I attended the advanced screening for The Maze Runner yesterday and having just finished the book moments before the film began, I was incredible excited to see the movie. There has been many reviews of course that have been plastered all over social media, however it’s worth critiquing it myself as I for one am a massive fan of the series. I wrote a book review just a couple of days of go which is here, but if you’re too lazy to click the link to find out the brief outline of the story just continue reading below – it is worth a read though but I kind of mention the same things in this post.
Basic Plot Outline:
Based on James Dashner’s best-selling novel, Thomas (main character) wakes up trapped in a lift having been delivered to a massive maze with no memories other than his own first name. When the lift opens, he finds that he has arrived at “The Glade,” an open arena surrounded by giant stone walls that form the maze. He and the 50 other boys and eventually one girl Theresa (Kaya Scodelario) have to solve the maze. Thomas and the others have no knowledge of the outside world. Together they work out his past and with the clues that they discover in the maze.
WARNING – Do not read too much towards the end if you want the film to be a surprise because I will be noting a few of the annoying differences between the book and the film that I wasn’t too fond of or just totally like “WTF!”- but do not fear I will mark the spoiler signal with an asterisk (*)
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, but what I like about the Maze Runner is there is no love triangle. Alleluia. I’m getting a little sick of Team (insert’s male name here)….
The director, Wes Ball, I felt did quite a good job in adapting the book. However, how he chose to explain the events in the story, doesn’t quite match the book itself. Which left me (and my friends who have also the read the book) quite confused. Despite this fact, I recommend that anyone who has not read the books will thoroughly enjoy the movie. It leaves you jumping out your seat a few times as well – that’s if you’re a scaredy cat like me! I apologise to my dear friend Saf who I was gripping her arm every two seconds the moment I saw a Griever pop up on the screen. The movie will make you feel a range of emotions to be honest, I cried and concentrated. There are a few scenes that had me and many others laughing at the screening I attended, yet the “whoa” factor is immense. The film itself drags you into this baffled state that makes you want to know so many answers as well as making you want to see the second movie. After leaving the cinema that night I believed that I had been completely brainwashed and could not stop thinking about how good the film was.
In the movie, a lot of the action and the time spent studying the maze is either fast-forwarded or not even discussed whereas in the book it goes into more depth and is sustained. It’s frustrating because the film leaves you with open ended conclusions. It’s understandable that the movie has to be condensed, but it did seem not well constructed and I sat thinking throughout that the director was banking on people having read the book. The special effects and sound effects had it’s advantages and disadvantages. At some points I felt that the graphics, like the maze walls rotating and changing during the scene where Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) are running was on the verge of “so cool”. Although, the fighting action sequences were too blurry to follow due to shaky camera work, fast pans, and frequent cutting makes it impossible to figure out what’s going on. This is expected as the movie is rated 12 so it’s appropriate for younger viewers. No blood! No witnessing of the death!
Of course, it has a cliff-hanger ending since it’s based on the first book of a trilogy and hopefully the second instalment will stick more closely to the books. I’m praying…
*** SPOILER ALERT****
As I’ve mentioned above the movie didn’t try to clone the book and instead stuck to the spirit of the story. The changes weren’t the end of the world since they made the movie more accessible for viewers who are new to the story. Below are my top 6 comparisons that I did not like!
- Thomas starts to remember things from his past life very quickly! Thomas in the movie has dreams which feature himself and a young woman along with an older voice constantly repeating “Wicked is good.” This allows the screenwriters to allow the characters to remember a few details from their past without getting stung by the grievers. However in the book, Thomas can only remember is name on entering the Glade whilst in the movie he can’t even remember that when he first gets there. *cues confusion*
- Teresa is not in a coma-like state in the first half the movie. In the movie, soon after arriving, Teresa wakes up and she, like the boys, doesn’t remember anything about her past. Her being in a coma in the book doesn’t translate in movie which doesn’t trigger the series of events that leads the grievers in the Glade and shuts off the sun.
- A device in the griever helps the team to locate the secret door and the key to their escape. In the book, Minho and Thomas uncover a hidden Griever entrance, but don’t realize it is the key until much later. In the movie, a device found in a dead griever unlocks a hidden part of the maze, leading to an escape plan. The book allowed the Gladers to be able to figure out the clues through the maps they made by recreating them through wax paper and putting them on top of the other and they formed words like FLOAT , PUSH etc. It was words spelled out by the maze over a period of time. They needed these words to enter it into a computer to exit. However in the movie Gladers were able to exit through the number sequences on each section on the maze. The maze was constructed differently, with 8 marked areas and a different area opening up each day for the runners to explore.
- Thomas and Teresa are not telepathic. This decision not being included in the movie I thought was just silly as it was a major part integrated in the book to show how Thomas and Theresa communicated.
Even the slightest of alterations bothered me….
5. The Creators are known as WICKED in the book and WCKD in the the movie.
6. The Gladers have been there for 2 years in the book and 3 years in the movie.
The Maze Runner is in cinema in the UK on Friday 10th October.