As a kid I dreamed of finding a real life giant maze (I blame THE SHINING for this odd desire!) But my visions of beautiful leafy green labyrinths have been violently squished by THE MAZE RUNNER, replaced instead by images of sinister concrete prisons….thanks.
Based on the novel of the same name, THE MAZE RUNNER is shrouded in mystery for the greater part of the movie (if you’ve not read the books that is!)
Our hero, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes in a glade to find a community of similarly stranded boys hemmed in by a monster-ridden maze. With no idea why they’re there, who they are, where they came from, or what the deal is with the rather elaborate maze, the film offers a hefty shovel of intrigue….
Think a mash up of THE HUNGER GAMES, LOST and LORD OF THE FLIES, with a bit of Harry Potter Triward Tournament action thrown in: It certainly ain’t Shakespeare, but it sure is fun!
Having not read the books, I found myself swept up in the mystery of THE MAZE RUNNER. Despite it’s formulaic characters and the often dodgy dialogue, I had a riot of a time…for the most part.
The film gets lost in it’s own maze in the final act, with the end leaving much to be desired – I’m all for cliff hangers, but this was just down right unsatisfying. Admittedly, this is not necessarily the fault of the filmmakers; the twist of the book may simply have been too complex to translate into one climactic visual sequence.
Whatever the reason, after a lengthy suspenseful build up, the eventual conclusion is a bit of a letdown.
This is Wes Ball’s first stint in the director’s chair of a feature film, and while he injects great enthusiasm and energy into the project, his inexperience is evident. THE MAZE RUNNER ‘borrows’ countless ideas from other films (eg. many maze shots are incredibly reminiscent of the Shelob’s lair sequence in LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING). While I’m all for taking inspiration from fellow movies, there is a slight lack of originality here in terms of film conventions.
The likeable cast is solid but not startling (and all quite odd looking…what’s with that?)
But enough ‘picking’. The reality is, there are films that are made for the critics, and films made for the viewers. This is the latter and I’m all for it! There are plot holes, there are bits that made me laugh (that shouldn’t have) but all in all I had a ball watching THE MAZE RUNNER. Good thing too ‘cos I sense a sequel coming on!
THE MAZE RUNNER: It’s action packed, accessible and suspenseful. In a nutshell, it makes great popcorn fodder. I rate it 6 stars.