Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner - 113min - PG-13

The Maze Runner is equal parts Lord of the Flies and LOST. As a Young Adult (YA) movie, it was well done for the target audience. The Lost format is a gamble because if the audience gets, um.. lost you run the risk of disengaging them if the questions are not answered to their satisfaction. As enjoyable a ride as it was, the eleven-year-old boy in me was filled with questions. They wrote the film in a way that keeps the audience ignorant of much of the history. The viewer has to be left in the dark because they are laying down a new universe and they get information at the same time as the main character. The action and the setting were enough to keep me engaged, but only just, thus I give this movie a Yellow light for its Meh 'Sokay kind of a film.

Thomas (Dylan O'Brian) is on an elevator deep underground. He has no memory of why he is there or who he is. He finds himself in a place called The Glade with other young boys who also arrived in that same fashion. Every month a new boy is sent to the surface with supplies. All of them are mind wiped.

The Glade is at the center of a maze that changes nightly. At night the Maze closes up because deadly creatures known as Grievers roam the maze. At first light, a team of boys known as runners get ready to explore the maze looking for a way out. At night they come back to the safety of The Glade.

The boys have been living like this for three years. Now with the arrival of Thomas things start to change. The tribe of boys is led by the oldest, Alby (Aml Ameen) \ with Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) as his second in command. The muscle of the tribe is called Gally (Will Poulter).

Thomas is different than the other people who arrived by elevator because he is notably more curious than the previous boys. Gally doesn't care for Thomas because he is different and his arrival coincides with other changes in the glade so he believes that Thomas is a harbinger of bad things to come.

A few days later another elevator arrives with a girl, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario). She has no supplies, only a scrap of paper in her hand declaring "This is the last one EVER".

The boys panic because the walls open up and the Grievers attack. The boys have to choose between staying and fighting or making a push to get out of the maze.

The end of the movie resolves some of the questions we have and in true LOST fashion they are coupled with more questions that hook you to the sequel to get the answers.

This movie franchise seems to have potential. The Director (Wes Ball) has a diverse résumé but for direction this is his first feature length film. This project is challenging because you have to balance a lot. I haven't read the books so I am taking the journey right along with the main character. I am willing to follow along at least for another film. However if it continues down the LOST path and resolves and creates more questions I am out.

Most of the answers come in the last 15 min of the movie. I'm sure that most of what I am wondering can be found in the book. That transition from book to film can be challenging because you can provide lots of information to the reader. A movie has a harder time of relaying information in an entertaining way. A story told on screen needs to be just as strong as one in print.

Each story is going to be about the same thing but told in a different way and both have to stand on their own merits. This story is another attempt to cash in on The Hunger Games like franchise. It too was a YA book and rides along the wave of like-minded stories from that genera. We've seen a lot of books to movies ever since the Harry Potter franchise ended and created a vacuum in the YA books and movies.

As far as The Maze Runner goes, I was only mildly interested until the big questions came in at the end. So as written they did their job as hooks for a sequel. I am only in it until they show me what they can do on the next film. You got a foot in the door, impress me.

If you want to go into more detail about the movie and how the end affected the story please drop me a line at we can talk about it away from this blog.

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