The Maze Runner
Sixteen year-old Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in an elevator not remembering anything about himself or his past. The elevator opens up to a grassy clearing with a group of boys surrounding him. There’s leader Alby (Aml Ameen), Alby’s best friend Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), friendly fat kid (Blake Cooper), Gally (Will Poulter) who distrusts Thomas, and lead runner Minho (Ki Mong Lee). Thomas quickly learns that his peers have been trapped here for three years, with a new kid coming up every month, and the walls that surround their peaceful living are those to a maze that is home to killer monsters known as Grievers (no one has seen one and lived to tell about it.) Every day the group sends a few guys into the maze — Runners — looking for a way out; the only problem is the maze changes every night. But things start to change as one runner, Ben, is stung and runs amok in broad daylight, then a teen girl, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), is thrown up into the mix with a note that she’s the last one ever. The pressure is on to find a way out, with Thomas leading the way, will they succeed?
The problems with The Maze Runner seem to be that it was a fairly faithful adaptation of the book, or so it seems from what I can glean from wikipedia, which is a shame because it has a premise that provokes curiosity, yet fails to live up to it and ends very much with a “to be continued…” that seems like a second slap in the face. Now the maze — the thing that everyone is curious about — is a basic labyrinth with towering concrete walls that move, some of which are covered with ivy, that is home to some large bio-mechanical spiders. What’s wrong with that? It’s very basic. And considering they hold on to the maze so long before you actually see inside it, the actual payoff to the mystery (and the premise of the movie for that matter) is quite ho-hum. What also doesn’t help the story is the fact that none of the kids can remember anything about their pasts also limits the character development and so again everything feels a little basic. The acting is surprisingly not that bad considering the younger actors that populate the screen, and the visual effects are quite good considering they were done on a budget, especially the action scenes in the latter half. But nothing can make up for the limited exploration of the premise, so I can’t really recommend people to check it out in theaters without reservations.