Going into this all I knew was that this was based on yet another popular young adult book series. The Maze Runner, like all its Y.A. contemporaries, suffers from the serialized nature of “to be continued”. Despite this, The Maze Runner offers more than enough thrills to please a general audience.
Thomas is deposited into an oasis, which also acts as a prison, with other boys and young men. Having no memory of what came before, Thomas is desperate to solve the secret of the maze that surrounds the oasis to escape to freedom.
I gotta say I love the opening five minutes as it is so disorienting and well shot, so my hat goes off to director Wes Ball. He handles suspense well, as there are a couple of sequences that had me on the edge of my seat and my heart pumping. I loved his choice to cut away during the climax of crucial action sequence giving me and the audience blue balls letting out a collective AWWWWWEEE!!!!!! It left me frustrated but the more I think about it the more I like the choice. And I applaud Ball and the screenwriters for keeping things interesting as just when I’m about to lose interest as things get dull, something new is introduced to keep it moving forward.
The aspect I really loved more than the maze was the Lord of the Flies element this film had going on. Once Thomas arrives you can see this fragile way of life these boys are living is like a powder keg about to explode. Tensions are constantly high, and watching these boys become men under these circumstances is both heartbreaking and troubling. I also applaud them on taking elements of Lost and using them better than what the show ever did in its six year run.
Another aspect about this movie I absolutely loved was that there was no romance story as is the staple of most the Young Adult genre. My main beef with these romance stories in this Y.A. genre is that more than half the time it feels forced. Just because you have a male lead and a female lead does not mean you need to shove a romance into the mix. Also, the love triangle needs to stop as most of the time, the other guy is either a third wheel or is better written and liked character than the main protagonists.
My main problem with this is that this should’ve been a television show. This is basically the first chapter of something bigger rather than a self-contained film that stands on its own two feet. I constantly point to Star Wars, Captain America: The Winter Solider, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Empire Strikes Back as how to make something that is part of a bigger world and a bigger story, but works well on its own. There are so many characters here that when some of them died it was hard to care. And this becomes a big problem when we hit the last thirty or so minutes of the movie where people are falling left and right with no real impact. Most of them are the black kids by the way. Add to that that the plot twists come so fast and so hard that had this of been a show it would’ve had time to let the twists breathe especially since some of these plot twists expand the world of this film greatly and is supposed to have a emotional impact of a major supporting character.
Speaking of, that plot twist made no sense and was a cheap emotional beat and unnecessary kill. I mean how that character knew exactly where to go since he was never a maze runner? Add to that how did he get past all those big, heavy doors with no problems? See what I mean. Also, the very last plot twist from a well-known actress brings up a lot of implausible questions.
The score done by John Paesano was too bland, too loud, and too Hollywood. This film is example of how filmmakers forget to score their films properly nowadays with a score that stands out and works with the film rather than against it.
All in all this is something you can rent. If you do need to rush out and see it in the theatre, I don’t think you’ll be too upset that you spent money if go the matinee route. No need to IMAX this at all. But yea this is something that would have benefitted greatly from being a television show. Seeing as this is a trilogy of books, I think a three or four season adaptation would’ve sufficed with ten to thirteen episodes a season.