After his memory is wiped, Thomas is thrown onto an island which has been closed off by huge walls surrounding all sides. Inside the walls, a small community has flourished led by the fearless and first prisoner, Albi. Thomas though is curious to see what lies beyond the maze.
So next in line in adapting anything that has a YA stamp on is The Maze Runner. Based on a book of the same name we have Thomas, (Dylan O Brien) our titular hero who wakes to find himself inside a lift heading up. At the top he tries to run only to realise there’s a huge fricking concrete wall before him, and many more people too led by the kind but stern and fearless Albi, (Aml Ameen). Albi has built quite a nice community for himself and fellow prisoners, there are builders, cooks, a medic, and runners who enter the labyrinth in the morning when the doors open and return by night.
And right from the get go, we and Thomas is assured that “there’s something special,” about him. Aren’t they all these days? Whatever happened to normal teenagers? Joking aside though, Thomas seems to be the only one questioning why he and the rest are on this island and is willing to risk his life and face what is beyond the labyrinth. There is a nice build-up as to when Thomas will eventually enter the maze. We are given just the right amount of time to care about most of the kids trapped on this island and enough teases about what creatures are lurking behind those walls as well as why Thomas is so special.
First time director Wes Ball got his start in set design and I believe The Maze Runner was just the right movie for his debut. Once Thomas and we the audience enters the maze it is quite stunning as well as dark and gloomy. How those kids are able to memorise the whole thing is beyond me.
Parallels have been drawn to The Hunger Games which is very pointless in my opinion. The only similarities that the two share are that they involve young adults. Where the Hunger Games has the getting old as shit something to say to the one percent, The Maze Runner is straight up adventure and mystery. Last time I checked that wasn’t a bad thing. Maybe I am missing something here but I couldn’t care less, stop comparing the two and just enjoy them for what they are. Entertaining movies.
Rant aside, personally I would have liked a bit more character development with Kaya Scodelarios’ character Teresa who pops up half way through the movie. She and Thomas share a past but not much is done with her character although I expect there to more of her in the sequel.
As for the rest of the cast they’re pretty damn solid. O’Brien is believable playing curious and agile as well as terrified lead. Ameen pulls off the leader well. Strong supporters are Thomas Brodie-Sangster as the second in command, Ki-Hong Lee as a runner who joins and befriends Thomas, and Will Poulter as the tough guy and somewhat antagonist.
Although I want to say so much more, that would be giving too much of the plot away. Having not read the book I was glued to my seat throughout, the pace is well executed and the subtle teases are a joy. Action and suspense are handled well and the big bad twist although slightly predictable does deliver a massive punch.
Not “just another entry” into the YA roster of films being adapted of late. The Maze Runner is everything you would want in a blockbuster. Good acting, suspense, a story line that doesn’t confuse and keeps you there throughout its entirety and leaves us wanting more.
Director: Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Patricia Clarkson, Aml Ameen
Running Time: 113 minutes
Release Date: 10th October 2014