The Maze Runner: Should You Be Running To Theatres?

Makayla P.

Staff WriterThe Maze Runner 1 MP

The first book of The Maze Runner trilogy hit theaters September 19th. This dystopian series follows the thrilling experiences of Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien (MTV series Teen Wolf) and his companions, some of whom are played by Thomas Brodie Sangster (Nanny McPhee), Kaya Scodelario (from the British television series Skins), and Will Poulter (We’re the Millers). Most of the movie was filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, along with CGI (computer-generated imagery) mazes. Just like any new dystopian novel, The Maze Runner has received criticism for copying adaptations such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Host. While this is a problem for some viewers, for others, it is the issue of how well the movie corresponds to events in the book.

The movie starts off with a teenage boy named Thomas rising in a lift with his memories wiped to a place that is only inhabited by boys, called the Glade, a patch of land that is surrounded by a huge mysterious maze that is the inhabitants’ only chance of getting out of the makeshift colony. The maze is very dangerous, and only chosen Gladers are allowed to go in it and try to figure out its mystery. However, if those brave enough to attempt this feat do not return before nightfall, they are trapped at the mercy of terrible beasts called grievers who inhabit the maze. The boys survive on the supplies that come up in the lift every month. Thomas is forced to try to become friends with the boys and does so, but it becomes very evident that he is very different from his comrades. Within just a few days of him being there, everyone’s world, which was once marked by consistency, is flipped upside down, and no one is sure what is real and what is just a test.

Although this movie has been highly acclaimed for its action and plot twists, the comparison to other popular apocalyptic futuristic adaptations is unmistakable. Sophomore Eily Blackman said, “I really liked the book and movie, but it did sort of feel like I had seen the overall plot before in a lot of other movies.” Most critics and movie goers are getting tired of the constant repetition of these kinds of movies on the screens. At the Movies film and television critic David Stratton said, “The increasing sameness of these films (an evil future society, a young hero/heroine who must both confront the authorities and escape from them) is becoming pretty familiar.” Even with all the twists and turns someone else might like, others do not seem to be satisfied with the lack of originality.

There were many familiar faces in The Maze Runner, along with some brand new ones. Sophomore April Schlinkert said, “I think the casting was done really well, although it sometimes seemed that the actors’ emotions were a little overdramatic. But other than that, I thought everything was really well delivered.” Dylan O’Brien’s goofy character on Teen Wolf drastically contrasted his serious demeanor in this movie, but many thought O’Brien did a great job portraying this new character. Elizabeth Weitzman, writer for the NY Daily News, said, “The actors are exceptionally strong, especially for unknowns starring in a young adult thriller. Each one finds a way to make his stock role stand out and feel real.” Considering that not a lot of these actors have much experience in the movie-making business, the acting was very good for the level and knowledge all of these young and aspiring actors have.

In addition to effective casting, the movie also captured the setting very well. The Maze Runner was filmed mostly in different places around Louisiana, which seems like the perfect place to have the swampy setting of the Glade.  Junior Sarah Saegner said, “The maze and grievers looked so real in the movie; I was really impressed because I was almost expecting it to be cheesy.” For the concept design of the grievers, visual effect supervisor Sue Rowe said, “We started developing it by looking at macro photos of bed bugs and fleas – I always find that whatever crazy creature you want to create, nature has already done it for you somewhere.” She continued to talk about all the creepy crawlies she and her colleagues studied to make sure they had the ideal griever in mind. They also researched different robotic movements to make sure the mechanical legs of the grievers moved as realistically as possible. When asked about the design for the maze by Cinefex writer Graham Edwards, Rowe responded, “Wes Ball (director) set the visual tone of the story, showing how important the lighting was on the walls. The Maze doors opened early in the morning and at night, so we worked on dawn and dusk color palettes.” Rowe goes on and explains how the lighting and colors also made the Glade seem more confined in certain hours of the day. Viewers very much appreciated these minute details in the final product.

Overall, The Maze Runner is a successful movie that has been enjoyed by many people. The casting and acting are highly acclaimed, and rightfully so. Even though the basic plot has been seen before, the movie itself is entertaining and exciting. A sequel is highly anticipated, and it seems book lovers and movie goers alike will enjoy the second installment  of this action-packed trilogy, which is said to be released in September of 2015. Special effects made the movie more engaging and thrilling. This is a movie that no one will regret seeing!

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