No. Not even close.
Maximum Ride is based on the first book of the series, The Angel Experiment, and the only decent thing it decides to do is play it straight. Sure, it plays out the plot like a kid going crazy with an Etch-a-Sketch, but clocking in at only 88 minutes, it's mercifully short looking back on it. Too bad the experience of watching it feels like mixing alcohol with molasses and letting Michael Bay throw in some slow motion. Trust me, no one should have to go through that.
So what else is wrong with Maximum Ride? What's right with this movie is the better question?
The kids who play the main group - Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Angel, and the Gasman (or Gazzy) - are okay. Not great, but okay. The only one who really does stand out is Gavin Lewis (Gazzy) because he's really the only one who seems to actually care about what the hell is going on. He's also the only one who actually looks the age he's supposed to represent from the novels (to be fair, so does Lyliana Wray as Angel). Max, Fang, and Iggy at this point are 14 - 15 years old, and Nudge is approximately 11 in the novels. ALL THREE OF THEM LOOK 18 - 21 YEARS OLD IN THE FILM. WHY?
Even worse than that, 90% of the acting feels forced from awful direction and, unfortunately, the inexperience of the actors themselves (most of them barely have any screen credits to their name). Max's bold and gritty personality feels fake half of the time instead of confident. Fang is a complete joke - instead of acting quiet and reserved as in the novels, he's turned into the typical pretty-boy stereotype with absolutely no discernible personality. Nudge is definitely a fashion lover akin to the novels, but she's boring too. Can one really blame the cast members, though, if they don't have solid direction, enthusiasm, and motivation for their roles? It's clear they didn't get any of these things.
And then there's the special effects. Maximum Ride makes Birdemic: Shock and Terror look like James Cameron's Avatar. Not even the Razzie Awards could justify what kind of award it could possibly give to this tripe. These kids have bird wings, but are they even supposed to be flying? You can't tell with Maximum Ride. You just can't tell. On top of this, there's boring action, boring villains and side characters, and terrible side-plots only made uninteresting by choppy editing and uneven pacing. The music grinds away like a queasy experimental album that's better used as a temp track for newer TV shows.
When you have a terrible film with average production results, it's understandable in most circumstances. When you have a terrible film that everyone tried their best on but just couldn't quite get the core of it, it's also understandable and empathetic. When you have a bad film with an inexperienced cast, crew, and director whose first attempt is tackling the challenges of a big-budget production without understanding the vast complexities behind it, that is completely inexcusable.
The director, Jay Martin, served as art director on several multimillion-dollar productions (Catching Fire and I Am Legend, for example), but there's a big difference between overseeing one task of a production against every single aspect of the production. He fails in every conceivable way.
In a year filled with few true successes in the cinema, and so many more disappointments, Maximum Ride is not even the bottom of the barrel. There's a special place below the barrel for this one (slightly above a film about Kevin Spacey and cats). Instead of taking off in exhilaration, it all just falls flat and stays grounded at square one. The only maximum this adaptation truly achieves is maximum boredom.