Movie Review: The Maze Runner
Stars: Dylen O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images, Running time 113 minutes, Action/Sci-fi
Compare to: Divergent (2014)
Young adult adapted films seem to be second runner to comic book movies these days. They’re always coming out, since Harry Potter and The Hunger Games proved to be highly profitable, it’s just a matter of whether or not its worth your time.
Getting to the point, this will be well worth your kids’ time, providing the right kind of suspense and action needed to keep’em pressed to their seat, though older audience members may be left wanting.
When Thomas awakes inside of a giant maze, his amnesia is only worsened by the fact that the other young males stuck in the same situation are just as clueless as him. At the center of a giant maze, the group has made a life a la Lord of the Flies, with daily trips through the maze to see if there’s a way out. But Thomas’ appearance may change everything.
And there’s your plot. Interesting enough, though with an all teenage cast (The characters anyway), one wonders if the twists we’re bound to face will go beyond the target audiences’ expectations. They don’t.
I’m not going to write a 5-600 word essay talking down about a bunch of actors, writers, and crew to pretend I’m so superior, but the more the film is on my mind the less sense it makes. The initial set-up of a bunch of teenage boys stuck in the middle of a maze is interesting enough, with decent performances to add (something that can go overlooked when a film just isn’t very good in general), but these things don’t save a film when we know this is going to add up to…a sequel set up.
Last May’s A Million Ways to Die in the West drew criticisms on the critics of the film stating that the film’s writer/director/lead actor Seth Macfarlane was the subject of disdain rather than the film itself. There is truth to this, but when the same thing is put out over and over, how can the newest blandest product go without being compared to the last bland film that’s been released?
Why am I bringing up that film at all? Because The Maze Runner has its positives but still falls into every cliche pitfall of other young adult film that’s released hoping to climb the same latter as Harry Potter. A bunch of kids with undertones and themes of puberty pretend to be adults and go through some crazy situations only to wind up at the beginning of the next movie.
It makes you wonder why they didn’t just go ahead and tell the second movie first, then make a prequel. That way, all the twists and turns we take actually lead up to audience members saying to themselves “Ohh, so THAT’S what [the lead character] was talking about in the first one!” And you’ve got your full movie rather than the two hours in took to say “Tune in next time!”
Far be it from me to say “Hey Hollywood, lemme tell you how to make a movie!” (As if the majority of my 2012 posts weren’t doing that) but don’t make me sit through a couple hours of screaming, sweaty boys and not give me anything in the ending past a few vague clues that will actually be revealed in 2016’s The Maze Runner 2: Still Runnin’.
Postives: Nobody can say these guys (and one girl) aren’t capable of acting. Interesting plot, great effects on the Grievers; alien robot sentries it seems.
Negatives: One giant set-up for a sequel. That’s all this is.