Based on the best-selling YA novel, The Maze Runner is the newest, and one of largest adaptions to arrive in cinemas yet. Comparable to The Hunger Games and Twilight, it is in fairly good chances to be the next big franchise. Here is what we thought of it;
Setting the tone immediately, lead star Dylan O’Brien awakens in a very dark and eerie lift travelling from deep below the ground, it becomes apparent that he now knows just as much as we do. The fear is visual and quite real – and just like a young child on our first day of school we are pushed into a new, confusing experience for the next two hours.
Arriving atop the lift and unable to remember anything other than his name, Thomas. He is told by a group of teenage boys that he is in a field in the centre of a maze, called the ‘Glade’, where they all live. Having attempted to find a way out many times, all they know is that the maze is open during the day-time, and closed at night where it periodically changes and is protected by fearsome creatures called ‘grievers’. Anyone in there at that time has never returned.
Much like an episode of Lost meeting The Lord of the Flies meeting Labyrinth, we understand narrative at the same time as Thomas, who is eventually told that three years ago a young teenage boy first arrived at the glade, and each month since one more arrives in the lift with certain supplies to survive. Unknowing of why and unable to escape they have become helplessly trapped there since. Similarly to The Lord of the Flies, the group of boys, all probably aged 10-20 have creating a living-area, created rules, swearwords and the imperative code to ‘never go beyond those walls’ - but as Thomas arrives at the glade all seems to change for the worse, and many of the other ‘Gladers’ take note.
Admittedly, we had not read the book until after we had saw the film, but from the very first paragraph we noted its book-to-screen accuracy. Fans of the book will be more than satisfied with the minimal changes, and any made are for the better.
The film, upheld by a ninety-nine percent teen cast, feels news and many of the actors are in roles unseen before. Dylan O’Brien, From TV’s Teen-Wolf, provides an exceptional lead role as Thomas and carries the film in both story and emotional trawls. Although new to the setting and with the films entirety taking place over just a few days, he comfortably fits in, although ruffling many traditions too. At one point it is said ‘I don’t know if he is brave or stupid, but we need more of him’.
Co-staring alongside Dylan O’Brien are equally exceptional performances by; Will Poulter, in a dark tough-guy role, (and absolutely nothing like his recent role as Kenny in We’re The Millar’s); Thomas Brodie-Sangster stars as a fellow Glader; and Kaya Scodelario in a surprise turn-up as the first female at the Glader - but also ‘the last one ever’ to arrive. Although the narrative between them is conflicting at times, the chemistry is smooth as if friends both on-and-off the screen. Notably, we can confirm that the characters live-up the book creations and are almost perfectly cast.
Evidentially former director / writer / editor / effects maestro Wes Ball uses skills from his previous work on this film and it shows and flows evenly because of it. Take note future producers, this is how to successfully make a YA adaption, which surprisingly, is just as impressive as the book. Yet although exciting unfortunately leaves us with far more questions than answers by the end. Based on the trilogy by James Dashner expect more answers to follow in sequel movies in the soon to be massive franchise. Or, you know … you can read the books before hand? Ultimately, you do not have to be a fan of the books, or even a YA to enjoy the film it, it has something for almost everyone.
The Maze Runner arrives in US cinemas 19th September, and UK cinemas on 10th October. Be sure to check back soon and read our exclusive interview with director Wes Ball, and leading cast; Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Brace yourselves Maze Runner fans!