The Maze Runner looks beautiful. It contains some lovely set pieces and its special effects are strong and well done. Now if only they could have been part of a movie that is worthy of their excellence, not yet another adaption of a YA book, turned into a yawn worthy overstuffed Hollywood mess. I will confuse that I have not read the trilogy of books written by James Dashner, but considering they are so poplar, I have to assume that they are not as dreadful boring as this film based on the first novel. The Maze Runner has an interesting concept and there are many elements that could have been explored from that concept, but the film decides to make it strictly action movie and a boring one at that.
The story is about Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) a boy who finds himself waking up in an elevator, with no memory of how he got in there or what his name is. The elevator takes him to this mysterious glade, that is completely covered by giant walls. It also has a whole host of boys just like himself, who have turned the glade into a civil society, not unlike that in Lord of the Flies. The boys have a leader named Alby (Aml Ameen) who has been there the longest (3 Years) and he has his number twos Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and the hot headed Gally (Will Poulter). They explain to Thomas the rules of the glade and tell him about the Maze the surrounds it. They only send in runners during the day, to help map it out and figure a way out, and they avoid it at night because of the strange scorpion meets Transformers like creatures non as the Grievers. Also that the Maze is ever changing and that they have tried just about everything to get out already.
It seems Thomas brings a string of bad luck with him (or which he is responsible for depending on who you ask on the Glade) as soon Allby and a few other of the boys are bitten and infected and then Teresa (Kayla Scodelario) arrives, the first and only girl to ever be brought to the Glade, who comes with a note that reads “she is the last one…EVER!”. This sets off a series of events that leads to some of the characters trying to figure out how to get through the maze and discover what it all means.
The young cast which contains a lot of actors from TV shows like Teen Wolf and Games of Thrones, all do a fairly decent job with the acting here and are likely to be our next generation of young actors making a splash on the big screen. Dylan O’Brien stands out as someone who will likely be very popular with the ladies, but he proves here he an act and he handles some of the movies more challenging scenes well. Kayla Scodelario seems like she has lots of potential, though she is admittedly wasted in this film, as she is never really given anything to do, other then be the sole female character throughout most of the film.
The film is directed by Wes Ball, and it is his first film. Ball is known for his Visual effects and art direction background, so it comes as no surprise that the film is so stunning to look at. The maze itself is a thing of stunning beauty, with walls of all types of different shapes and sizes that make you stare in awe. However his inexperience as a director shows very clearly in the movies action scenes, which feel like they were lifted straight out of a Michael Bay film, with the hyper speed cutting and shaky camera work, its hard to figure out what the heck is going on sometimes. Of course it doesn’t help that the film is rated PG 13 in the states, so it has to cut away from any gore that may happen.
The film completely falls apart in the last 20 mins, as a series of events take place that are given little explanation and an ending that is clearly just a set up for a sequel but really leaves the viewer wondering what the hell the last 2 hours was really for.
By making The Maze Runner a straight action film it is really hard to care much for the boys on the glade and for a film that takes its sweet time getting to its point this really wasn’t a wise choice. Perhaps had there been a bit more of the boys working as a functioning society and how they got to that stage, the film wouldn’t have felt like one big 2 hour trailer for the next film in the series.