REVIEW: The Maze Runner (2014) for those who haven’t read the book

By Danielle Sendou Ringgit


WHEN THE TRAILER FOR ‘The Maze Runner’ first showed in theatres, the first thing I thought was, “Oh no, not another book-to-film adaptation.”

While most might have read the book first before watching this book-to-movie adaptation, I thought that it might be best to just surprise myself and not set my expectations too high. One can set a ridiculously high standard for a movie adapted from a book only to be disappointed that the movie script does not follow the book entirely. (How do you expect to fit over 300 pages into a two-hour movie?)

Before watching the film, the only thing I knew about it was that it was from the young adult post-apocalyptic genre. While I was expecting it to be filled with endless suffering and people bowing down to an evil highest power before deciding to go against said evil dictator, it did not really turn out the way I thought it would.

At the start of the movie, the main protagonist, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) arrives in a caged box that opens up in the middle of a large open field its occupants call ‘the Glade’ with no memories of his name and origin. He later finds out that one boy has been arriving there every month for the last three years – similarly with no memories of themselves.

Like any newcomer, Thomas is scared and confused when he first arrives, breaking off into a sprint which pretty much indicates he will be picked as a runner later on in the movie.

Unlike the others, however, he is highly curious about everything. Also unlike the others, he regains the memory of his name much sooner, the only thing ‘they’ let the boys keep, says leader of the Glade, Alby (Aml Ameen).

Among the first things he asks about and is impossibly drawn to when he comes to the Glade is the big, towering stone maze that surround it.

He is later informed by Alby, his second-in-command Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), and Chuck (Blake Cooper), the friend he treats more like his little brother, that the Maze changes its configuration every night after the doors close and that none of the boys are allowed to enter it during the day with the exception of the strongest and fastest ones called the Runners led by Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Keeper of the Runners.

For three years the boys have lived in relative predictable peacefulness, in an environment that does not stray very far from routine: daytime allows the boys to farm and run through the Maze to map it and look for a way out, nighttime is lights out when all the creepy-crawleys roam the Maze, and when the Maze doors close for the night allowing it to change its calibration.

Everything has remained according to schedule until the arrival of Thomas and later the only girl in the movie – Teresa (Kaya Scodelario). Thomas keeps breaking the rules of survival in the Glade which seems to set off some unpredictable chain of events that ruin this schedule. His main opponent is Gally (Will Poulter), who puts the blame on Thomas for the negative repercussions.

As interesting and twisted as the movie is, I found it annoying that none of the boys are curious about the maze until Thomas arrives to the Glade. After only three days, he figures out a real clue which becomes vital for their escape from the Glade.

Other things I don’t really understand is why nobody wonders why the Grievers, which are the massive spiders that roam the maze, are half robot and half alien. It all seems simply put down to that nobody who’s been trapped in the maze has lived to tell about it.

Some confusing bits for those who have not read the book is how they receive the supplies for their farming and what Teresa’s purpose in the movie is, since she doesn’t do very much after she arrives.

That being said, the action part was not bad at all as the chasing and running away from the Grievers might have left the audience hyperventilating and breathless in parts throughout the movie.

That being said, for someone who did not read the book, the movie turned out to be quite interesting and well written as I thought that the plot went rather smoothly right until the ending where it turns out quite twisted (the way I like it).

Never once was my attention diverted throughout the movie but it left me wanting to know more as I genuinely could not anticipate how it would turn out in the end.

This seems to be one of those movies where knowledge of the book does not necessarily impact the movie adaptation as the film itself is actually quite satisfying on its own.

My score? 4 out of 5.

The Maze Runner
Director: Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Dexter Darden, Kaya Scodelario,
Rating: PG-13
Running time: 113 minutes.


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