Maze Runner – ★ ★ ★ DVD Review
So many “young adult” novels are being made into movies these days, that it makes me wish I was young, or not so much of an adult. Let’s see what we’ve got this time.
For three years young men have been sent up an elevator shaft to a mysterious glade that is surrounded by a massive maze. The maze opens at sunrise and closes at sundown. The inhabitants of the Glade (or Gladers as they call themselves) arrive with no memory, but slowly get their name’s back at least. Once they’ve acclimatized to the Glade, they’re put to work. Some are farmers, some are hunters, some are builders and some are runners. The runners have spent their time mapping the maze, trying to figure out if there is a way out. Filled with traps and monsters, the maze kills. Life for the Gladers is pretty routine, until Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) arrives. He is more curious than the others, and he immediately upsets the status quo, which puts him at odds with some of the other boys, but endears him to the rest. Questioning the maze, he disobeys the Glader’s rules but helps kill a monster, which turns out to be mechanical as well as animal, giving them more clues as to why they are all there. That seems to have angered whoever has put them together, because the elevator rises with a new resident for the Glade, with a note attached, saying “this is the last one”, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) comes to the Glade. The first girl, is the last person to join their ranks. Now all feel that the need to escape the Glade and conquer the Maze is more pressing than ever.
The film was fairly enjoyable, if not a bit predictable. The conflicts between the newcomers and the established Gladers was obvious, and very “Lord of the Flies”-like. The effects were decent, and the cast was likeable, which moved the story along at a fairly quick pace. The film is based on a series of books, and the ending is left wide open for follow-ups, probably to be determined by the financial success of the first one. There wasn’t much that really seemed to set Maze Runner apart from the other recent films in this seemingly new genre. It borrowed from Hunger Games, had elements of Cube, and a cast of characters that could be from any of the other dystopian future stories we’re being fed today. It was enjoyable but it didn’t really challenge me in any way. I’m sure it would be much better received by a teenage audience, than by myself. Maze Runner was certainly watchable and an enjoyable enough popcorn film, if nothing else.
Bottom Line: I may not be a young adult anymore, but there’s no the point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes. (Doctor Who: Robot, thanks Tom Baker!)