The Maze Runner: A review

Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Aml Ameen, Will Poulter

Director: Wes Ball

Running Time: 113mins

Release Date: 10th October 2014

Good enough to anticipate a sequel

Stripped of all memories except his name, a boy named Thomas is sent into the centre of a huge but mysterious maze, where he is trapped along with 30 other boys, also suffering from amnesia. They have no information about the world beyond, or even what lies within the maze outside the centre. But for many the centre is enough, and within they have built a form of home for themselves. However, with the entrance of the curious Thomas, change is coming….

If you are someone who enjoyed the Hunger Games movies, then it’s very likely that you will enjoy this one. The Maze Runner and the Hunger Games do have certain similarities, including the theme of teenagers being pushed into the role of adults without preparation, whether in making decisions on life and death or being forced into an area against their will. Plus although the content is warranted, there isn’t a lot of blood or gore included most of it left to imagination which is surprisingly effective.

As for the plot say it is better than the Hunger Games to an extent. Although the backstory is as vague, there is more of an attempt to explain what has actually happened to warrant the film’s events, just enough to leave you anticipating more about it, instead of just explaining the entire past in the first scene of the first movie and almost never elaborates afterwards. You really do want to you why the maze is so dangerous and why in particular the kids were put in there in the first place. However my criticism about the plot is that the revelation at the end feels too complicated.  Not to spoil anything, but after the big twist, you will probably be left thinking, “Really? You had to do THAT much?”

I’ve never really gone into the cinematography of a film, but there are moments in the film where the camerawork is splendid. One example is when two are running through the maze, and they pass through walls painted with section numbers, and it just presents how colossal their “prison” is, and how it is possible that they have been stuck here for 3 years with no hope of escape.

My weak link however, comes from the characters: Aml Ameen as Alby does well as the de facto leader of the group. You can see how much he has to struggle to hold everyone together especially through the hard times, with the stony face but tearful eyes. The main character, Thomas (Dylan O’ Brien) feels like a blank slate, but weirdly enough it works: Stripped of all memories except for your name, you can’t be expected to develop a personality in only a few days. However with the attention lavished on him, Thomas does run the danger of becoming a Mary Sue-a character who is incredibly perfect without the personality or the struggle to back it up.

The weakest for me however is Gally (Will Poulter), who does start out well as someone who likes to throw weight around but does have some form of humanity, but over the course of the film starts to devolve into the one-dimensional bully that becomes so unlikeable that its almost boring. It would have been preferable if the film went more into him, as to why he acts like the way he does-perhaps a sub-conscious instinct. But he never does, and in a way his deeds become predictable.

Overall, I give the Maze Runner 4 out of 5. A few bumps here and there, but good enough for me to eagerly anticipate a sequel.

 

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