The Maze Runner (2014)
Release Date: September 19, 2014
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Blake Cooper, Kaya Scodelario
Director: Wes Ball
Studio: 20th Century Fox, Gotham Group, Temple Hill Entertainment
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Genre(s): Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller, Young Adult
Review Spoilers: Low
With all the YA novel adaptions (Hunger Games, Divergent, and Mortal Instruments) you’re swimming in a sea of new faces with an action packed story line…what makes The Maze Runner any different? Does it fall into the cookie cutter dystopian movie?
The short answer is…yes and no. Yes, because it focuses on a hero that wants to figure out what the hell is going on and no because it never lags and always goes. This movie hit the ground running and it continued running until the end. Therese and I highly enjoyed this movie and with good reason, too.
The premise of The Maze Runner is a dozen plus boys living in a Glade that’s surrounded by a huge, complex, ever-changing maze. They have a system going where everyone has a job (build, grow, or make) where they work together and sustain off the land. Every month a new boy comes up from The Box with supplies.
When Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) arrives things start to shake up. Everyone else has been content living in the Glade with the Runners going out and exploring/mapping the maze. They have lived peacefully and don’t seem to want any change. Thomas on the other hand is curious and he wants to get out. He needs to know what the heck is going on and he insists on being a Runner.
A lot of movies focus on building up the world, explaining all its elements and what is going on. It takes away from the story and because of that you learn less about the character. This is not the case with The Maze Runner, there is very little world-building (you can only talk about living in a maze for so long) and it focuses on the interactions with all the boys.
Everyone has great acting chops, even the new comers.You care about them and your heart is pounding when they are in peril. Action and suspense is not missing in this movie. There is plenty of it. You have tensions within the group and scary-ass things in the maze. You’re engaged in the movie and actually care what is happening. You as the audience don’t know anything they don’t. You’re left wondering what’s going on as well.
How is this different from the book? Truth be told, I didn’t read the book. When I read the ssynopsis I can say that I liked the film plot better than the book plot. The book made Thomas seem like he was smart and figured everything out. The movie portrayed Thomas’s brilliance through all the characters, rounding everyone out. Maybe if I read the book I could do a better comparison but from that standpoint I like the film more.
Final Thoughts: Summer is winding down with all the big blockbusters, but The Maze Runner manages to wow just like the other big contenders. The action and suspense keep you on edge; you learn what’s happening in their world as they learn. Seeing the magnificence, sheer size, and complexity of the maze is amazing. The creators really make sure you realize just how large this darn thing is. Watching the characters solve each problem is great because you’re rooting for them to figure it out because you want to know who is behind all this. This is a very, very well done YA novel adaptation and I can’t wait to see what’s next.