Disclaimer: I have not read The Maze Runner series. I vaguely remember seeing them at Barnes And Noble. At least I won’t be all like, “The book was soooo much better.”Also, spoilers.
Anyway, back on track to this week’s review of The Maze Runner. First of all, it wins our “Most Descriptive Title” award, as 100% of the movie occurs inside or within sight of the titular maze of doom. I liked that. It helped maintain the tone of the film all the way through by keeping the feeling of entrapment and mystery ever-present. The pacing was also well-done. In the first act, things go quite slowly, but this allows the initial shock of being put in that situation, with its own foreign culture, to really sink in. I remember thinking just how little ground had been covered, but then things really started to pick up and never slowed down (more on that later). In short, the story was engaging, and I didn’t get that feeling that there were a lot of things left out, like with some other books-turned-movies (I’m looking at you, first Hunger Games).
THAT SAID, I felt sort of lost (hah!) at the ending, which seemed overly twisty for its own good. The villainous group’s scheme seems on the surface to be dumbly extravagant at best. Surely there could have been a more cost-effective way to measure stress on children? The world couldn’t be that dire if random companies can still have the manpower and financing to build gigantic, mechanized concrete mazes in the middle of the desert. Also, it didn’t appear that any of the subjects were even immune to the virus at all, and wasn’t that the whole point of what made them special? Ben sure wasn’t special (too soon?). Virus? Sure. Sun burning the world? Well, Al Gore warned us. But watching boys build their own culture in a multimillion facility in what must have taken at least a decade to put together, all to figure out how to save the world from a virus? Huh. I suppose it’s rationalized later in the books, but for now it’s hard to ignore. Not that this is any fault of the movie, only the source material. Before any book-readers post below, let me say again that I’m sure it makes perfect sense later.
Finally, let’s end on a high note and talk about characters/acting. I feel like the movie successfully helped me distinguish between all the important people, which is sort of noteworthy when everyone’s a bro in a maze, except for the one girl. On that note, I hope that Kaya Scodelario’s character Teresa gets some more time in the spotlight in the sequels, as she proved herself quite deserving of the role. Dylan O’Brien (Thomas), Ki Hong Lee (Minho), and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Newt) were also convincing. Gally (Will Poulter) and Chuck (Blake Cooper) could have worked better for me, but they felt the most one-dimensional out of the characters. I blame the filmmakers for that though, and yes they were still memorable, even if their ends were telegraphed from the first few scenes.
All in all, I’d call this a more memorable entry into the young adult novel movies (sorry, Divergent). I’m glad to hear the sequel has been announced for next year. In the meantime, I’ve got some reading to do.