Set in a post-apocalyptic world, young Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they're all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow "runners" for a shot at escape.
|Release Date||:||September 10, 2014|
|Genres||:||Action, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller|
|Production Company||:||Ingenious Media, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Gotham Group, Dayday Films, Temple Hill Entertainment, TSG Entertainment|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Director||:||Wes Ball, Nancy Breaux, Steve Gehrke|
|Writers||:||James Dashner, Grant Pierce Myers, Noah Oppenheim, T.S. Nowlin|
|Casts||:||Dylan O'Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Aml Ameen, Blake Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Dexter Darden, Chris Sheffield, Joe Adler, Alexander Flores, Jacob Latimore, Randall D. Cunningham, Patricia Clarkson, Don McManus, Michael Bow, Jerry Clark, Michael Deville, Dylan Gaspard, Mark Gibson, Cory Gooding, Cazi Greene, Dustin Guitreau, Tyler Harrison, Landon Hazel, Gary Hood, Nick Killebrew, John Langston, Chad Martinez, Lester Millet, Sawyer Pierce, Weston Rachal, Bryce Romero, Johnny Stockwell, SanChavis Torns, Lane Westerhaus, Gentry Williams, Diego Garzon|
|Plot Keywords||:||based on novel, maze, post-apocalyptic, dystopia, escape, memory loss, erased memory, trapped, dystopic future, runner, based on young adult book|
I went into this film with low expectations. Having never read any of James Dashner's books, I cannot tell with any certainty if the screenwriters were true to the novel, or if the book makes a better effort than the film to distinguish itself from the multitude of superior films it meekly attempts to imitate. What I know is that I left the theater laughing. And not in a good way.
What should have been an exciting and visceral tale of survival and intrigue ended up stealing two hours of my life by conning me into thinking I would see something original. Instead of suspense and excitement, MAZE RUNNER laid out an entourage of familiar tropes, paper-thin characters, and contrived situations. The 'villainous' antagonist of the film was as one-dimensional and irrationally-plot serving as any character I've ever seen. The character was so silly and unbelievable I actually chuckled at him several times when the film begged me to be serious.
The screenplay was a crash-course in heavy-handed exposition. It was jammed with stock lines: bland, insinuating lines that were supposed to put me on the edge of my seat but instead left me thinking, 'Okay, when are we going to get to the POINT of this movie?' We got to see the intimidating-jerk-who-doesn't-listen-to-reason character, the hardened-guy-who-will-later-be-reduced-to-a-weak-state-to-show-us how-shaken-up-the-best-of-us-can-get character, the arbitrary female (although, thankfully, fewer movies today are marginalizing women), the amnesiac/s, and the innocent-character-we-can-get-away-with-killing. The pacing of the film, if not the events, were completely predictable and the ending (which I came to the theater curious for in the first place) came off as stale and forced, like the rest of the ponderous placeholder scenes that served as a plot. If you've seen movies such as HUNGER GAMES, CABIN IN THE WOODS, or PANDORUM, you have already witnessed better characters, better reveals, and more assured examples of plot development.
Hollywood has developed a very convenient formula to keep theaters full of impressionable teen audiences. We have an outsider who needs to find a part of the group to cling to. They meet a variety of similar sympathetic characters. They act impulsively, which is usually a good thing. They are almost always rebellious and independent by nature, but they need to avoid arousing the wrath of whatever all-powerful conglomerate is hell-bent on keeping them down. Until, of course, the time comes to overthrow them using the various talents that the group possesses. Along with a healthy dose of courage, resolve... and luck. Buckets of ludicrous, gratuitous, convenient, plot-serving luck.
There is no reason that this film should have made the money it has. After six days, it has recouped its budget threefold. Every ticket you buy gives them more ammunition for a brain-numbing cookie-cutter sequel.
I'm not saying the film is the worst I've ever seen. But for God's sake, we don't need any more movies like this. Here's to a better future.