The Maze Runner is Hollywood’s latest attempt to turn another young adult series into film, and while we seem to get them left and right after the success of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner is not a bad choice. In fact, this is a really good movie. Having read the book written by James Dashner, I was extremely excited to see how the book would be adapted to the big screen and for the majority of the film director Wes Ball does a great job adapting the source material.
The film follows Thomas (played by Dylan O’Brien) who awakens in an elevator with no memory of whom he is or his previous life and finds himself in a place called the Glade, which holds room for an ever-changing maze. He then meets dozens of other boys his age, who have been trying to solve the maze for three years in order to escape and find a way out. Thomas then decides to take matters into his own hands and figure out who put them there and how to escape the maze and return home. Then the first girl arrives, informing them that everything is going to change, and all hell breaks loose.
The acting is pretty solid. Dylan O’Brien has good charisma and proves that he can lead a franchise. He has strong screen presence, a good likeability and enough acting chops to make us care about whether or not his character succeeds in the end.
Thomas Brodie-Sangstar gives an assured performance as Newt, fresh off from HBO’s original series Game of Thrones.
Ki Hong as Minho is also great and captures the essence of the character of the book and his back and forth with Thomas is great to watch.
Blake Cooper is a perfect Chuck and does the character justice from the book.
Will Poulter is perhaps the only weak link in the cast, since his character sometimes comes off as a bit silly at times when he is supposed to be serious and oftentimes his scenes don’t work when he tries to intimidate Thomas and comes across as intentionally funny.
The direction is surely impressive. The atmosphere is bleak and the film is endlessly suspenseful. The action is intense; there are some great running sequences inside the maze that are actually a bit unsettling to watch. The setting is extremely claustrophobic and as a viewer you have no idea where these kids are and if there is anything beyond the walls of the maze. The movie looks great and the cinematography is gorgeous and really puts you in that environment as if your actually there.
The CGI is pretty good. The creatures looked threatening enough; it was a bit obvious that they we’re CGI, but they worked nonetheless and we’re actually menacing.
As a book adaptation, the film is pretty truthful to its source material. Some things have been omitted and changed, but nothing major except the climax, which has been altered like the sky turning grey, Thomas and Teresa telekinesis for example but other than that the movie stands true to the book.
The climax might be a big obvious set-up for the next instalment of the franchise and might be a bit silly and farfetched, but it didn’t bother me as much as it bothered people since I already knew what was going to happen having read the source material.
Overall, the film is an intense, suspenseful, and claustrophobic, strongly directed, largely faithful to its source material, and filled with fine performances especially from its lead, The Maze Runner is a great first entry to a hopefully great series.