The Maze Runner: No running from this maze of a movie


Brandon Chin

The walls of the maze stands over Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow gladers as they prepare to enter. Within the catacomb lies danger, tension, and a disappointing adventure. Source: 20th Century Fox.

Thomas, the main character of ‘The Maze Runner’, once said that “you don’t look very hard for things you don’t believe will or can happen.” In that respect, director Wes Ball took James Dashner’s bestselling book and set it loose in the hazardous maze of production. With bulging sets serving as walls and disheveled actors serving as predators, ‘The Maze Runner’ ran into the movie scene.

It did not go very far.

As each action sequence followed another, two elements stood tall and constant: poor acting and the walls of the maze. The cast of the movie were of the stereotypical variety as seen in previous film adaptations of novels such as ‘Percy Jackson’ or ‘Twilight’ where the world revolves around one individual who does not fit the role. Side characters often appear as nothing more than a set of lines with a singular goal of following their leader as they break the expectation of society. Sadly, they cannot help the movie break the expectation of adapted literature.

Before the conflict with the Gladers and their predatorial counterparts, the Grievers, the movie spends a majority of its time building up the moment when the Gladers first enter the maze. This time serves as something less than a warmup for the action scenes for they usually stand or sit, contrary to the movie’s name.

the maze runner_-

When the supposed fast paced action scenes finally begin, the movie may as well have not crossed the starting line. Cliche life-threatening scenarios and the repetition of overused lines makes this movie no different from other action movies. Lines referring to “imminent danger” or the need to “Do this or we die!” are so common, the ominous Maze deteriorates into sleep inducing flashes on the screen.

The Maze itself was the only element that showed depth and mystery in contrast to the many two dimensional characters in the movie. Portrayed as a unique mix of overwhelming size and mystery, the Maze grabs the attention of the audience as well as it traps the Gladers. The special effects, strong visualizations, and the rare lines of worthy dialogue worked sufficiently to create a sense of claustrophobic intensity that made the movie intriguing even if the final verdict is one of bemusement. Sadly, the Maze was an example that was not followed through, for the quality of its persona was pockmarked and chipped away by the clumsy steps of the Gladers.

With the promise of Dashner’s series ruined by first impression, the audience themselves become the Grievers as hostility arises, and the need to lash out at the Gladers surges. The poor acting was a major distraction in the movie, but it was nearly redeemed by the structure and intricacy of the Maze —- until the end of the movie. With a wholly unsatisfying ending and an unpromising allusion to a sequel, this Maze — or any other for that fact — is one that should not be entered.