The Maze Runner

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Think of this movie as the opposite of what Peter Jackson did to the Hobbit .  Instead of stretching things out, adding extraneous material and unnecessary new characters with absolutely no regard for the author’s original intent, this film of The Maze Runner apparently took the title too literally because it is like watching the book in fast forward.  Hurry hurry hurry, we don’t have time for character building, so we barely learn a smattering a few names and thus care absolutely not one whit when uh, that one, dies.  Nope, no time for all the little details that made the maze so freaky, no time to build up the suspense around the Grievers before you actually see one, no time to understand the society structure the boys established in The Glade, no time for Thomas to figure out the intricate code embedded in the maps made by all the other Maze Runners and definitely no time to show Teresa and Thomas can speak to one another telepathically (which to be honest would have taken absolutely no time at all.)

Now I realize a lot of you are going to say “gee, another bad review because the movie wasn’t exactly like the book,” and you do have a bit of a point.  However, it is worth noting that at no point will you be saying “hey, that wasn’t in the book”, except possibly when huge story arcs are condensed into a few seconds for convenience and to keep the speed of the story going because if it ever goes under 60 mph it will explode.  (Note:  in case it wasn’t obvious, that was not a spoiler but rather a reference to the movie Speed.)

I originally wanted to see The Maze Runner because Dylan O’Brien plays Thomas, and I love him in Teen Wolf.  I immediately bought the books and thoroughly enjoyed them.  The plot is an interesting one.  Thomas arrives via “The Box” into an idyllic green world called The Glade, surrounded on all sides by a gargantuan maze, with no memory of who he is except his name.  We soon find out that all the boys who populate The Glade arrived in similar fashion and have hammered out a working society of sorts.  Everyone has assigned tasks to ensure their survival, but the main goal is figuring out the maze in order to find a way out.  This is a tough job, as the doors to the maze close every night and the whole thing proceeds to change shape, plus it is guarded by the Grievers – giant bio-mechanical spider thingies that go around moaning when not trying to kill and/or sting one of the Gladers.  The main plot points are all present in the movie, but the book had a beautiful pace to it, with attention to detail and fabulous characterizations while still maintaining a headlong tumble towards the inevitable but surprising conclusion.  I don’t know why the movie feels so rushed, as the run time isn’t particularly short.  If you must watch this, I highly recommend you do what I did and heavily imbibe.  It gets much better then!  – BETHANY

For more on this unfortunate movie version of a great book, visit The Internet Movie Database, Minho, Thomas, Teresa and Newt.  But the important thing in the picture is the Maze.  It looks cool, but unfortunately contradicts not only the book but the movie itself, as a character says “the ivy doesn’t go all the way to the top”.  Even worse, it is botanically incorrect, as ivy will not grow on moving walls.  Hmmmm.  For the extensive list of all the differences between the movie and the book, plus quite a lot of factual errors, visit the Trivia and Goofs sections on IMDB.

The precious few characters actually named in the film.  Left to right:  Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Alby (Aml Ameen), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Gally (Will Poulter) and Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster).  And one more below:

                                                                  Chuck (Blake Cooper), who stands like this in most every shot of him.

“It’s a girl.  I think she’s dead!”

How very Lord of the Flies.

Thomas and Teresa sittin’ in a tree …

A Griever in the film.  To see a bunch of other concept art that wasn’t used, visit this FilmSketchr page.


                                                                         There is no actual swearing in the book.

                                                                          Some of the excellent slang invented by author James Dashner, of which only one or two are used in the film.


(The trailer and the gag reel might be better than the actual movie)

Warning:  these hilarious bits from YouTube Screen Junkies, CinemaSins and How It Should Have Ended contain a lot of spoilers and poor language choices, but are extremely funny.  Probably best not to watch these unless you have already read the books.


Photos courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Gotham Group,  Temple Hill Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Dayday Films and Ingenious Media (unless otherwise noted in clickable form)



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