Movie Review: The Maze Runner (2014)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2014 movie starring Dylan O'Brien and Kayla Scodelario.

Synopsis: A group of teenagers have their memories wiped and are placed, one at a time, in an enclosed glade. Their only hope of escaping is through a giant and always-changing maze that is inhabited by deadly monsters they call Grievers. With no knowledge about why he is there, the newest arrival, Thomas, is determined to find a way out.

Who's In It?

Review

My wife and I received this movie several weeks ago from Netflix but could not seem to find an opportunity to watch it until this past weekend. And, even then, we had to stop the movie about halfway through and finish it up a couple days later.

When we started watching this movie, I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. It sounded interesting but, thanks mostly to those God-awful "Twilight" films, I'm typically a bit hesitant to watch teenage dramas/action movies. However, after seeing this film, I do have to admit it was considerably better than I was expecting it to be.

The thing I really liked about this movie was the mystery. I haven't read the book and, because of that, everything about the plot was brand new for me. This turned out to be a nice plus because a good portion of what made the film entertaining was not knowing who was placing the teenagers inside the maze and why. As a result of that, I was often speculating about them maybe being on some sort of futuristic reality TV show or maybe it was a punishment for some sort of crime.

Another thing that was impressive about this movie was the way it mixed in a great deal of action with the drama. My wife was breathless as Thomas (O'Brien) and Minho (Lee) tried to escape the closing maze and the "Grievers" were surprisingly creepy despite the fact they were obviously machines of some sort. This did keep me much more entertained than I thought I would be.

My only real complaint about this film is it did seem to leave some things unanswered. For example, until Teresa (Scodelario), their had apparently never been a girl deposited in the maze but the movie really never takes the time to explain why.

In addition to that, and this is, admittedly, likely just me over analyzing things, I couldn't help but wonder why the teenagers in the glade didn't simply build a ladder, climb the wall and simply walk across the maze from above. After all, based on their ability to build shelters, they obviously had the materials to do so and the malls, while tall, weren't exactly mountain-sized.

Also, why didn't they try to escape through the elevator shaft that kept bringing new kids/supplies? That would seem like a much more direct route out.

I'm assuming these questions were, at one point, answered in the book (or, at least I hope they were). But, even if they were, the filmmakers really shouldn't assume everyone has actually read the book first and should have at least made an attempt to explain why they needed to go through the obviously dangerous maze instead of looking at obvious alternatives. The movie was still good. But, with those unanswered questions, it wasn't as good as they could have been.

Final Opinion

The movie, as I said, was good. But, I do have a feeling the filmmakers left out some important details and because of that, while I was entertained, I wasn't completely fulfilled. I only hope the sequel doesn't leave as many loose ends.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 11/18/2015, StevenHelmer
 
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judy on 11/18/2015

We saw this movie & liked it, I have not read the book either, and those were my questions also.

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