Title – The Maze Runner (2014)
Director – Wes Ball (feature debut)
Cast – Dylan O’Brien, Blake Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Aml Ameen
Plot – Teenager Thomas (O’Brien) awakens in a community of other boys lead by Alby (Ameen) with no recollection of who he is or why he is there. As Thomas begins to learn more about the community he is increasingly curious about a huge concrete maze that surrounds the glades the boys live in and the ‘runners’ who are tasked with unlocking it’s mysteries. Within the maze lay dangers however, that create a battle between life and death.
“Wicked is good”
Review by Eddie on 28/01/2015
Another entry into the string of dystopian teen novel adaptations (see also Hunger Games, Divergent etc.), Wes Ball’s cinematic retelling of James Dashner’s book of the same name is a film that thankfully remains constantly entertaining due to an air of mystery and intrigue that all stems from the films main attraction, the titular maze. This maze is an ominous, foreboding presence that perforates the entire movie and overshadows all other elements of a genuinely stock standard scenario of hero’s arising from the ashes of despair.
With a cookie cutter assembling of characters we’ve seen a million times before, from the reluctant hero Thomas played by the not overly annoying Dylan O’Brien, the loveable fat kid Chuck, through to the token bully/bad boy Gally played by an overacting Will Poulter from Son of Rambow fame, this collection of rag tag teenage boys is anything but original, but against all odds the film remains intriguing from its impressively abrupt beginning through to its slightly overblown yet relatively ripe ending. Maze Runner’s ability to keep you entertained, often against your better cinematic judgement stems from the films often bleak and gritty tone but largely the films biggest ace up its sleeve is the as mentioned maze, a work of concrete beauty that harbors much narrative potential.
The maze constructed here is a character all to itself. What exactly lurks the narrow corridors of this behemoth at night? Who and what has designed it? How will the “runners” unlock its mysteries? There questions that are quickly raised by you as tribe leader Alby describes the maze to our “greeny” Thomas. Ball does a solid job of directing around this central aspect and if all else fails around it, there’s little doubting that the viewer will endure if not only to see what lays hidden within this large enigma, an idea perfectly tapping into our lust to discover the unknown and mentally uncover the mystery before someone else does.
A whole lot more enjoyable than the Hunger Games and its weaker cousin Divergent, The Maze Runner is by no means stand out movie making but it’s a solid and often heart pounding engaging thriller that features some thankfully un-annoying teenage performances, a great production design and a central plot device that will hopefully be expanded upon in its upcoming sequels. Out of all current teen book adaptations, this is a series that possess the most potential based on this first outing.
3 perfectly constructed maze reproductions out of 5