Movie Review: The Maze Runner (2014) *Mild Spoilers*

The Maze Runner
is the most underrated movie of 2014.  Fact.

OK, that’s a bold statement, but I stand by it.  I’ve watched the adaptation of the first of James Dashner’s novels in this series three times since it came out (twice in the theater).  The only reason I didn’t write-up a rave review during its release was it came during the unfortunate times in the fall.  After my wife’s death, friend’s had no idea what to do with me.  In their place I wouldn’t have had a clue either.  They settled on: Dave likes movies…..let’s drag Dave to movies.  I saw every film released from September to November at least once, some twice.  It is extremely difficult to lose yourself in something at a time like this.  The Maze Runner captured my attention from the first scene to the last, and – given where I was….am – that is saying quite a lot.


For those not familiar with the premise a boy in his late teens (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in an elevator hurtling toward darkness, rocketing upward.  When it stops, he’s surrounded by a literal group of Lost Boys.  Kids, all in their teenage years, surround the new arrival and welcome him to a lush green glade.  On all four sides are walls stretching as high as the eye can see.  At sun-up, the doors open to their true surrounding: a complex, ever-shifting maze – incredibly dangerous and deadly.  At sun-down the door close and no one has survived a night in the maze.  Runners use the time the door is open to try to map the labyrinth to possibly find a way out.

Our new arrival starts to integrate into the group, but a natural curiosity keeps drawing him to the maze, and as you probably know if you’ve seen the trailer (or have any sense of narrative plot structure), he enters the maze at night.  This action sets off a chain of events that will change the life of these boys (and one late arriving girl played by Kaya Scaldelario) forever.


That’s all I’m going to say about the plot.  Anything more would rob you of the excitement of exploring the maze yourself.  Fantastic art direction, a strong ensemble cast of excellent young actors and a compelling narrative will have you watching it over again trying to see what might take place in the next installment: September’s The Scorch Trials.  It’s killing me not to read the book, but this is one YA series adaptation I went into without having read the source material.  I’ve since read the book and I thing, aside from the Harry Potter series, this is the best adaptation of any of the series yet.  Unlike The Hunger Games and Divergent which neuter their films of the violence and danger in the source material, The Maze Runner pushes its PG-13 rating to the limit and for good reason and to good effect.  I never felt like Katniss or Tris was truly in danger because the harshest parts of the books were cut or softened.  Not so here.  I could not recommend a Friday night’s rental more.

3 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Maze Runner (2014) *Mild Spoilers*”

  1. I saw a trailer for this… somewhere… and thought it looked intriguing… figured I’d wait for the reviews… and then promptly forgot all about it.

    It’s a shame there are some quality but forgotten YA sci-fi movies out there when bollocks like Divergent is getting all the big bucks. (I have no complaints about the Hunger Games though… except Mockingjay part one was very predictable…)


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