Darren's Movie Reviews & News
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The Maze Runner

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Ki-hong Lee, Aml Ameen, Blake Cooper, Alexander Flores,  Chris Sheffield, Jacob Latimore, Dexter Darden, Patricia Clarkson

Directed by Wes Ball

Based on the Novel by James Dashner

Run Time: 113 min
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: September 19, 2014

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63%

My Score: 9 out of 10

Synopsis:

After waking up in a metal caged elevator with no memories of his life prior to this moment, Thomas (O’Brien) finds himself in a strange area known simply as the Glade. Surrounded by four gigantic concrete walls, the inhabitants of the Glade are surrounded by a endless maze that prevents their escape. Each day they go into the Maze looking for a way out, but the deadly Grievers in the maze have prevented them from finding an escape. But with Thomas’s arrival, things in the Glade begin to change which forces the Gladers to make a last attempt to make it out of the Maze alive.

Review:

After tearing through the novel about a month ago, I was eagerly awaiting this movie, but also fearing that it could run a huge risk of not being faithful to the novel. But much to my delight, sitting down in the local IMAX theater last night proved to be a great choice as The Maze Runner is a fast paced action film that is never short of thrills and will keep you glued to the end!

First off, the casting. I thought every actor was well matched for their role. Dylan O’Brien proved to be a worthy action star as Thomas, and his performance grounded the movie by creating a solid lead character that is likable and one that you hope survives all the deadly surprises of the maze. My other favourite was Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, Thomas’s friend in the Glade. Having seen him on Game of Thrones, seeing Brodie-Sangster in a more prominent role was nice, but he was a perfect match for the more mild manner Newt who prefers to weigh options before making rash decisions like many of the other inhabitants of the Glade. Kaya Scodelario was good as Teresa, but I felt like her character was diminished a bit so it didn’t give her much time to shine and her accent kept bleeding through as well. Finally Will Poulter, I wasn’t sure if he would succeed as the villainous Gally, but boy was he great! He sold the character one hundred percent, and will make a lasting impression on the series for sure! I’m happy to say that the series is in good hands with these individuals leading the film.

Plot wise, the movie stuck very close to the book. There was one part where they made a major deviation, and I was literally freaking out in my seat as it nearly sealed the movie to a drastic demise, but they quickly re-worked it so the movie ended at the exact same spot the book did but with a great view of what the Scorch, which was exciting for a fan! The only aspect that they left out was a very important connection between Teresa and Thomas. It’s incredibly important in the second film, so hopefully it gets introduced, because if not they will for sure run into some problems. And unfortunately this problem cannot be fixed by simple re-writes of plot points, its crucial so I’m hoping that it can be addressed as this film was amazing apart from it!

My biggest complaint about the film is the final moments. I loved the sneak peek of the Scorch which you didn’t get in the novel, but my concern is with the treatment of the whole reason for being in the maze. The film gave away far too much, the bare basics were given in the novel, but the film adds more details attempting to explain it better, but it gives away the bits of information that are discovered in the second and third books, which unfortunately takes away from some of the mystery as to why they are in their current situation. But this is all saved very well by Patricia Clarkson in the final scene of the movie which just proves that WCKD is pulling every single string or not, whether the Gladers are aware or not; ending exactly as the book did, pretty much word for word!

The special effects were great. The Grievers were very scary, and the sound editing showed greatly in IMAX, kept you jumping the entire time they came crashing onto the screen out of the darkness. But the most amazing visual of the movie was the maze itself. It has evolved far beyond the book to the point where it was almost a live. Layers of walls of different heights, the maze is a beast all to itself that perils the Gladers even more than it did in the book, which only added to the mounting suspense and excitement of the film!

Final Thoughts:

Whether you are familiar with the book or not, The Maze Runner is one hell of a ride. Featuring a strong cast, an intense story that increasing the action, suspense and thrills, there is a reason for fans of the novel to rejoice and for new audiences to discover the secret that lies within the maze! 

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