The Maze Runner: 'simplistic, yet effective'

If there was one film that I considered (and still consider) to be unique in plot and setting, it would be The Maze Runner – a 2014 film based on the young adult (YA) dystopia book of the same name by James Dashner, and another YA film in the long line of book-to-film adaptations. I have found that it is similar to the likes of The Hunger Games and the ending comparable to that of The Divergent Series: Insurgent.

The Maze Runner: 'simplistic, yet effective'

Dylan O'Brien plays our protagonist and titular Maze Runner, Thomas, who at the beginning of the film, wakes up, with no memory of how he got there (along with his name) in an area known as the Glade, surrounded by many boys/young men who are seen to be fascinated and intrigued by his arrival (and also have no memory of their life before entering the Glade). Over the next day, he begins to adjust to life in the Glade, thanks to the likes of mentor figure Alby (Aml Ameen), second-in-command Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Chuck (Blake Cooper), who are friendly and welcoming – especially Alby, who is presented in a completely opposite way compared to the book. There is also the bully/leader/villain of the male-dominated society, Gally (Will Poulter), who holds hostilities towards Thomas and leads a small group that is adamant that everyone should stay in the Glade.

Thomas later learns that the Glade is surrounded by a maze, which holds the exit that leads to the outside world, yet it is surrounded by mechanical spider monsters known as Grievers; because of this danger, some of the boys are designated as Runners who are assigned to find the exit before the doors close at the end of the day and there is a strict rule that Thomas later breaks: Only Runners can go into the maze.

Well, after breaking that rule, strange things start happening. Firstly, a girl known as Teresa (Kaya Scodelario, who looks like Kristen Stewart) turns up, followed by no supplies coming in and the maze doors staying open later on, unleashing havoc and prompting Thomas and company to fight back.

It seems to me that The Maze Runner is simplistic in setting, yet effective in the actors' performances and that it's more adventure than dystopia. I felt that the music used didn't work in the film - the sound of live music would have been better, rather than mere sound effects. However, the plot was gripping and relatively faithful to the book. What I liked most was how the director Wes Ball constructed the film largely using one setting, different types of camera movement, CGI and a group comprising of lots of boys and one girl; these aspects made the film interesting and engaging, while the cliff-hanger at the end leaves you wanting to know what happens next, in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.

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Faron Spence-Small

Faron Spence-Small

Avid reader of sci-fi fantasy books, enthusiast of spy-action movies, Marvel and DC. Currently attempting to write a sci-fi fantasy novel.

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