Thomas wakes up with no memory and is brought into an isolated environment with other teens. Now he must solve the puzzle he had a hand in creating as well as the puzzle that is his identity. The Maze Runner’ marks its run by setting its path ablaze in an explosive heart throbbing start. Right away, it builds its seemingly intriguing and smart story line with a solid opening sequence, throwing us into immediate action and suspense as the first scene depicts the amnesiac teenager, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), struggling to find his way out of at rattling lift, ascending through a darkness-filled elevator shaft. Emerging to the surface, he finds himself surrounded with multi-ethnic boys who seem not surprised by his arrival. He is immediately welcomed to a commune of teenagers who have been struggling to find their exit from the world they’ve been mysteriously thrown into–The Glade, a forest dominated settlement surrounded by thick concrete walls whose only gate opens to an intricate and ever-changing maze, one the boys suspect to end up to their only way out of that prison-like expanse.
Knowing only his name, curious Thomas joins the league of runners who run into the “griever”-infested maze every morning, to unfold its secrets. His courage is convincing enough to earn him equally-earnest companions to run with him side by side, in his quest to discover the passage out of the Glade. That courage itself, puts growing suspicion to the tough bullying elder, Gally (Will Poulter), whom Thomas immediately finds to be his inevitable and insecure rival. Adding to the tension, is the arrival of the first and only girl in the group, Theresa (Kaya Scodelario), bearing a note that tells she’s the last one.
Acting was okay, especially liked Newt, too bad the others weren’t given as much exposure, Chuck’s actor seemed too young for the role. Character development feels a little rushed, most glaring is with Chuck and Thomas’ relationship. In any case there were enough character moments to make them memorable.
Music was hauntingly good. Visuals were okay as well, given the limited options.
Safe to say the true purpose or soul of the film, for better or worse, is pretty much intact, establish audience curiosity of the world beyond the maze as well as feel compassion towards Thomas and his group.
There are many obvious elements that keep ‘The Maze Runner’ within the confines of the Young-Adult Adaptation genre: it happens in a post-apocalyptic era, young teenagers appear to be the last hope of a controlling dystopian society, and at its center is a young protagonist who would go through all lengths to escape his brutal fate. It is interesting to note though some attempts to set itself apart from the craze. Most notably, it doesn’t have sexually-intuitive characters as it appears to be more focused on the action and adventures of the hero. The mood is also set in a darker tone, adding more excitement and suspense to its already intriguing premise. However, it’s also not easy to shrug off some flaws in the film, flaws that could have been avoided if first time director, Wes Ball, had put equal attention to both the film’s visuals and script. While it boasts stunning visuals, the movie’s overall output is weighed down by some nonsensical cliches, bland dialogues and tiring one-liners, some not fully developed and utilized characters (ex.Theresa) and misplaced highlights, all these pushing the story out of its track. It feels as if it hasn’t maintained, much less taken off, from the level of excitement and suspense it achieved in the first half. Towards the end, it loses grip of its the initial thrill, barely bringing back the intensity with a uninteresting final conflict. In the end it tries to save itself by hinting a promise of an inevitable sequel, one, I can say, it utterly deserves.
Overall, the film is remarkably a level-up in its much crazed-about category. With solid ensemble of young cast showcasing commendably strong performances, an impressive and interesting take on the dystopian genre, and an intriguing plot, ‘The Maze Runner’ rises to the YA Adaptation Chart and sets itself aligned along current blockbuster franchises like The Hunger Games and Divergent. Watch it for the action and interesting premise; just don’t expect any form of resolution until the 3rd installment. 7/10 stars
Special thanks to Liv Co. Lifestyle for inviting us to watch The Maze Runner and giving me an opportunity to write a movie review. Kindly follow and like them on Facebook at Liv Co Lifestyle and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @livcoph