I first started reading the Maximum Ride books as a teenager. Being that they are supposed to be teen adventures, I thought I’d give them a shot. And I loved them… For the first three books. Then the Final Warning happened. It sucked so hard that I made a video about it (that no longer exists online). Then James Patterson, the writer, decided to keep going with the franchise after he’d already buried it in shit. It got better… ish. Still, I DID like the first three books. So when I heard that they were making a movie adaptation of the first book, I was thrilled. When I heard it was in development hell for a while, I was less thrilled. When I heard it was going direct to TV, I got a terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. So, was this movie worth the wait or is this flick for the birds? This is Maximum Ride.
Max Ride is a girl who was born with wings because she had bird DNA spliced into her human DNA when she was a fetus. She grew up in a facility called the School, where she was tortured and experimented on for all of her childhood… Wait, I’m sorry, I’m using my knowledge of the books to give the synopsis of the movie. Let’s try that again. Max Ride is a girl who, for reasons that are never explained, has wings. She and a group of other people who we never really get to know are living in a house in the middle of the woods for no adequately explained reason when the youngest, a girl named Angel, is kidnapped by things called Erasers that get no explanation in the movie whatsoever. Max and her friends set out to save Angel. Shenanigans ensue.
This is not the book come to life. This is someone reading the back cover, flipping through the first 20 pages, two middle pages, and the last 10 pages, and deciding to make a movie of that. The result is a mess. As an adaption of a book, it leaves out so much of the book it’s adapting as to be unrecognizable. They change so many little things that it screws with the people who know the book. And if you’ve NEVER read one of the books in your life, the movie is somehow even WORSE. The word of the day is “No Explanation.” How and why do the kids have wings? Don’t know. What the hell are Erasers? Never said. How are these kids related? No idea. You get a bare bones plot introducing blank-slate characters who have to get their friend back because “that’s what friends in these types of movies always do.”
So the movie’s plot is not good. Does that mean the movie is made poorly as well? In this case, yes. Yes it is. The visuals… Well, they have the LOOK of a made-for-TV movie. You know, that overly glossy, not professionally shot, kinda lazy look. The acting is all wooden, especially from the main character, who tries to act tough by squinting a lot and failing to make snarky comments. And the special effects. Oh dear lord… Okay, let me explain this by telling you a story of my experience. Maximum Ride is about kids with wings. When I first saw the kids, they had no wings. And I kept saying “The wings aren’t Wolverine’s claws, they don’t go into slots if they don’t need them! They’re permanently on their backs! Show us the damn wings!” Then they showed us the damn wings… I know why the kept them hidden now. Mainly, they look like they’d be outclassed by the paper airplanes you used to make in school. The special effects are simply atrocious. There is no excuse here. I’ve seen more convincing flying in animated movies.
I don’t have the strength to continue breaking this movie apart. It actually physically hurt me to watch it. Literally. I was yelling at it so much that it gave me a headache. If my guess is correct, James Patterson started an entire movie company just to get this movie off of the ground. The actual writer of the book had a hand in making this. I have the feeling he forgot about his own material and didn’t bother to read it ever again. If you read the books, stay away from this movie. If you haven’t, stay even FURTHER away from this movie. It has a nonsensical plot, terrible acting, horrendous special effects, and it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.