Friday, September 19, 2014

The Maze Runner review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
Two young boys try to survive the Maze in The Maze Runner

            In the years of teen fantasy novels being adapted into films, from Harry Potter to Twilight and The Hunger Games to Divergent, we have a film adaptation of James Dashner’s 2009 novel, The Maze Runner and the directional debut of newcomer, Wes Ball. Now I have not read the original book so I don’t know how accurate the film is, but as a movie, it certainly kept me guessing all the way through and mesmerized by its special effects and set design, but is it the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games? Probably not.
            The film stars Dylan O’Brien (Teen Wolf, New Girl, The Internship) as Thomas, a teenage boy who has amnesia after he wakes up trapped in a giant maze with a group of other kids who have been surviving in the maze for about three years. He has no memory of the outside world other than these dreams that he keep having about a mysterious organization known as the W.C.K.D.
            It is hinted that the W.C.K.D. organization may have been responsible for trapping all these kids into the maze and creating these threatening mechanical insect beasts known as the Grievers who have been hunting down and killing past maze prisoners.
            So Thomas must slowly put all the pieces together and survive the maze to figure out what is really going on here, with a little help from the other kids, Alby (Aml Ameen-CSI: Miami, Red Tails, Lee Daniels’ The Butler), leader of the maze prisoners, Gally (Will Poulter-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, We’re the Millers), second in command, Teresa Agnes (Kaya Scodelario-Moon), a girl who wakes up in the maze who is claimed to know Thomas, Zart (Joe Adler-Prom), the youngest of the group who befriends Thomas, and a few others like Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster-Phineas and Ferb, Nanny McPhee, Game of Thrones), Winston (Alexander Flores-The Wackness, Delivery Man, Rescue Me), and Ben (Chris Sheffield-The Last Ship, Greek, NCIS).
            Overall, The Maze Runner is a gritty but enjoyable teen adventure, though maybe die-hard fans of the book may not find the film completely accurate. Like I said, I haven’t read the book so I can’t judge the accuracy of the movie.
            But as is, the premise is very clever and a little frightening at the same time, a group of kids stuck in a giant maze with no way out, it’s pretty terrifying. Not to mention the overall design of the Grievers are just plain awesome, giant spiders with mechanical legs and a giant stinger, it almost looked like one of those weird Decepticon pawns from the Transformers movies.
            Granted the concept is clever but a lot of scenes seem to hit many familiar marks from films like The Hunger Games, Lord of the Flies, and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, but it’s not that distracting. It’s a fun sci-fi action/adventure, whether you’re a fan of the book or not, you may find something to enjoy, whether it’s the suspense, the kids, or the Grievers.

            It’s no Harry Potter or Hunger Games, but it doesn’t have to be, so go ahead and buy a ticket, enter the Maze, and experience it for yourself.

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