The Maze Runner(2014)
- RatedPG /GenreMystery, Science Fiction, Thriller
Yet another Young Adult film? At first glance, it might seem like it, ticking all the boxes - adaptation from a popular novel, young and attractive Hollywood cast and all. But compared to its predecessors, ‘The Maze Runner’ does not feel the need to veer off into a romantic sub plot just to please the masses. Instead the story is one of brotherhood, working together and surviving the odds.
Like a modern-day ‘Lord of the Flies’, ‘The Maze Runner’ centres around a group of teenage boys, stranded within a lush, green dystopia called ‘The Glade’, a prison of sorts that they suddenly wake up in one day, with no memory of anything other than their names. But unlike the bleak undertones of the William Golding original, there is an Americana, can-do spirit about this James Dashner adaptation.
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One boy arrives every month through a shaft in the ground, along with the month’s supplies. The boys who have arrived have built a community for themselves, where everyone has neatly spelt out roles and there is a hierarchy in place.
But the pristine Glade has more sinister undertones. It is surrounded on all four sides by a gigantic maze, with walls too high to scale and paths that change every day. By the light of day, when deadly spider-like biomechanical monsters called “Grievers” are not on patrol within, the elites of the Gladers called the Runners, make their way through the maze, charting its entire length and breadth. They do this in hopes of one day finding a way out.
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But their efforts have proven futile, until the arrival of Thomas, played by ‘Teen Wolf’s’ Dylan O Brien. His arrival is the catalyst for much of the action in the plot.
He is faced with dissent from the token bully, Gally (Will Poulter), as he goes against the social order that the boys have established and enters the maze after dark.
Thomas miraculously survives the maze, and subsequently gains their respect, and it falls on him to lead this motley crew out.
Like lab rats in a twisted social experiment, the group fights to make their way out of the maze alive. But through it all, it’s an exploration of identity, fear and independence.
Backed by a strong story and a young, but capable cast (including the likes of Game of Throne’s Thomas Brody Sangster, and Skins’ Kaya Scodelario) Wes Ball’s screen adaptation requires little distraction from special effects and auteur-like cinematography. The film is practically stripped back for a film belonging to the Young Adult genre, but it is purely character driven and refreshingly so.
It takes a while to get a glimpse of what the interior of this mysterious, labyrinthine maze looks like, but the payoff is worth it.
'The Maze Runner' is now showing in theatres