“No one has ever survived a night in the maze.”
Perhaps i’m not the only one who gets tired with the new franchises of YA adaptations, especially the one with dystopia and supernatural themes in them. Divergent was just so-so, The Mortal Instrument was super bad, some flopped directly and probably would never finished their run. Though i did enjoy Hunger Games despite the book series (especially the ending) were quite a let down for me personally. So here i go with my sister to the only decent movie theater in my town (no 3D, no IMAX, just the regular 2D) and got so excited after we saw this one film: The Maze Runner.
Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) could not even remember his own name when he arrived in the open fields that everyone called as Glade. Like other Glade inhabitants, they are all young boys who have no recollection of their past with only their names that they remember. They were all looking for a way out, which probably lie within the maze.
It’s kinda nice to go to The Maze Runner without knowing anything because i get to experience the whole thing (much like i experience Game of Thrones) with a clean palate. I immediately felt as disoriented as Thomas was when the film opens up with him trapped in a wire-mesh elevator. I probably knew as little as he is and perhaps just as confused about the direction of the film. As the film goes we begin to see how the trapped inhabitants of the glade created their own structure of society: everyone has their own chores and responsibility, with one appointed leader in charge to maintain the balance. Tension were taut, reluctantly let up for a moment or two for breather with little comic relief. The CGI was effective and efficient, mainly used in the form of spider-and-scorpion-mash-up called Grievers without overpowering the entire picture. The action sequence were scary and heart-thumping not unlike feeling your heart about to burst after a long run. It’s refreshing (at least for now) there’s no romantic entanglement involved that overpower the main story (even Hunger Games tend to do that a bit). The Maze Runner went back to the tradition of classic literature, playing with the idea of realist vs idealist, conformist vs curious dreamer.
This first feature of Wes Ball is one of the best YA adaptation post Harry Potter. Although the cast was not as strong as Hunger Games (i tend to find them interchangeable at times), they are still pretty solid. Dylan O’Brien was a promising lead although could be a little flat at times, but well combined with Ki Hong Lee and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. Kaya Scodelario who i’ve loved since Skins looked good with the haunting blue eyes even with the disheveled look. Wes Bell himself is a formerly worked in art/visual department, perhaps this experience manifests in the way the special effects never overpower the story by much. Unlike recent films seemed to be misplacing their focus and got horned up with adding more and more special effects to create more and more spectacle.
The end of The Maze Runner is a good balance between a closure and a cliffhanger. There’s a sense of finality to this chapter yet there’s enough bait to lure you into anticipating the next one in the series. I guess i’m just hoping they won’t split the finale into two parts.
THE MAZE RUNNER (2014)
GENRE Science Fiction, Thriller, Dystopia
DIRECTOR Wes Ball | PRODUCER Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Lee Stollman | WRITER Noah Oppenheim, TS Nowlin, Grant Pierce Myers | CINEMATOGRAPHER Enrique Chediak | MUSIC John Paesano | EDITOR Dan Zimmerman | STUDIO Gotham Group, Temple Hill Entertainment | DISTRIBUTOR 20th Century Fox | COUNTRY United States | RUNNING TIME 83 minutes | RATING PG-13 for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images | RELEASE September 19, 2014 (US)
STARRING Dylan O’Brien, Aml Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Patricia Clarkson
DID YOU KNOW? Dylan O’Brien‘s hairstyle almost cost him the role of Thomas, because director Wes Ball thought it was too “MTV”. Ball reconsidered when he was sent a photo of O’Brien without his hair gelled. O’Brien is part of Teen Wolf cast on MTV. This factoids just amuse me.