In the past few years we have been bombarded with a lot of Young Adult novel film adaptations. From good ones like The Hunger Games to not-so-good-but-highly-profitable ones like Twilight. And as the trend started taking momentum certain things become the norm , like the annoying love triangle.
The Maze Runner is different. Which is already a plus in my book, but then again it could be due to the source material which created the premise. But I have to say the execution of it is amazing.
When the film starts, we are introduced to Dylan O'Brien's character Thomas being lifted up inside a mechanical elevator to an open grass field. As the doors are opened, we see the inhabitants of the field, all boys, all young, and Thomas is confused in what he sees. The great thing about this is we the audience get to share in Thomas' confusion. He is introduced to this small world , where young men live by themselves enclosed within high walls. He has no memory of who he is or what came before and the other boys were exactly the same. I especially like how he slowly learned everything in an organic and natural way. YA films tend to rely a lot on exposition, but the beauty in this is that things are simple and the story is really about unraveling the mystery.
Every time a character explains something, there are no montages, or sweeping angles , or rousing music. It is just within a conversation.
As Thomas orients himself, he discovers for himself the maze which is revealed by a door that opens every morning. Apparently it is the only way out of the place, and selected boys known as Maze runners have been mapping it for years. It is also quite dangerous, since every night when the maze closes its doors, anyone left within it are never seen again.
Dylan O'Brien delivered a fine performance as the curious and confused Thomas. He literally carries the film as we see it through his experience. The rest of the cast also did a great job in supporting him. Will Poulter who plays the resident bad boy Gally steals the show, he wasn't stereotypical nasty, he showed vulnerability and fear with his menace. At certain points you may not agree with what he does but still you understand and you can truly relate to him. As for the female lead Kaya Scodelario, the only girl and the last one to arrive-since the elevator tends to delivers one boy a month with the supplies. She really has little to do, but Kaya was able to make most out of it, not an easy feat since she was introduced half way.
The dark parts can be frightening, this movie has the pulse of a thriller and it will keep you on the edge of your seat. One major flaw though is the way the fight scenes were created. As the characters struggle against the creatures of the maze it is a little hard to keep up with what is going on. The camera work and CGI can be dizzying and it is hard to tell which ones were snatched since the editing is abrupt. Although it is quite good for the pacing , and eventually within a few second you do get an idea of which one survived.
So here is the verdict, cinematography is somewhat choppy. The special effects are okay not really that amazing. But do stick for the young actors, they are the stars of the future and each one stood out. The story is great and the way they handled the narration is pretty effective. All in all it is pretty enjoyable.
The Maze Runner hits Theatres in the US today (Sept. 19) Watch the Trailer below: