The Maze Runner is one of those books you either really love or really hate. The plot either grips you from page one or completely bores you; it’s that simple. However, given the amount of action in the book’s plot I figured it would make fun movie. So I had reasonably high expectations when renting the DVD last week.
For a little background, The Maze Runner is the first book in a young-adult post-apocalyptic trilogy by James Dashner. It was published in 2009 and made into a movie just last year. There are two sequels and one prequel book to support the rest of the series, plus a second prequel promised for later this year.
The movie and book both begin with the main character and narrator, Thomas, arriving in a place known as the Glade. He has no memories of who he is or how he got there and its several hours before he even remembers his own name. A gigantic maze surrounds the Glade and inside it mechanical creatures called Grievers roam at night. It is the Gladers only hope for a way out. The huge doors to the maze close at sunset and reopen every morning at the exact same time and every day Runners go into the maze to map it while the rest of the Gladers maintain the community they’ve built for themselves. Every month, new supplies and a new boy arrive in the elevator that brought Thomas to the Glade. After Thomas’ arrival however, everything begins to change.
*SPOILERS TO FOLLOW*
I really enjoyed The Maze Runner as a book. I thought it introduced the series well and it kept you on the edge of your seat for all three-hundred pages. I also thought it made a pretty good movie. There’s a lot of vivid imagery in the book, but getting to see the Grievers and the Glade on screen made the action that much more thrilling. Visually, this movie was awesome and I thought it translated from page to screen in really positive ways.
The movie was also pretty good about sticking to the plot. There were no major alterations to the storyline and since it’s just the introduction to a series, plot holes and unanswered questions aren’t a major issue. More information about the world and the characters is forthcoming in later installments, the next of which will be released in September of this year.
One thing was left out however, but I can’t say that it bothered me much. In the book, Thomas and Teresa have a telepathic connection; they can speak to one another just in their minds. For the first movie this isn’t a major issue, but it may become a sticking point later on in the series. Thomas and Teresa get into a major fight in book two, some of which has to do with their telepathy. So the screen writers for The Scorch Trials will either have to work around it or build it into the next movie.
Lastly, I think the casting for this film was very well done. Kaya Scodelario made an excellent Teresa (she’s good at playing semi-aloof characters), Thomas Brodie-Sangster was great for level-minded Newt, Will Poulter was a perfectly disagreeable Gally, and Ki-Hong Lee was exactly how I’d always pictured Minho. And, of course, Dylan O’Brien was spot on as Thomas. He was strong enough to be taken seriously as a runner, but quirky enough to make the best “terrified” face I’ve ever seen. He’s quite expressive that way.
Overall, I think this movie was great. I think it’s enjoyable to watch and that it may also encourage more people to read the book, particularly if they were on the fence about it before. I’d recommend it.