‘The Maze Runner’ lives to fans expectations

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Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

“The Maze Runner” is one of my favorite books of all time. Author James Dashner brings insight to a frightening future for humanity.

When I read it for the first time, my mind was blown by its complexities and how the book ends with the ultimate cliffhanger. I always thought, “this would make an amazing film.” Now, three years later, someone has brought this vision to reality.

At first, “The Maze Runner,” is a mystery to its audience. About 20 teenage boys are placed in the Glade, a giant maze, and unaware of who they are and where they came from. The boys only know one thing about themselves; their first name.

In this strange society, the boys establish order and everyone has a different job. The riskiest job is the Runner. The Runners go into the maze every day to map its sequences and attempt to figure out a way to escape the maze, while trying to steer clear of the man-made monsters called Grievers.

Once Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) arrives, he is full of curiosity and he changes everything. Little does everyone know that their memories have been wiped for a reason, a reason that could change the world. I will spare the details for those who haven’t seen it. For this movie, a spoiler is unnecessary.

I am skeptical about books that turn into films because the film does one of two things. The movie either follows the book’s storyline (with a few tweaks), or the movie changes the original storyline, leaving audiences disappointed.

But, after I walked out of the movie theater, I was anything but let down. The movie brings the characters and setting to life, when before they were a figment of my imagination.

Rotten Tomatoes gives “The Maze Runner” a hot 63 percent on the Tomatometer. “With strong acting, a solid premise and a refreshingly dark approach to its dystopian setting, ‘The Maze Runner’ stands out from the crowded field of YA (young adult)  sci-fi adventures,” Rotten Tomatoes said.

Claudia Puig from USA Today said in a Wall Street Journal blog that “a sci-fi thriller set in a vaguely post-apocalyptic future must create a fully drawn universe to thoroughly captivate the viewer. But ‘Maze Runner’ feels only partially formed.” While this may be true, this proves the directors stayed true to the book’s mission: to leave readers wanting more and for them to anticipate how the dystopian trilogy will play out.

The movie mirrored the book very well, and a lot of scenes in the movie were similar to the ones I imagined. The beginning of the movie was exactly like the book begins with Thomas trapped in a concealed elevator, having no memory of his identity and then brought to the surface of the Glade.

The Glade is just how I imagined, with its gigantic stone walls and village-like feel.  The maze was bigger than I expected and the Grievers were more disgusting than I pictured. I envisioned these man-made creatures as strictly robots, but the movie added guts and gore.

I thought the character development could have been better, but as I remember from the book, the characters develop more throughout the second (“The Scorch Trials”) and the third (“The Death Cure”) books. “The Maze Runner” acts as a preview for what is to come for these teenagers, so I understand why the movie does not dive into major character development. My favorite character is Thomas because he is truly brave, selfless and the hero toward the end of the story.

But, the effects in this movie were somewhat overdone. Take for instance the ending scene where the film pans out and reveals the world’s mass destruction. The buildings and the scenery looked fake and unrealistic.

“The Maze Runner” is intriguing because its storyline opens a window into the future of what could be a reality. It reminds me of what scientists say about global warming and climate change. Although people infected with a vicious worldwide Sun Flare disease is far-fetched, it is not out of our realm of understanding.

Dystopian novels have been quite the rage in the last five years with “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” books becoming popular films. “The Maze Runner” captures my attention the most because even though the plot is complex, everything begins to make sense once the story ends.

It is told in its rawest sense of what humanity is- the way humans come together to survive even in the most extreme conditions. In this case, the world has become the survival of the fittest.

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