Fast paced, gut wrenching teen dystopian science fiction, The Maze Runner, directed by Wes Ball and adapted from the book by James Dashner, was a pretty darn good movie. With incredible scenery, terrifying creatures, and interesting characters, this movie will most likely keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Maze Runner begins suddenly, like jumping into a pool of ice water. It yanks you right in as hero Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) awakens in an elevator. When the doors open, he finds himself in the Glade, among many other boys who are all trapped there, including Newt (Thomas Sangster), Alby (Aml Ameen), Minho (Ki-Hong Lee), among several others. Surrounding the Glade is the daunting Maze, filled with the perilous Grievers—terrifying monsters that are part creature part robot. The film follows the Gladers as they try desperately to find a way out of the ominous Maze.
One of my favorite aspects of the film was the acting. Generally, there was great portrayal of character. Even when the actors didn’t say anything, their faces spoke volumes. I remember watching characters in the background who were so expressive I found myself mentally writing in dialogue. The combination of good writing and acting made it more enjoyable.
The plot drives this story well. It’s fast paced and pressing, constantly moving the story forward, and drawing the audience in. I think the only downside to this is that we don’t get as much character development on the more minor characters. Chuck (Blake Cooper) is not developed as much as he was in the book and is therefore less sympathetic. I was also disappointed that Theresa’s (Kaya Scodelario) character wasn’t as developed, and kind of thrown in at the end. As a result, her character seemed blank to me.
As far as book adaptations go, The Maze Runner does a fantastic job. The Maze itself literally looks just like the cover of the book, so it will not disappoint. The movie keeps the main idea and plot, while skipping through and changing some smaller things so the story can plausibly fit into a two hour film. The biggest differences are toward the end. There were a few things they left out that I was glad they did. For example, Theresa’s telepathic connection with Thomas came off as cheesy to me in the books, and in this film it was omitted. I confess that it has been a few years since I read the book, and the film adaptation might be more vexing if you’ve just poured over each page, memorizing every plot point and line of dialogue.
The Maze Runner is definitely geared more toward young adults, but I think adults would enjoy it too. There’s no real romantic subplot, and it lacks that trope of the dystopian genre, so it’s not super cheesy in that regard. This is not a movie for little ones, as it is action packed, intense, and the Grievers would be pretty terrifying. Additionally, there’s a smattering of mild swear words, some general violence and intense scenes.
This story is a great story. It is fun, it’s interesting, it’s driven, and it’s different. There are some great characters, wonderful acting, and the sets were phenomenal. Even though it differs from the book, the movie is a pretty accurate portrayal of the plot. I look forward to next year when the sequel, The Scorch Trials, comes to theaters.