Maximum Ride (2016)

Apparently nothing is safe from teen movies anymore.

First it was vampires.  Then werewolves.  Then alien invasions and Mars.

But I really would have thought genetically engineered soldiers were still safe.

Apparently not.  Here we have the all too familiar angsty teen drama, where those angsty teens all have remarkable powers, like telepathy, super strength, or the ability to make bombs out of almost anything.

Well, I suppose it isn’t all that different from vampires.

This was based on a series of books by James Patterson, and it is quite obvious that they thought it would be the first of a series of films as the film raises all sorts of mysteries and questions without giving us too many answers. And even the ones that it does answer leave us wondering whether we got the real answer.  As it seems to have been released on VOD on the internet, with only a limited theatrical release, it’s pretty much impossible to tell whether it got enough business to justify a sequel, so you might just have to read the books if you want to find out what happens.

Not that I care enough to do that.

It’s not bad for what it is, with the kids given a bit of personality, and a few reasonably well staged action sequences.  It’s not exactly overwhelmingly exciting either, and there’s one character who might as well have a big sign hung around his neck saying “Whoa, don’t trust me” because it is so obvious that he’s up to no good.

I mean, hey, we can’t see that character’s face.  It can’t possibly be because he’s someone we’d know, right?

But at least we don’t have to suffer through another teen romance.  Yeah, there are hints that two characters like each other, but we can handle that.  Particularly if there isn’t a sequel.

But I have to note the decision to give the children wings that magically sprout out of their backs like Wolverine’s claws (with a similar reference to the layers of healed scars).  Even if you accept that a full sized set of wings can be hidden unnoticed under the skin of Allie Marie Evans back without anyone noticing (and she is so small and slender that it seems highly improbable), those wings still fall into the utterly unbelievable category.  Look, there is no way an eleven foot wingspan is going to allow even a small sized teenaged girl to fly.  Period.  It’s impossible.  No way, Jose.  Nope.  Nada.  Zip.  Can’t be done…

…But the images of the kids in flight is just so darned beautiful!  We get to see them swoop and soar, their feathers moving the way real feathers on real birds of prey move.  We see them against incredible backdrops of mountains and forests, all beautifully staged.  It is just stunning.  Unquestionably, those scenes are by far the best in the film, no matter how absurd we all know they are (i.e., “very”).

So, if you’re allergic to sparkly vampires, watch at your own risk.  But at least it’s better than The Space Between Us.

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