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