Movie Review – The Maze Runner (2014)

Director: Wes Ball

Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario

Thomas (O’Brien) wakes up in an elevator and emerges into a lush green glade with a crowd of boys staring at him. Turns out they’ve all been through this and remember nothing apart from their names. Surrounding them is a great big maze that changes every night and holds certain terrors. Then, as things begin to change, a girl arrives from the elevator with a note, and she seems to recognise Thomas…

I was filled with trepidation when I went to see The Maze Runner. I actually had a choice between this and Dracula Untold but my love of mazes won out. I was afraid that it would be a clone of things like The Hunger Games and Divergent. It does follow a similar formula but I feel it has merit to stand on its own.

I like the concept of a maze and I loved the Lord of the Flies feeling. I also got a strong Lost vibe as well. The maze was cool and I liked the layout of it, but one of the big things was that no-one had ever survived a night in the maze, however, it didn’t really seem all that hard to survive a night.

There were some other things I didn’t like. At the beginning there are characters withholding information for no good reason, and this is one thing that annoys me no end. There are a few other logical inconsistencies as well and I’m sure they’d be explained in the book but I don’t think movies should rely on extraneous materials to make sense. There’s one gregarious instance of this at the end of the film that tries to force an emotional climax but it rings false and thus is devoid of impact.

As the film goes on we’re given hints at the mystery underlying the maze. It’s fairly interesting, although it raises more questions than it answers. The sequel baiting isn’t too bad though, although I think one further twist at the end could have been saved for the sequel. The characters were okay although I found it difficult to become invested in them as there wasn’t much that defined them outside of escaping the maze.

Overall I thought it was pretty good. It does do that thing where it teases a bigger mystery and we’ll see whether it’s worth the intrigue when the sequels come out.

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