Film review: The Maze Runner

By: Marv Castillo

I call this, The Maze Runner movie review.*

This film suffers from Prometheus disease. We have so many questions during the first, second and third act… and we only get few answers. Actually, I walked away from the theater with more questions than before watching the movie. But rarely enough I enjoyed the flick very much. Is not a perfect film, but it’s definetly entertaining and refreshing in some ways.

I didn’t watched any trailer or even a poster in advance. I have to admit, I wasn’t excited about this movie at all, but it’s a nice, warm surprise in theaters you should see if you want to have a good time.

Maze Runner has a very simple and known premise, a bunch of kids with formated memory are thrown into a glade. But it’s twisted into the point we get someting new, fresh, and interesting. Of course, that as a young adult adaptation, this film has elements of novels like The Hunger Games or it could even reminds us Lord of the Flies, but Maze Runner has its own wheels.

The Maze Runner is the story of a group of young adults who live in a glade where they are surrounded by a maze, which basically means they’re trapped and they have been living in the glade for three years. The population gets bigger everything after WICKD (who gives that name to a mysterious organizaton?) sends another boy with more things they need. Every kid has a job in that place, but the most important one seems to be a Runner, which are the teens that explore the giant maze every morning to trace a map and finally bring the whole group of kids outside of the glade. However, the movie begins inside an elevator, and since that moment, we live the story through the eyes of Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien, who quickly gets the problem, but unlike the others, he is not going to sit with his thumbs inside his ass. He will do something to set these society free. After Thomas first shows up, things go down, everything’s strange. These people is used to the stuff that happens in the maze, they have always been afraid of what’s out there, but they live and deal with in their own way. The maze post-Thomas is different and they need to find to ways to deal or fight against whatever is inside the maze.

First fifteen minutes of the movie are good, like, very good. We meet our characters, we get the situation and everything is running (heh) okay. It seems strange because for the first time in a few years, I see interesting people in a young adult novel based movie. The first half of the movie you don’t only care about these characters, I was completely invested in the things they say and interested in their plans. Even the means ones are fun to watch, and that never hurts a movie.

I liked these characters and surprisingly, they are all very well performed. Dylan O’Brien is a good lead for the movie, we get his confusion and despair. I’m glad to see not a white-washed cast, this movie has some diversity, finally. I expected decent acting for this film, but I was pleasantly shocked. Will Poulter has future, man, let me tell you. That dude can act. He plays Gally, who is maybe the toughest – yet, vulnerable – character of the story. He lives by the rules of the glade, he is physically strong but weak in heart, and Poulter plays that very good. Ki Hong Lee plays Mingho, the badass veteran-like runner with a stylish piece of hair that never seems to get messed, impressed by Thomas courage, and a guy who later trust in him more than anyone else in the movie.

We also have the Game of Thrones star, Thomas Sangster, who is probably the greatest character of the story in my opinion. This could easily be the most annoying character of that society. But he is kind, funny, serious in the right moments and brave – and Sangstar performs that wonderfully. Alm Ameen is Alby, who is pretty much the leader of these people, we get since the beginning of the film Thomas will take that role away from him in some point during the movie, but he truly represents that leader figure. Blake Cooper plays pretty much the Rue figure of the movie. He’s different, though, pretty much every comedic relief comes from this character. We only have one girl in the glade, played by Kaya Scodelario, and finally we have young adoult adaption that doesn’t have a love triangle. May I hear an applause? She doesn’t have a lot to with her character, she didn’t wasn’t all that written into the script, she shows up and she does what she can do.

maze-runner-movie-glade

The only problems I have lays on the screenplay, specifically on the dialogue. These comments comes from someone who never read the book. I had plans on reading it, but the movie came too fast (ha, get it? Fast? Because it runs? Forget it). You’re going to hear a lot of:

“What’s this?”

“Oh, that? We call it The________.”*

Literally, there’s like six lines written in that way, and becomes especially annoying when we get to see the people who is behind of the situation and they say the same thing all over again. It looks unprofessional at some point. Another weak spot of the script is that we have some loss in the movie, it’s obvious that some characters die, but we don’t feel that loss. I’m going to be fully honest with you, I’m a bitch. I cry a lot in the movies, just some tears, not like an actual bitch. I cried when Rue died in The Hunger Games. I cried when Alfred cries in front of Wayne’s grave. People die in this film, they have some sad soundtrack, tears, slo-mo and that did nothing for me. The third act of the movie is not even that great, it really took me out sometimes. Many people say that’s in the book and that’s fine. They are faithful to the source material, but this is a movie. Yes, you can set up stuff for a sequel, however if the movie flops, you have an unfinished story. They could have sharped the script a little bit before starting shooting, and this could become one of those surprinsingly good films like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. However, I said it before in the review. I liked this film.

There’s adventure, good interactions between characters, humor relief, well-shot action, brutal deaths, good CGI for the people who likes eyecandy, well-structured grim tone and this film is not boring at all. That was my biggest fear, getting a boring movie. I think this franchise has more future than Divergent, and even if I’m a little bit annoyed by the fact there’s a lot of mystery surrounding the movie, I’m very interested in the sequel. Go, Maze Runner, go.

c+

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