The Maze Runner (2014) – Film Review

The Maze Runner poster.jpgThe Maze Runner

Starring Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Ki Hong Lee

Directed by Wes Ball, adapted from the book by James Dashner

IMDB Rating: 6.8

Review written by Rachel Geiger

This film adaptation came from the popular dystopian YA series. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the books. I tried to read the first one and just wasn’t into it. When I walked into the movie, I knew literally nothing about the plot. While I typically think reading the book before you see the movie is essential, I broke my rule for this one. Whether or not you’ve read the book, this is an intense film that sucks you in from the very first scene until the last.

You obviously know the plot if you’ve read these best-selling books. It’s really difficult to describe if you’re like I was and have no prior knowledge about it. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) is 16-years-old and he wakes up in an underground elevator and doesn’t even remember who he is or any memories at all. He meets a group of boys who greet him and tell him that the grassy area and the tall stone walls is called the Glade. The boys are called Gladers and they’ve formed a society where they all have their own tasks and they follow one leader, which is a boy named Alby. Thomas learns about a maze that’s the only way they could possibly get out. During the day, designated guys called maze runners go through there looking for a way out. But they have to get out of the maze before dark because no one has ever survived through the night in the maze. What follows is a lot of intensity and drama, including the appearance of a girl (Kaya Scodelario) who seems to have a past with Thomas. Nothing is what it seems in The Maze Runner.

I can’t say much about whether or not the film closely follows the book, but I thought the story flowed and translated on-screen nicely. It’s not the best screenplay ever because it’s the action that is more important than the conversation. This is a film that is trying to get a reaction out the audience and keep you on the edge of your seat, not deliver totally quotable lines that you’ll remember. Overall though, the writing isn’t close to being bad, it’s just not all that memorable compared to some other factors in the film.

The acting isn’t anything stellar honestly. I did become invested in the fate of all the characters, so I guess that has to say something about the acting ability of these fairly young actors, (and actress) most of whom I’ve never seen in anything else. The familiar faces are Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario. I’m a fan of Dylan O’Brien from what I’ve seen of him in Teen Wolf (typical teen girl moment, my bad) and I know Kaya from Skins. I wasn’t all that invested in Kaya’s character Teresa, but part of that is the writing. For O’Brien however, I was much more into what would happen to his character Thomas. The acting wasn’t all that memorable as a whole, but I wouldn’t say that it was necessarily bad either.

This is director Wes Ball’s directing debut, but I think he did a fairly decent job with it as a whole. It’s tough judging a director who hasn’t directed anything else because he has yet to establish a specific style that makes him unique. He seems to be leaning towards directing more YA adaptation type films, but who knows what he might do next! Anyway, I think he did a good job with capturing all of the intense scenes that happen in the maze. The film work must have been tricky at times, especially differentiating between night and day type scenes.

The Maze Runner was a surprising film for me. I didn’t expect to be interested in this film at all, but I actually was much more emotionally involved in this. I’m really looking forward to the next film in this fascinating YA adaptation. So whether or not you think this is your cup of tea, I suggest you check it out anyway. If you know nothing about the story, the better so don’t look anything up prior to watching it! I promise you won’t regret not being familiar with this plot.

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