Even though, the release date is on the 19th, there were some pre-screenings which were open for all to attend. So I'm lucky to have seen this movie earlier than most.
Title: The Maze Runner
Director: Wes Ball
Writers: Noah Oppenheim (screenplay), Grant Pierce Myers (screenplay), T.S. Nowlin (screenplay), James Dashner (novel)
Release date: 19th of September 2014 (in Estonia)
Genre: Action, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter
Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they're all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow "runners" for a shot at escape.
Well, this shouldn’t sound unusual, but again I haven’t read the book. But, I have been curious about it for the longest of time. Since dystopian or anything similar isn’t really even remotely my genre, then I haven’t managed to pull myself together. Fortunately, there are always movie adaption – when I’m lucky.
This movie really impressed me and I found myself enjoying it thoroughly. The plot can be overall divided into two parts. The first having a secretive, tense and foreboding atmosphere with the viewer being introduced to this small community and its inhabitants, getting to know the dynamics and reality of this clear spot within the maze and following the characters seeking answers. I was very fond of the first part, it had a decent pace, enough questions were raised and answers given to keep the story intriguing, but not frustrating and, the most important, the movie was very skilled at making me distinguish, understand the role and really care about these boys. Characterization was very well done.
The second part was also the reason I can’t really give the movie top marks. Suddenly, around 20 minutes before the end, the pace went crazy, everything started to happen all at once and the overall atmosphere was changed to overly action-packed. The ending was simply too stuffed with information, fast and it totally threw off the balance with the first part. Of course, answers were provided, those being logical and reasonable is up to debate, but it came across really messy and rushed. And, of course, even without spelling it out, there was a clear message of “to be continued” in the end.
Visually, the movie was stunning. The labyrinth was like one of the actual main characters: a little run down and faded, but vicious, limiting, careless and deceiving. The scene where Thomas and Minho are running like ants through a moving and changing maze is beyond awesome. I loved the whole look of the movie, it scored perfect marks there.
I actually read through a detailed summary of the book after seeing the movie and, let’s be honest, a bunch of aspects were obviously changed, but at least it felt as if the modifications made the movie more compact, easier to follow and even enhanced the final outcome and experience. I guess the ones who’ve read the book can comment here, but I pretty much loved what I saw.
I’m so glad we have a boy hero in a YA adaption again, they are so rare. Dylan O’Brien did wonderful, despite this role being kind of one-dimensional and there wasn’t really an opportunity to show any exceptional acting talent. But, comparing him to Teen Wolf’s Stiles, who is a complete opposite of Thomas, Dylan managed this better than expected and I was very pleased. Plus, he’s kind of geeky gorgeous, so that’s never a bad thing!
The biggest praise I think belongs to Will Poulter who was so unexpectedly manly, tough, solemn and strong as Gally. Again, a complete opposite of the only other role I’ve seen him taking on – Kenny in We're the Millers, where he was a hopeless wimp, a sympathetic and brave one, but a wimp nonetheless. The transformation was hard to miss and not be impressed by.
Chuck was such a red cheeked and chubby sweetheart who you couldn’t help but get attached to. Thomas Brodie-Sangster I will forever remember from Love Actually, but I thought he fit here perfectly; he was calm, collected and respected, even though, he’s small and delicate-looking. And finally, I’m so glad that Kaya Scodelario as Teresa wasn’t just a romantic interest. Minho was hot!
Go see it! Now, it’s without a doubt one of the best recent YA adaptions, both story-wise, visually and acting-wise. This is more a 4,5 star rating than 4, but it's not completely 5 either. Go see it!
4 (4.5) stars!