Friday, September 26, 2014

Movie Review: "The Maze Runner" (2014)

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Movie"The Maze Runner"
Director: Wes Ball
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 53 minutes

A teenager named Thomas wakes up in an elevator with no memory of his past. He is greeted by a group of boys in a field called The Glade, where many of them have lived for as long as 3 years. They explain that each month, the elevator sends up supplies and another boy, each with no memory of their past. The Glade is surrounded by a giant maze which no one is allowed in with the exception of a few, those designated as runners. The runners map the maze and look for a way out. The maze closes every night and anyone trapped inside stays inside. Nobody survives a night in the maze, as murderous creatures called Grievers roam it at night. Thomas seems different from the rest of the boys and he becomes determined to find a way out or die trying. 

WOW! Talk about shattered expectations! We knew very little about this movie/book/franchise apart from what we had seen in the trailers leading up to its release. There has been a slew of book-to-movie adaptations in recent years that have fallen short for whatever reason, and that alone was enough to make us wary of this film. But dang, were we surprised!

BigJ and I were both on the edge of our seats many times throughout the film. My jaw even dropped a couple of times in awe. There is a lot of intense action, and we get the sense that we are there in The Glade fighting for our lives alongside the other Gladers. When Thomas finds his way into the maze, we as audience members feel the tension and the peril as he evades the Grievers, never knowing if turning a corner could mean certain death for him. Apart from the action, there is a great overall story behind why the kids are in The Glade in the first place. The mystery of their placement there sort of unfolds throughout the movie, but never fully gets disclosed. There are a few other books in the series, and the second movie has already been green-lit for a 2015 release, since this one did so well at the box offices, so we will just have to wait until next year to find out the rest of the conundrum.

Another fantastic element of this movie was its CGI and its set, and the believability of it all. The look of the film was completely seamless due, in large part, to how well filmmakers constructed the set and integrated it with CGI. The maze itself is incredible and looks completely real. The Grievers, while obviously all CGI'ed, still looked awesome. The biomechanical aspects of the creatures were quite frightening and much better than those from some of the young adult adaptations we have seen in recent months. The budget for this movie was $34 million, which to us seems a bit low considering how good the CGI and special effects were. Even what little makeup work was needed in the movie looked very convincing, especially the wounds from when people had been stung by the Grievers. The only thing about this movie that was so-so was some of the acting, but the majority of it was just fine.

If you're tired of the young adult novel movie adaptations, this isn't for you. If you're tired of movies where kids are being tortured and tested by or up against radical governments, this isn't for you. But, if you can suspend disbelief for two measly hours in favor of badass robo-aliens, a thinking plot, and a captivating ending, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by "The Maze Runner." We personally cannot wait for the next installment.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 63%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!
One year ago, we were watching: "Riddick"


  1. Yeah Buddy! Glad you both enjoyed it too. I feel somehow validated :-) I am looking forward to the second installment as well. Edge of my seat too. Was it just me or did it have a Lord of the Flies feeling?

    1. It definitely had a Lord of the Flies feeling, especially with a few certain characters. It was a really cool movie and I can't wait to read the book to compare!