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Posts Tagged ‘Teen Wolf’
The story in “The Maze Runner” is based on a dare. When Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) is dropped into a mysterious walled world where a society of boys have grown up in the shadow of a giant labyrinth, he is told, “Don’t go in the maze.” Of course he does, because that’s like telling a teen, “Don’t go through that door,” in a horror flick.
The setting is bucolic. A large open green space, dotted by trees, huts built of logs and gardens. The only thing out of place is a large metal elevator that once a month belches to life, bringing supplies and a “greenie” to the surface. These young men arrive with their memories wiped clean, unaware of where they are or why they were brought there. The latest newbie is Thomas (“Teen Wolf’s” Dylan O’Brien), a rebellious young man who doesn’t quite fit into the well ordered life the other boys have created in their walled-in world.
He wants to escape; to become a Maze Runner and see if there is a way to navigate through the ever-changing labyrinth—and its evil guardians the Grievers—that stands between them and whatever is happening on the outside world. When the elevator deposits a girl (Kaya Scodelario) with a note clutched in her hand, “She is the last one,” in the midst, it seems like the time has come to take on the maze.
“The Maze Runner” is based on a series of wildly popular young adult books—so yes, you can look forward to “The Maze Runner 2: Electric Boogaloo” coming soon to a theatre near you—and takes a backwards approach to the storytelling. Here the characters are cyphers with no knowledge of their pasts, so they create personas based on their abilities in the camp. Very “Lord of the Flies.” It’s interesting though, in that unlike most original stores we don’t have to spend much time getting to know the characters, where they came from or what their inner torment is. They don’t know and neither do we. Instead they concentrate on the present—their present—and survival. Imagine if the reality show “Survivor” was set in a world surrounded by an impenetrable maze and the only way to get voted off the island was to be eaten by a giant, mechanical Griever beast.
The immediacy of the story serves it well to a point. Eventually the whole crew, or most of them anyway, attempt the maze at which point the film becomes a standard 3D sci fi chase flick—Watch out for that Griever!—but there are twists and turns to keep things moving along and perfectly set the story up for a sequel.
The movie is buoyed by strong performances from Will Poulter as a young guy content to stay within the walls of his mysterious prison and Dylan O’Brien, who gives the movie its prerequisite heartthrob appeal.
“The Maze Runner” makes comments about the dangers of conformity and the virtues of bravery and loyalty and does appear to be headed into some twisty-turny territory should the next part of the story get made.
SYNOPSIS: Based on a series of wildly popular young adult books, The Maze Runner sees Thomas, played by Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien, plopped into community of young men surrounded by a labyrinth. The rebellious Thomas wants to see if there is a way to navigate through the ever-changing maze that stands between the boys and whatever is happening in the outside world. When a girl, played by Kaya Scodelario, arrives with a note clutched in her hand, “She is the last one,” it seems like the time has come to take on the maze and hopefully avoid being eaten by its evil guardians the Grievers.
Richard: 3 ½ Stars
Mark: 2 Stars
Richard: Mark, the story in The Maze Runner is based on a dare. When Thomas is dropped into a mysterious walled world where a society of boys have grown up in the shadow of a giant labyrinth, he is told, “Don’t go in the maze.” Of course he does, because that’s like telling a teen, “Don’t go through that door,” in a horror flick. Based on a series of wildly popular young adult books—so yes, you can look forward to The Maze Runner 2: Electric Boogaloo coming soon to a theatre near you—and the immediacy of the story serves it well… to a point. It’s a good set-up that turns into a becomes a standard 3D sci fi chase flick. What did you think?
Mark: Richard, it was dull, dull, dull, interrupted by the occasional exciting scene but it played like a dumbed down version of Lost for paranoid teens. Yes, the set up is good, but so little time is actually spent in the maze, and there’s too much time talking about it. The dialogue is mostly exposition, the acting is functional at best, and although it’s cut from the same cloth as The Hunger Games, it doesn’t have any of its bite. It’s no spoiler alert to reveal that some will survive, and the big reveal is laughable in the way it shills for the inevitable sequel.
RC: I liked it way more than you. I liked that the characters are cyphers with no knowledge of their pasts, so they have to create personas based on their abilities in the camp. That way, unlike most original stores, we don’t have to spend much time getting to know the characters; where they came from or what their inner torment is. They don’t know and neither do we. Instead they concentrate on the present—their present—and survival. Imagine if the reality show Survivor was set in a world surrounded by an impenetrable maze and the only way to get voted off the island was to be eaten by a giant, mechanical Griever beast.
MB: Actually, that’s a pretty good description of Survivor. Mazes intrigue me,and so do mad scientists. You’d think the combination would work here, but it just didn’t for me. I preferred Cube and even the much-maligned The Village as riffs on the same topic. Of course, you could see the movie as a metaphor for a cruel deity’s continuous test of the human race, but… naaaaah. And I really wanted a more shocking ending.
RC: I think there will be more thrills should the next part of the series ever get made. The first movie is just the foreplay.
MB: Foreplay perhaps, but with cold fingers and bad breath
That’s the experience I had recently when hosting the Canadian premier of The Maze Runner, a new film based on a popular YA novel about a group of boys (and one girl) who must brave the dangers of a giant labyrinth to gain not only freedom but also their true identities.
There wasn’t a plane in sight, just a theatre packed with young adults. When I made the surprise announcement that some of the film’s stars would be joining us for a Q&A, you would have thought a giant electrical surge had bolted through every seat in the house. As I brought Skins’ star Kaya Scodelario, Meet the Millers’ Will Poulter and Dylan O’Brien, resident heartthrob of Teen Wolf to the stage, the place erupted.
Ears ringing, I asked a few questions, trying to be heard above screams of “I love you!” Not directed at me, but mostly at O’Brien.
As the handsome actor answered a question on bringing the character traits of Thomas alive from the page to the stage, a young woman whooped, “Thomas is hot!” O’Brien played along, saying, “That’s what I really wanted to lift from the page, his hotness. I was really focused on that.”
“You nailed it!” came a voice from the audience.
The enthusiasm wasn’t reserved just for him. Scodelario, a British actress who plays the film’s fierce female lead, could barely be heard above the din as she talked about her character’s empowerment. “I felt very strong playing her,” she said.
“A lot of times in movies, Hollywood and the rest of the world try to soften female characters. We have to see them vulnerable and we have to see them crying, and while that is a part of who we are as women, we can also be tough …”
The rest of her message is lost to the ages, drowned out by, “You go, girl!” hollers and the general melee of excited millennials.
Poulter, a 21-year-old British actor with a resumé that includes the charming Son of Rambow and The Chronicles of Narnia blockbusters, provided comedic relief. When I asked if he modeled his American accent on anyone in particular, he said, “I had to give up modeling, but that’s very sweet. Thanks for asking.”
The trio answered questions, most of which started with, “I just want to say I love you guys,” and ended with the inevitable, “Is there any possibility of getting an autograph or a picture?” for 25 minutes before being whisked away to another city, another press day and another theatre likely full of screaming teens.
Richard hosted a wild Q&A with the stars of the upcoming film “The Maze Runner” at the Cineplex Yonge & Dundas on September 2. In front of a packed audience of fans “Teen Wolf’s” Dylan O’Brien, “Meet the Millers” star Will Poulter and “Skins” actress Kaya Scodelario talked about translating a popular book to the big screen, masking their English accents and why they can’t sign autographs for everyone in the audience.
The movie opens September 19, 2014. Here’s some info form IMDB: Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.