The Maze Runner
Director: Wes Ball
Writer: Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, T.S. Nowlin
Based on: James Dashner’s novel
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Aml Ameen, Blake Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson
Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) finds himself among a group of other teenage boys in the middle of a maze. He has no memories of his previous life and no idea why he or the other boys are in the maze in the first place – none of them do. But they try their best to solve it and get out of there. But the maze is a dangerous, even deadly place and despite their best attempts to map it, they haven’t been successful so far. And then a mostly unconscious girl (Kaya Scodelario) is delivered to them, causing further confusion.
I was less than enthusiastic about the book and I am not sure whether I was even less enthusiastic about the film, or just equally unimpressed. In any case I was glad I won tickets and didn’t spend any money for it.
There were actually two major improvements from the novel in the film: One, there is no telepathic connection between Thomas and Teresa – and thank fuck for that. Two, the solution to the maze does not involve any kind of spelling on the maze’s part, which is fucking awesome. There is also the additional bonus of Patricia Clarkson, even though she doesn’t get enough to do by far.
But unfortunately the film didn’t improve on the stupidity of the explanation (and let’s be honest, if they had, the film would have been so different from the book that it would have been barely recognizable). It also didn’t improve the shallow characterization or the general predictability. And seeing that sausage-fest with the token girl wasn’t any better on screen than in the book.
It was also an issue that 90% of the action happens in the dark and with shaky cam, so that you never really know what happens in the scenes (several times I was surprised that certain characters were still alive as I was quite sure that I had just seen them die). Though when it comes to the grievers I wish that they had left me in the dark because I had imagined them to be so much more awesome than just oversized spiders with screwdrivers.
The cast wasn’t bad, but unfortunately the script was. The dialogues were ridiculous in general and they really could have renamed Thomas Brodie-Sangster’s Newt into Info-Dump since that was all he got to do. And there were so. many. plotholes.
All put together, the film felt about twice as long as it actually was – and it’s already rather long. Despite Dylan O’Brien’s (and the rest of the cast’s) talent and charm.