The Maze Runner (2014)
Directed by Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter
Fox Films hopes that The Maze Runner will become the next teen hit on the big screen, and though it won’t ever reach the popularity of Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, it’s still pretty good. The novels were written by James Dashner and throws you right in the middle of the events that make this film so compelling.
Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in an industrial elevator without a clue how he got there. In fact, he can’t remember anything, not even his own name but soon learns that’s not out of the ordinary. When he reaches the surface, he’s greeted by a few dozen teenage boys including Alby, the leader of the group. There are a few things he explains to Thomas: They live in a simple society called the Glade, everyone has to pull their own weight, and no one except for the Runners are allowed to cross the walls.
More about those walls, it’s revealed that the group of boys are stuck in the middle of a gigantic maze with huge walls confining them. Night time is when it’s the most dangerous for the boys. At dark, the walls close up confining them in the middle. This is also when the layout of the maze shifts and when the Grivers come out (giant spider-like robotic creatures). While the rest of the boys are doing well, Thomas doesn’t buy into feeling content like most of them. He’s different. He shows tenacity, courage, and most importantly he’s curious. This gets him in trouble with the bully of the society, Gally, who blames every incident on Thomas and the way he constantly breaks their rules. But Alby and a handful other boys see the one thing that Thomas has brought them: hope.
Visually, the film is superb, which shouldn’t come as a surprise with Wes Ball in the director’s chair. The massive walls that enclose the teenagers are as intimidating as they sound, and the deeper they explore into the maze the more thrilling. Most of the film is a fun, suspenseful ride with plenty of action and surprises along the way. But the major flaw of the film comes towards its conclusion when we’re finally given the reason for why these events are happening. It’s not nearly as convincing as you would hope for, and it’s a shame because it really does ruin the film from being top-notch entertainment. I’m not even sure if I want to catch the sequel, knowing how this one ended. Can I ignore the main reason why these teenagers are fighting for their lives to survive a giant, dangerous maze? Isn’t that the whole point?