The Maze Runner movie, while vastly different from the book it’s based on, is almost a “really great movie”. Unfortunately due to the lack of character development, a fantastic maze that is severely underused and a messy anticlimactic ending, I can only call this movie “pretty good”.
The Maze Runner
Directed By: Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster , Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Ki Hong Lee, Aml Ameen, Blake Cooper, Patricia Clarkson
*WARNING, this review contains some spoilers*
The Visuals: The Look of the Movie, the Production Design, the Maze, the Grievers
The Good: The Glade looked handmade, it was simple, rustic, and messy. The walls of the Maze keeping them in were huge and looming and definitely gave you the trapped feeling. The Maze in general was amazing: massive, looming, and intimidating and the way it moved in new and different ways from the book was intriguing.
The Bad: Unfortunately the Maze, as amazing as it was, was SEVERLY underused. There were so many ways the movie could have explored the intricacies of the Maze, but instead it settled on the cliché, or finding ways to keep the kids in The Glade. For a movie called The Maze Runner, they weren’t really in the Maze at all.
The Ugly: A big change the movie made from the book was the “Griever’s Hole” *spoiler alert, book and movie* Instead of jumping off a cliff into seemingly nothing, a bunch of doors opened up revealing…well a hole that leads to…a door. BORING. And instead of a huge, bloody, Griever fight upon making their way into the Griever hole. We get a lot of exposition…in the form of a video. SNOOZE ALERT!
The Cast: The Actors, The Characters, the Performances
The Good: Dylan O’Brien is a GREAT, leading man. He had great presence and he commanded the screen. As for the rest of the actors, I can never have enough of Thomas Brodie-Sangster (who will always be the kid from Love Actually to me). And Will Poulter is a joy to watch, even if he is playing a bad-ish guy. The cast gelled together. Especially the male Gladers. They’re performances were strong and the main characters were memorable.
The Bad: Kaya Scoderlario as Teresa. She’s a good actress, I’ll give you that. But in this movie her character was almost unnecessary. The filmmakers took away Teresa and Thomas’ bond, making her just a girl who happened to land in the Maze. Bad form, making a character that’s really important completely unnecessary.
The Ugly: Beyond Thomas (O’Brien) we were never really given any time to know any of the characters. We knew that Newt, Minho, Chuck, Alby, and Gally were important, but we weren’t really given any backstory. We weren’t given a real chance to get to know them. I know that’s always a danger given movie vs. book (The first Hunger Games Movie had that problem too). But while some of the characters will be given a sequel for us to get to know them, at least let us get to know the secondary characters better so when you inevitably kill them off, we still care about them.
The Story: The Story, The Plot, The What The Heck Is This Movie About?
The Good: The story is a good one. It’s intriguing. It’s different from other dystopian, YA books with its kids killing kids, aliens invading, earth crumbling. It’s about getting out of this place they’ve been dropped into. It’s about finding freedom. The first book of The Maze Runner series is stellar because you don’t know what’s going to happen.
The Bad: Unfortunately this movie a lot of the more difficult plot lines, that made this story so special and so intriguing. Why do some of the characters hate Thomas so much, even when he first arrives? Why did they try to save Alby but immediately banish Ben? Why wasn’t Teresa in a coma and why weren’t the other Gladers more suspicious of her? A lot of the little things the book do come into play in a big way in the later installments in the series. Did the filmmakers even READ the other books?
The Ugly: On the bright side, as drastically different from the book (in almost a disastrous way) this movie was, it actually brings me hope for the rest of the sequels. Because The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure as books were a mess. Maybe Hollywood can make it better? This movie needs to take note from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The changes in the movie should be in order to make the story better, not because a storyline was too complicated. And even if that wasn’t the case, you don’t want the audience to come out of a movie thinking that.
Overall, while this movie was good. It wasn’t great. And it could have been really great.
Rating: 3 Stars