Fans of The Maze Runner books will be the first to tell you that to lump that series in with all the other dystopian young adult novels would be a huge mistake. The same could be said for the film version of The Maze Runner. It is not even in the same league as other films, such as Divergent or The Hunger Games. To us, it’s like comparing apples and orangutans.
James Dashner’s novel may have centered on young men (and one woman) who find themselves trapped in a grassy home called the Glades. It is surrounded by an enormous maze that is the key to getting out. No one who lives there remembers how they got there and no one has ever successfully made it out. The thing about Dashner’s work is that anyone could be trapped in this situation, young or more mature. This is a story about survival and the unstoppable human will to achieve it.
Dylan O’Brien (The Internship, TV’s Teen Wolf) is Thomas and our story is told completely through his eyes. Heck, the film even begins from his perspective in a freight elevator that is hurtling towards the surface. The doors open and Will Poulter’s Gally says, (as seen in The Maze Runner trailer), “Rise and shine greenie, day one.” And we’re off.
You won’t get too much of the plot details from us other than what we’ve already reported above. This film has too many moving parts to reveal much more and for that we applaud it. Dashner has crafted a landscape that is fascinating to say the least. And the thing about his cast of characters is that there is some part of each of them that anyone in the audience can relate to. Director Wes Ball knows that and utilizes that aspect to further make this story applicable in the sense that the viewer will routinely ask, “How would I respond?”
It is a strong ensemble of young people who inhabit the roles of the “Gladers.” The film works or doesn’t work based on the performance of O’Brien. And let’s just say he is a revelation. The way he criss crosses between innocent naïf and soul who is firmly in command of the situation he finds himself in is uncanny. We truly believe that this “greenie” that has only been in the Glades for three days, would rise above the challenge and find an inner strength that will inspire all those around him.
The Maze Runner does suffer from pacing issues. Just went we get sucked into a dramatic and thrilling sequence, it seems to fail to flow well during the in between beats. The talented young cast can only do so much with it and some may find it a tad boring as exposition takes over for action.
Our The Maze Runner review hopes that audiences turn out in droves for this, because there is much more to Dashner’s world and that is teased in the film’s final moments. It is the rare young adult novel turned big screen adventure, for us lately, that leaves us with that feeling of wanting more. And we want more.