“The Maze Runner” stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, and Patricia Clarkson. Released on September 19, 2014, the film is about a teenager who finds himself in the middle of a mysterious labyrinth with no memory of who he is.
The film featured the directorial debut of Wes Ball, and it is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by James Dashner. The latest young-adult book series turned film series is finally coming to a close this weekend, so I decided to catch up on the trilogy before I see The Death Cure, starting with the first chapter. I didn’t actually see the first film in theaters because I wasn’t very interested in the series to begin with. Plus, and I know that you heard it a thousand times before, I haven’t read any of the books. I did manage to watch it at home and I honestly thought that it was pretty enjoyable. Not as great as The Hunger Games, but not as intolerable as Twilight either. So now I’m watching it again to see if my opinion on it changes a little or stays exactly the same. This should be fun.
Dylan O’Brien (from the MTV series “Teen Wolf”) portrays Thomas, a teenage boy who is trapped in an area known as the “Glade” that is surrounded by a huge maze along with a group of other teenage males. In order to escape, the “Gladers” must find an escape route inside the maze, which may sound like an easy task on paper, but in this film, it’s as easy as finding a haystack in a needle pile. Why? Because if they want to make it out alive, they have to do it during the daytime and they have to avoid getting eaten by the techno-organic creatures known as the “Grievers”. In other words, this is one maze that you don’t want to walk through. Throughout the film, Thomas digs deeper into the mysteries that involve the challenging labyrinth and himself. Its sense of mystery is the key element that makes this film and the source material investing. They want the audience to follow these characters as they attempt to figure out what the heck is going on, mostly Thomas. As a first-time director, Ball was given the task to bring this source material to life on the big screen while maintaining the amount of mystery and thrills that made the book series popular. While it does contain some familiar tropes from the other young-adult films, such as its dystopian setting, the film does its job at providing a good amount of entertainment and a solid story to boot. The young cast delivered some likable performances, including O’Brien as Thomas and Poulter as Gally, one of the members of the “Gladers”. Watching Poulter’s performance in this now, I still think that his performance in “Detroit” was a lot better. The visuals in the film were pretty impressive, ranging from the design of the maze to the menacing “Grievers”. Wes Ball definitely has a knack for envisioning the visual background without letting it get too overblown, allowing room for the characters to develop themselves a little bit. He also has a knack for creating a few good tension-filled action scenes, even though a couple of them suffered from its shaky camera work.
Overall, it may not impress some non-fans of the young-adult genre, but “The Maze Runner” is a successful experiment nonetheless. With its solid combination between action and mystery, impressive visuals, and some likable characters, the film marks a decent beginning to the trilogy as well as Wes Ball’s directorial career. After watching it now, I realized that I might’ve been a bit too harsh on it during my last viewing, but that’s what I get for viewing the same movie multiple times. If you’re a fan of the book series in general, this film should be able to fill your needs. Stay tuned for my next classic review where I take a look at the second chapter in the Maze Runner trilogy. It’s going to be a hot one.