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Another in a long line of young adult dystopian tales has hit the big screen. The Maze Runner based on the novel by James Dashner came out a few weeks ago and I finally got the chance to see the film. Though I have never read the books, I have heard good things from those that have.
I have to admit, I am rarely unprepared to compare a book and movie adaptation. I usually devour the books and then eagerly (or sometimes dreadingly) wait to see the story brought to life outside my head. It was interesting to go into this film not having any idea what to expect. In a way, I was just like the boys in the film. I was thrust into the world of the Glade just as every boy there was, with no knowledge of how it came to be, or why they were there.
The story begins to unfold as Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien, is introduced to this new society; a few dozen ragged boys that have created this community in the middle of the maze. There is a certain and very important social and economic order to things in the Glade. Each person plays his part from Alby and Newt, the two-man leadership, to the boys who plant the food and repair the buildings. Though, the most respected of the group are the Runners. Runners enter the maze each day and map the entire thing, looking for a way out.
At night, the maze closes its walls and shifts, becoming home to the monsters that live within. The Grievers, a sort of freaky part spider, part scorpion, part alien, part robot thing that terrorizes anyone unlucky enough to be caught in the maze after the walls close. Thomas is warned away from the maze the moment he is informed about it. There are strict rules that he must obey. The only people allowed to enter the maze are Runners. No one survives a night in the maze.
Seemingly predictably, Thomas becomes the first to survive a night inside its walls; even killing a Griever.
Shortly after, the introduction of a girl, Theresa, into the Glade throws the order off balance and challenges everything the boys have built. One of the enforcers, Gally, who has been against Thomas the entire time, has more animosity than ever when the girl seems to recognize Thomas. This plot point could have caused much more trouble, however Theresa’s character gets demoted to sidekick status and you lose getting to know someone that could be a great character. She even brought a cure for the sickness that comes from being stung by a Griever. This cure also restores the takers memory. But, she was more of a mini side plot than anything major. Almost inconsequential.
The plot thickens when a piece of the Griever shows Thomas and the main runner Minho the way out of the maze. This causes a major consequence in the Glade. The people that have trapped the boys in the maze open the gates and let Grievers into their home where they decimate anything in their paths. Many boys are killed, including the leader, Alby. This leads Thomas to stab himself with Griever poison so he can take the cure and remember.
What he remembers is not exactly surprising. He worked for the people that put all the boys in the maze. So did Theresa. He leads a group of boys through the maze and, though they are attacked and almost killed, they make it out. Come to find completely blown apart lab with a message from the head of the program dead and a message waiting for them. The world is gone; they are the last hope for humanity. They are whisked away by armed militants who promise to keep them safe.
Though, they throw us a twist at the very end. The masterminds are not dead, and they have tricked the kids into thinking they are safe. Instead they are on their way to their next test to see if they can save everyone. Duh DUH DUH!
All in all, the movie was not bad. The characters were likeable enough. Though, I might be a bit on the bias side since I absolutely adore Dylan O’Brien. Any other Teen Wolf fans in the house? He plays passion, directness and curiosity perfectly. And he was absolutely brilliant in this movie. The dynamics between all the boys almost reminds me of Lord of the Flies, minus the whole killing the weak kid part.
The decision to leave this movie open ended was a bold move on the part of the director. It implies that he really does believe that all the books are going to be made into movies. I have no doubt that the next one will indeed grace the silver screen at some point in the near future. But, for the love of god, please leave the spider, scorpion, alien, robots out of it. Yikes!