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MOVIE REVIEW: The Maze Runner

| 11 September 2014 | Reply

MOVIE REVIEW: The Maze Runner
Directed by Wes Ball
Starring Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Dexter Darden, Patricia Clarkson
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
6.5/10

The Maze Runner movie poster

Based on the first book of a Young Adult trilogy (a quadrilogy if you include his recent prequel) by James Dashner, The Maze Runner was always going to be part one of a franchise, but we haven’t seen a movie left hanging so open-endedly since The Lord Of Rings or Hobbit films.

That aside, the tale of Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), a young fella who wakes up wet and spluttering in a lift which – what’s the opposite of plummets? – skywards to a square field known as The Glade in the centre of a huge, movable, concrete maze is a well-made and exciting enough movie which will definitely entertain its target demographic in their teens and early-twenties.

Like the rest of the few-dozen young men who’ve been in The Glade for up to three years, Thomas has no recollection of his past life, who is controlling the Maze, or how they put him in there.

Thomas immediately challenges the nervous equilibrium, entering the maze after Alby and Minho (Aml Ameen and Ki Hong Lee, both of whom deliver standout performances) and against the rules, and bringing down a full assault from the half-organic, half-mechanical spider-like creatures who prowl the construction, as well as a personal conflict between himself and tough guy Gally (Will Poulter), who wants to rule by not upsetting the Maze Keepers. The admission of Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) into the mix – the only girl ever sent to The Glade – provides so little romantic or societal tension of any kind that her character may as well have been named ‘token’.

Without giving too much away, we edge closer to a climax and things get more and more clichéd, with all the characters bar Thomas becoming pretty characterless before a trite ending in which the head of the bad guys (Patricia Clarkson) literally explains the entire back story of The Maze away in 3 minutes flat, before making an announcement that was probably meant to be chilling, but was actually a pretty obvious set-up for Part II of the franchise.

There’s nothing particularly original about The Maze Runner – elements of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Lord Of The Flies mesh with The Cube, and there’s plenty of similar themes to The Hunger Games, another big young adult franchise. The heroic little guy versus faceless oppressors, ‘get out or die trying’ message of the story are tailor-made to appeal to kids full of hope they will be able to live out their own fantasies one day, and the movie is scripted well and given a great look full of amazing effects all the way through the finish line.

Will I ever watch it again? Nah… but they didn’t make it for me. Get it for the teen in your life for Christmas, they’ll love it.

Shane

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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