The Maze Runner – Review

The Maze Runner – Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Over a dozen kids all trapped inside a massive maze like a puzzle out of some sick video game? Well, the concept surely sounds absurd, but it really?

The Maze Runner is the first installment into what has now become a full-fledged trilogy – based on the novel by James Dashner it follows the story of a group of teenagers inexplicably placed inside a massive maze, with no memory and seemingly no way to escape.

These films are somewhat fun, what can I say? They are riddled with vast plot holes, Hollywood-esk inaccuracies, and some up and down moments of complete illogicality in its story decisions; it’s a surprise I do enjoy these films as much as I do. The tension is done well, the mystery is interesting, the characters are fairly likable, and the visuals do a decent job, not too shabby. We can let all the typical over-the-top plot holes slide, but exposition certainly became a problem in this film and the weak excuse for it in final scenes were blatantly transparent.

With lead actor Dylan O’Brien helming the role of the brazen hero we are offered up a fairly respectable performance from him, and he works well enough for audiences to root for him. Kaya Scodelario plays the female lead and love interest, she offers up a similarly worthy performance as O’Brien. We also get some decent supporting roles from Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poultner, and Ki Hong Lee.

The visuals in this film fit fairly seamlessly with the environments, the overall camerawork has moments I would even consider pretty damn good – specifically in the fast paced scenes throughout the maze itself as the massive stone columns, walls, and steel plates shift and crash together with characters leaping, crawling, and squeezing through at just the last second, plenty of moments certainly made my palms sweaty. The Glade as they call it, or (greeny centre of the maze) offers some great production design, its general layout and particular construction were one of the films most believable elements.

We also get a nicely constructed soundtrack that fittingly suits the films fast-paced intensity; in terms of sounds in the film, the shrieking creatures of the night and unsettling shifting rumbles of the maze make the sound design another asset that exceeded my expectations.

The Maze Runner as a film probably has more problems than the kids themselves stuck in that maze, but it was fun, it was based off a novel with a target demographic at young teens, and despite all that, it still manages to at the very least be entertaining enough to want to finish and even see the next one. The Maze Runner is a surprisingly entertaining film adaptation that blends action and mystery into a fast-paced story, though not without getting occasionally lost in its plot holes.

6.3/10

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