Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Maze Runner Review: A Solid Adaptation

In 2009, author James Dashner introduce young adults, and readers, to the story known as The Maze Runner. The book told the story of a group of teenager waking up in a massive maze where escape is unlikely and survival is key. The book was praised by readers, as well as critics, for its dynamic sense of storytelling. The novel has even gained two sequels and even a prequel. So when you have such a successful set of books, what do you do with it? Make a movie out of it, what else? Sure enough, Twentieth Century Fox has brought The Maze Runner to the silver screen.  Directed by Wes Ball, The Maze Runner looked to be just another film based on a popular novel; with its inspiration clearly from the success of the The Hunger Games. Was that the case for this rendition? Surprisingly no!

In the case of my experience, I could not tell how much the story of The Maze Runner was different from that of the novel. Yet for what it was, this thriller's plot was enticing to say the least. The story throws you right into the thick of things, which made sense for the film's concept. With Thomas and the other members of the glades all suffering from memory loss, it made sense for the plot to have a sense of confusion around it. That is where the mystery comes. Throughout the story, there was a sense of mystery behind the overall plot; one that had me guessing to end. Though the twists of this movie will not be the most shocking you'll see, they were effective for The Maze Runner's story. The story was also quickly paced. It did not seem to take long to get from one action sequence to another. While the plot could moved rather fast, the film still manage to do a remarkable job at establishing the world of The Maze Runner; even for those who have not read the book.

From watching the preview, the cast for this film seemed average. However, I was rather surprise by ensemble of the The Maze Runner. What was made this cast effective was a sense of practicality. Though some of the cast were standard character types, the group was easy to comprehend. Their struggles and sense of survival made for great development, and it also provided the right conflict between each character. The cast had decent performances to say the least. Dylan O'Brian was a solid lead as Thomas; while Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aml Ameen and  Will Poulter provided tremendous supporting performances. Unfortunately, the only weak link was Kaya Scodelario as Teresa. Teresa served her purpose, but she lacked strong development and Kaya did not have a lot of time to give a full dimension to the character. Still, the cast of The Maze Runner felt like a group of survivors, which was an impressive feat for a film in this genre.

The thing that capture the movie's atmosphere was the Maze itself. The Maze felt like its own character as it loomed over the inhabitants of the Glades. It had an interesting design with its moving, yet solid, pieces. Plus the enemies of the Glades, the Grievers, were also unique in concept. The maze, and everything within it, created the perfect tone for the film,; and the score from John Paesano also added to the film's effect.

The Maze Runner was a surprise to say the least. When it comes to  adaptions like The Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games, this film does come up a little short. However, this movie was able to stand on its own thanks to its sense mystery, its strong cast and its effective atmosphere. While I cannot say this was a solid adaption of The Maze Runner, what I can tell you is that this Sci-fi film was remarkably a solid experience.

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