Film Review: The Maze Runner

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Summary: A group of teenage boys find themselves in an environment inside a giant stone maze structure. With no memories except their first names, they must find their way out.

I’m not surprised that The Maze Runner got made into a movie. It’s exactly on trend with the movies we’re making these days: Young Adult, dystopian society, mild science fiction. I’ve read the novel, and it was not what I expected. Aided only by the knowledge of what actor was playing who, I was surprised to find the novel borderline excruciating to read. The story is interesting and it does have an originality to it, but I found the writing style heartless and stiff. I imagined that these brilliant actors I already loved (Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Sangster, Kaya Scoldelario, Will Poulter) would bring these characters to life in a way the book simply couldn’t — none of the characters have memories and therefore they hardly have personalities.

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I was disappointed when the film brought me that same heartlessness. Despite a great cast, there was nobody to feel for or sympathize with in the film, and that made it hard to enjoy.

As an action film, The Maze Runner does deliver. It’s fast-paced, full of risk-taking, running, confusing sequences, and potential danger. There is an air of mystery and suspense. But unfortunately in the process of changing the narrative to make it faster paced, a lot of the actual answers to the aforementioned mysteries have been dumbed down. I found myself constantly asking why on Earth they would decide to make that change.

If you love a good action film, and don’t care much for characterization, by all means go out and enjoy this movie. Just don’t expect more from it, and you’ll be okay.

I still think it’s a damn shame. Perhaps I was putting too much pressure on the film version to course correct what the book was lacking, but I truly believe the story would play out better on film. I do think The Maze Runner is a very smart concept, and I would love to see it properly executed one day.

For now I’ll just have to be sad — it’s doubtful my Dylan O’Brien will be getting two more films out if this franchise.

Rating: 4/10