Movie Review: The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

Directed by Wes Ball

Based on the book series by James Dashner

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Tomatometer: 63%

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images

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

Synopsis:

When Thomas wakes up trapped in a massive maze with a group of other boys, he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization known as W.C.K.D. Only by piecing together fragments of his past with clues he discovers in the maze can Thomas hope to uncover his true purpose and a way to escape.

Disclaimer: I have not read the book. I really meant to get to it before I saw the movie. Alas, that didn’t happen. So I am coming at this review as someone who didn’t know practically anything about the movie before I saw it.

The Maze Runner is an exciting, edge-of-your-seat thrill ride, with more questions arising every minute the movie goes on. It is very stressful, fascinating, and bleak. Yay for dystopia.

Thomas wakes up in an elevator, no memory, no idea how he got there, or even who he is.

He appears in the glade, the home of a group of boys, all young.

There are no adults, and no girls. The glade is surrounded by a maze, a maze whose entrance opens every morning, and closes every night. Anyone still stuck in the maze at night is proclaimed dead. No one has survived a night in the maze. But Thomas is not like the other boys. He doesn’t care to sit around and hope the runners who run the maze every day, looking for a way out, succeed. He takes matters into his own hands, beginning to unravel a mystery that is even bigger than any of them could have imagined.

But when a girl shows up with a note stating that she’s the last, things start changing, and Thomas realizes they are running out of time.

I was very pleasantly surprised by the acting in this movie. Dylan O’Brien (Thomas) leads this mostly teenaged ensemble with surprising skill, believably moving between desperate and determined, hopeful and hopeless. A few of the boys are known for British movies, and their acting is honestly just better than many American teens. There was no one in this rather extensive cast (mostly comprised of young people) that I thought was bad. Everyone was believable,  though character development is one of the least important bits of this movie.

The Maze Runner is a lot of exactly what it sounds like, people running through the maze (specifically Thomas and the unsung hero of the movie, Minho).

The special effects are pretty awesome; most of the movie takes place in this giant maze. Things sort of go to hell when Thomas shows up, so as the movie goes on, things start to change inside the maze. It’s definitely got some exciting sci-fi elements (aside from the maze itself). Monsters known as Grievers prowl the maze at night, and no one has ever seen a Griever and lived to tell about it.

A word of warning. If you’re claustrophobic, there will be a few very unpleasant moments for you.

Get running everybody. You won’t regret it.

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