that 10% that I think were comic gold.
And here's my biggest complaint (of no fault of the actors) were the wings and flying (which... is kind of the point of this story). They looked super CGI, which was disappointing because the opening credits made the wings look AMAZING. And when they were flying, it was clear they were flying in front of a green (or blue, at this point?) screen because there was no interaction with the landscapes that would happen in real life (e.g. water rippling or trees shaking due to the wind from flapping wings).
But all in all? A good movie. Did you know that the storyboarder also worked on the Catching Fire movie (which is my favorite of the book AND movie trilogy)? And even though I did disparage Percy Jackson earlier, I did enjoy that movie. Definitely not as much as I love the Harry Potter movies (which I consider the gold standard—Hunger Games is silver), but I'm not a book-to-movie purist because I know it's not realistic. And this movie hit all the points, did a good job (8/10 for me), and I hope that there will be a sequel. If I'm 100% honest, I want SEQUELS (plural!).
Last night, I was stalking the cast on Instagram and then followed the #maximumride on the social network and saw what other people were saying. The response has definitely been mixed online. There are some people who loved it, some who hated it, and others who were expecting it to be bad, but were hoping for the best (which is what I was thinking when I found out about it, as you know).
Below, here's someone who shared mostly the same opinion as me:
And just for fun, here's the moment I knew I loved this version of Max:
And here's a moment from the end that had me laughing:
Have you seen it? What did you think? Comment below! And don't forget to read the book:
Title: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Series: Maximum Ride, 1
Author: James Patterson
Genre: YA SciFi
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 11, 2005
In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "flock"—Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel—are just like ordinary kids—only they have wings and can fly.
It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time...like when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of wack jobs.
Her friends brave a journey to blazing hot Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare—this one involving fighting off the half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives.
Along the way Max discovers from her old friend and father-figure Jeb--now her betrayed and greatest enemy--that her purpose is save the world--but can she?
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I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,