The Best YA Adaptations You Probably Haven’t Seen

maze runner

(Welcome to The Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, a series that takes a look at slightly more obscure, under-the-radar, or simply under-appreciated movies. In this edition, we take a look at the best adaptations you haven’t seen of young adult novels.)

Young adult (YA) adaptations typically fall into two categories – those featuring characters named Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen, or Bella Swan, and those that don’t. The movies in the latter group aren’t as well known and haven’t made nearly as much money, and if we’re being honest, a healthy percentage of them deserve that fate. There are plenty of other good ones, though, from The Perks of Being a Wallflower to The Outsiders, but I’m here to tell you there are also some great ones you’ve probably missed.

One such solid YA movie is 2015’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials which in addition to featuring some fun 28 Days Later-like “zombie” assaults also includes some kick-ass action sequences. It’s good! You can skip the dull first installment – teens are forced to run out of a maze, there, now you’re all caught up – and just jump to this second film. Once you do that you’ll be ready for the trilogy’s concluding chapter, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, which opens this week. You’re welcome.

In the continuing spirit of identifying YA movies that are deserving of more love, I’ve done what I do best, or at least what I do bi-weekly, and selected a handful of good to great titles that were released and quickly forgotten to time.

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all female lord of the flies remake

In a fundamental misunderstanding of the message of Lord of the Flies, Warner Bros. is moving ahead with an all-female remake of the literary classic — written by two men.

Gender-bent remakes are not uncommon in Hollywood, allowing filmmakers to re-examine stories from a female perspective and give meatier roles to women in an industry where there are very few. But not all stories are suited to be gender-swapped: case in point William Golding‘s novel about the barbarism stemming from systemic toxic masculinity.

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Music video turned feature film director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer) will write and helm Age of Rage for Fox Searchlight. THR compares the dystopian project to Children of Men and Lord of the Flies, but since no plot synopsis is provided, its hard to really form any sort of opinion about it. So instead I want to rant about Hollywood’s overuse of Children of Men comparisons.

Can we please stop referring or comparing every dystopian film to Children of Men. I understand that in Hollywood, its much easier to pitch a film by saying stupid phrases like “It’s like Titanic but in Space” or “it’s Die Hard meets Time Cop”. And the comparisons are completely fine when they’re valid, but I doubt that every futuristic end of society type project is like Children of Men. There have been how many dystopian films over the last 50 years? Outside of the core story element, how many of them immediately remind you of Children of Men? Exactly. Children of Men brought a very specific tone and realism to the dystopian story, and I doubt all of these films will be in the same vein. So lets please stop these over simplified classifications.

Web has directed videos for My Chemical Romance, Fergie, Weezer, Evanescence, Yellowcard and many others. He won the 2006 Music Video Production Association’s Director of the Year award for The All American Rejects’ Move Along. Check out his music videos on