I first read James Dashner’s The Maze Runner a few years ago, well after it had its sequels written and it had become a bestseller. Certainly it was below my reading level, but honestly I read more as an escape than anything. There’s a world that draws me in and makes connections between myself and the characters? I’m there! The Maze Runner delivered as promised. When I heard that there was a movie coming out—and better yet it was starring one of my favourite actors—I immediately set my sights on seeing it the weekend it came out. So Saturday night I went to see it.
With stars like Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Ki Hong Lee it’s no wonder that the movie was so stellar. Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario and Blake Cooper were no slumps either. In fact, the entire cast was pretty darn amazing! The film on a whole stuck relatively close to the book, although there were some differences that had me scrambling to figure out how it would all come together in the sequels. Needless to say, I will be waiting with bated breath, but I liked the differences well enough.
Mostly the scant amount of Gladers (as the boys in The Maze Runner call themselves) in the movie as a whole got to me. In the books it was impressed upon you several times that Thomas, the main character, still didn’t know everyone even after all they had been through together and he still referred to them as ‘some Glader he didn’t know the name of’. So that would mean there was quite a good amount of them, as well as the approximation of only a handful having died out of the many who were sent up into the Glade (one per month for three years, at least). So yeah, the fact that they didn’t have very many Gladers did cause me to wonder how they were going to deal with later scenes, but perhaps it was due to the creators and producers not having the time for the more extraneous characters or the ability to cast for them either monetarily or time-wise. Perhaps it was more due to keeping a more coherent story for the audience and forge connections with the major characters as opposed to the myriads that you meet in the books. No matter what the reasoning was, it threw me off and made me ask lots of questions.
However, there was plenty of awesome in the movie: from the action scenes to the emotions and facial expressions—everything about The Maze Runner was pure gold. The casting in and of itself was amazing. I will admit that Dylan O’Brien looked a bit more buff than I suspected Thomas was (I pictured him more lanky in the books), making him look older than the other Gladers by quite a bit, but his portrayal of the character more than made up for that.
The big reason why you should watch the movie? It’s story arc is an interesting one, keeping you guessing even through the second and third installments. I completely suggest reading the books first, as I always love noting the disparities and chatting about them with other fans, but just watching the movie alone should give you a good enough overview of what you would be getting into with the novels if you decide to watch first. As of any film interpretation of a book, it leaves a lot of substance out, but what it lacks there, it makes up for in quality. I highly suggest The Maze Runner, although I do caution it for more mature audiences—there is death and such involved as this is a dystopian story. Overall I give The Maze Runner a 5/5 stars.