In perhaps one of the most popular releases of the month, “The Maze Runner” slammed into the number one position in the box office at $32.5 million. Based on the novel by James Dashner, and starring Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario, the movie keeps the plot fresh and audiences on their toes.
“The Maze Runner” opens with a mysterious ascending box containing Thomas (O’Brien). He is lifted up to an area called “The Glade,” the heart of a giant maze filled with boys who don’t remember anything about their past lives. Thomas has nothing but strange dreams and the clues he finds in the maze to piece together his former life and find a way out. The impending threat of the mysterious maze creatures combined with a “Lord of the Flies” dynamic among the boys heightens the drama and makes “The Maze Runner” an intense sci-fi action flick.
The film does an excellent job of keeping things a mystery. The audience is just as confused as Thomas as he maneuvers his way through life in the maze. The drama intensifies with each attack on the boys and pressure builds as they appear to run out of time. O’Brien, originally of “Teen Wolf” TV series fame, displays complex emotions and captivates audiences right off the bat. The intricate relationships between the boys that want to leave and the ones who don’t want change are well developed. Though individual character development is kind of weak, the group dynamics are powerful and well thought out.
The biggest issues with “The Maze Runner” stem from the original plot, which has more to do with the author of the series than the actual movie. Dystopian futures are hot right now and everyone involved is cashing in. The film has all the elements of a sick future society including a young hero who must face adversity to uncover the real truth. Just because it fits in with a certain genre doesn’t mean that “The Maze Runner” isn’t a good film, but it certainly makes it harder to distinguish itself.
Coupled with the rising popularity of these films, “The Maze Runner” leaves many questions unanswered. Depending on the audience, this can be a good or a bad thing. Plans for a sequel have already been announced and the ending deliberately (and rather annoyingly) points to another film. However, there is a lot of buildup to a huge reveal and is ultimately disappointing to audiences who haven’t read the books.
Overall, “The Maze Runner” is an action packed pick-me-up for the month of September. The film’s premise is unique enough to give audiences something new and wanting more.
“The Maze Runner” is rated PG-13 for thematic violence and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images.