MAZE RUNNER Movie Review
It’s that time of year again folks. Angst ridden teens put in ridiculous situations all the while being told that they’re special, they’re different, they’re curious. It’s time for another Twilight/Hunger Games/Harry Potter knock off. This time around this genre, it’s depressing by the way that this can technically be classed as a movie genre, has captured a personal favourite of mine, Dylan O’Brien of Teen Wolf fame and put him in the role all teenagers want to be in, the reluctant hero who starts off as nothing and rises to something grander. I give you Agent Of Geek’s review of Maze Runner a.k.a. the movie you hope will tide you over until Hunger Games: Mockingjay comes out in November.
Maze Runner open with our nameless hero (O’Brien) finding himself in a glade filled with other teenage boys with no memory of who he is and why he is there. Through a series of questions we learn that no one knows why they are there or even where they are. All they know is every month they get a new “greenie” as well as some supplies and also that they are surrounded by a huge maze which is filled with traps and monsters. Eventually, our hero figures out his name and then tries to unravel the mystery of the maze and the mystery of why they are all there.
Maze Runner is nothing new sadly. It has all the same steps that every Harry Potter knock off has had for the last decade. There has got to be a better and more innovative ways of giving exposition. The continuing questions just felt tiresome after the fourth or fifth time Thomas walks up to someone and goes, “so what’s going on?” I will say, though the story is fairly generic, the characters are pretty interesting. The relationships are decent especially between Thomas and Chuck (Blake Cooper) who is like a little brother to our hero. Another problem though, is that there are no real substantial villains except for the “grievers”, who are obviously nothing but minions to something much bigger. Unfortunately you never get to see that bigger bad in the movie. You get a lot of sequel baiting which infuriated me but you do get a decent climatic battle which does tug at the heart strings. It would have worked a lot better had the movie let the scene breath instead of throwing in sequel bait.
What really shines though is the the scenery. The maze itself is glorious, brimming with terror and uncertainty and when we were in the maze, I was totally in. However, the majority of Maze Runner is set outside of the maze and is all about the trials and tribulations of the “gladers”, which after awhile got a little boring. The worst part however for Maze Runner had to be Kaya Scodelario who plays the only girl in the group, Teresa. Teresa is billed in all the trailers as a kind of wildcard to the already volatile situation, she even is introduced as already knowing Thomas somehow, but once the initial surprise is over she really does nothing to contribute to the group or the movie. It’s a wasted character which wastes a lot of screen time but it is one of the tropes of this genre so I guess we have to live with it.
At the end of the day, Maze Runner is nothing special. It’s vanilla Lord Of The Flies meets surprisingly well groomed hair. Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter and Blake Cooper give a decent turn as a band of brothers trying to survive in the harshest of conditions. The action at times is intense and the special effects are admirable but twenty minutes of exposition discussions, a boring female lead and questions that are not answered leaves Maze Runner closer to Divergent than Hunger Games. Bring on the inevitable sequel, which, by the time you read this review, is already going into production. Let’s just hope that the Maze Runners sequel goes the way of The Hunger Games franchise and improves on what’s good about this movie and gets rid of all the dead weight.