MOVIE REVIEW: “The Maze Runner” is a standout literary adaption

First came “Harry Potter”, then came “The Hunger Games”, then “Divergent”, and now comes “The Maze Runner”, the new Young Adult (YA) Novel adaption to hit the big screen. After numerous failures from YA movies like “Vampire Academy”, “Beautiful Creatures” and “I Am Number Four”, studios are still trying to reach out to adolescent fans through these literary movies, and giving directors a chance to make real works of art from the pages of a novel. 20th Century Fox tries their hand at this hot genre for a second time, following their massive success with this past summer’s “The Fault in Our Stars” with a new dystopian thriller “The Maze Runner”. Is their new film a hit? Or is it another big company trying to match Lionsgate on “The Hunger Games”?

“The Maze Runner” does resemble “The Hunger Games” at first glance, and I mean that in the best possible way. The film has a very natural look about it, with it’s color palette consisting of neutral colors, dim lighting and natural environments. The film is sharp though, the special effects are spectacular, the direction is clean and effective, with sporty editing and stunning cinematography, “The Maze Runner” certainly succeeds from a aesthetic standpoint, but is the actual film surrounding it any good?

The movie is good. The movie is really good.

As someone who read “The Maze Runner”, I am incredibly satisfied with the film version of it. While I can’t speak for every change they made to the movie in terms of what was in the book and what wasn’t. The movie is a very strong entry into the already crowded YA genre. I’d even go so far as to say it’s the best non-sequel YA movie since the first entry of “The Hunger Games”, which is a high bar in my eyes.

Here’s the rundown, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) finds himself in an elevator with no memory whatsoever, when the elevator comes to a stop, he is pulled out by a group of adolescent boys in an enclosed, grassy area called “The Glade”. The boys already there have built a civilization out of nothing and have survived as such for three years, with no recollection of any life before coming, and no idea why they were put there. Outside of The Glade, there’s a maze that is key to escaping to freedom, the only problem is the maze keeps changing and inside the maze are mechanical beasts called “Grievers”. Thomas is hellbent from the start to enter the maze and find his way out, but is interrupted when another person arrives in the elevator, a girl (Kaya Scodelario), who at first glance, recognizes Thomas.

“The Maze Runner” is a showcase for the future of young Hollywood, with wonderful performances from the cast all around. There was no real standout performer of the film simply because everyone was spectacular as a whole, which is not an easy accomplishment given the sheer size of the cast including Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki-Hong Lee, Blake Cooper and Will Poulter to name the bare relevant minimum.

I really hope “The Maze Runner” does well at the box office (judging by how many people were in my IMAX theatre and how many more people were going into the standard showing next door, I doubt it will be a problem), because I really want to see how this series progresses. The acting is wonderful, especially for this not being a dialogue driven tearjerker a la “If I Stay” and “The Fault in Our Stars”. The direction is top notch for the first film in a series. It may not be as groundbreaking as “The Hunger Games”, but the timing is offset by how engrossing the film is. “The Maze Runner” is not only wonderful entertainment, it’s simply well made filmmaking, which is hard to come by in something that doesn’t already have a Marvel name on it.



Directed by: Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki-Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Will Poulter and Patricia Clarkson.
Runtime: 113 minutes
Rated: PG-13 for thematic elements, and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images.
Also available in IMAX theatres.

Twentieth Century Fox presents, a Gotham Group/Temple Hill production, “The Maze Runner”

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Copyright 2018