The Maze Runner

September 20, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Posted in 2014 | Leave a comment
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See, this is what happens… When there hasn’t been a movie worth watching for 3 weeks, what do I do? Well, I see a film that I’m fairly sure is bad that’s based on a book that I didn’t really like that much. And, yes, it wasn’t a great film but, ya know something?  It wasn’t really a bad one either. This is simple YA fiction at it’s most basic. The author clearly woke up one day with a clever premise in his head (ie “what if a kid with no memory woke up trapped in the center of a giant maze with a bunch of other kids with no memory”) and then went about trying halfheartedly to figure out why they would be there. The most disappointing thing about this story is that it sets up a compelling mystery whose final answer is so silly and implausible that it kind of retroactively ruins the mystery. However, if you can set aside any need for a sensible story, you will find this one to be reasonably fun. A group of young, largely unknown,  actors all play their characters admirably enough. None of them are Jennifer Lawrence but they certainly do as well as anyone in “Twilight” or “Divergence” and this film is a good sight more enjoyable than either of those ones (but what is it with YA films and hiring actresses that look like Kristen Stewart? The one young woman here is virtually indistinguishable from her). The film is also visually more arresting than those two. The giant maze is rendered well and the scenes inside of it are fun to watch. The evil “reavers” are also well designed and appear much scarier and more interesting than they were described in the book. In general, the film hits all the key elements but mostly improves on the story line by trimming it down and minimizing some of its sillier elements. Interestingly, the author of this book joins the “Twilight” author and Orson Scott Card, who’s “Ender’s Game” was just made into a movie, as yet another Mormon fantasy writer who Hollywood is throwing money at. I hope for him more success than “Ender’s Game” had (which is by far a better story) but less success than “Twilight” had (nobody needs quite that much success). This book is the first in a trilogy, of course. All of them are fairly dark and action packed, which used to be rare for YA fiction but now, thanks to “Hunger Games,” is the norm. So, if you want a fast pace, kids in peril, some death, some poignancy, a fortunate dearth of adolescent love, and minimal thinking required, this may be right up your alley.


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