“The Maze Runner” neatly melds action and suspense. The movie is based on the book of the same title, the first in a trilogy by James Dashner, in which a boy named Thomas wakes up one day in a metal box remembering nothing except his name.
The box leads him to a mysterious place called the Glade, a safe haven surrounded by a treacherous maze that is the only way for Thomas, and about 30 other boys, to escape their prison and to go back to their lives that were taken from them.
The boys – and the viewer – must also take into account the question of who put them in the Glade and why.
There are a few minor differences between book and movie that only a keen eye could spot, but they ultimately led to the same conclusions and did not detract from the story line, which remained enthralling to the end.
To someone who hadn’t read the book, the beginning could drag. But an avid reader, like me, would attest that the exposition was necessary in order to retain the plot and to develop Dashner’s ideas. The main “moral of the story” and the motif of trust among the Gladers was developed fully without becoming superficial or annoying.
It could be argued that character development was lacking in some points (like, why do I care that he gets stuck in the Maze?), but that comes with the shortening of content a movie adaptation always brings. Overall, the establishment of attachment (or hate, for that matter) was created, and that is all that was really necessary.
Most of the actors are unknowns. But they do a good job and don’t come off as inexperienced. The viewer quickly becomes a strong advocate for Thomas – played by Dylan O’Brien of MTV’s “Teen Wolf” – and his friends and their fight against the evil within the Maze. We also share resentment against the unknown agency that sent the boys away from their families (whom they can’t remember, mind you) to the Glade in the first place.
The camera angles and special effects are aesthetically pleasing. And the computer-generated sequences are difficult to spot and blend well, a detail that is sometimes hard to come by in today’s movies. The images that couldn’t possibly be real looked it – and the unsettling feelings they gave were real enough.
The film conveys Dashner’s “this could really happen to our society, too!” idea through completely relatable characters and conflict that is realistic in its own science-fictiony way.
“The Maze Runner” did not disappoint. Book-reading fans (like myself) were happily surprised at its turnout. And although someone who hadn’t heard of the books may deem it boring at times, it is altogether an enthralling action-packed story that anyone cannot help but get into.