‘The Maze Runner’ Gets Lost in a Labyrinth of Clichés

maze-1

Right now there is no shortage of young adult novels set in futuristic dystopias. Hoping, praying that they have the next Hunger Games, the studios are snatching up these properties hoping they can facilitate another of the f-word: franchise. Rumor has it that pitch meetings for these films goes something like this: “It’s Hunger Games meets…” “Sold!” The latest in this trend is The Maze Runner. Based upon a series of novels by James Dasher, The Maze Runner is the Hunger Games meets Lord of the Flies with a massive concrete maze. It’s a film likely to satisfy the younger fans of the books, but leaving those unfamiliar with the books wanting more.

Awakening on a mysterious elevator, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) finds himself in a society of teen males. All memories of their past lives have been erased, all they remember are their names. Once a month over the past 3 years, a care package of supplies is brought with a new teen. Living in a large green field they call the Glade, the teens have established their own brand of order, putting the chaos of the dark days behind them. On the edges of the Glade is a massive concrete maze that opens and closes like clockwork, changing its layout nightly. Their leader Alby (Ami Ameen) has established a class system where there are those who build and cook, and then there are the runners, the group who enters the maze, attempting to map it out. But nobody can stay overnight in the maze as it’s patrolled by Grievers, biomechanical alien-like creatures that carry with them a deadly disease.

One night, the runners have trouble getting out in time and Alby has been stung. Thomas races in to assist Minho (Ki Hong Lee), who is carrying Alby, but the walls shut and they’re trapped within. Through his determined spirit, Thomas kills a Griever and the trio is able to survive a night within the maze. These events irk Gally (Will Poulter), a tough hothead, and are soon followed by the arrival of Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), the only girl to arrive at the Glade. In her hand is a note that reads, “She’s the last one ever.” Soon, the well-established order is broken and they all must escape the maze before death comes for them all.

What may be engrossing on the page comes across as plodding and achingly familiar on the screen. Each of the characters are the broad archetypes that say exactly what you expect to them to say and act exactly how you think they’d act. There’s nothing in any of these characters that is remotely surprising. Making matters worse, the film makes Thomas “the Chosen One”, an infinitely tired character trend in recent cinema. “You’re not like the others,” Alby blandly tells Thomas. He might as well just be quoting The Lego Movie: “You are the most talented, most interesting, and most extraordinary person in the universe.”

The film might have been able to coast by with its bland characters had it told an engrossing story, but the film doesn’t even tell a story, it tells part of a story. Since this is the first of a planned trilogy, the film is lackadaisical with its pacing, scenes dragged out to pad the running time. More frustrating, the film is concerned with a mystery surrounding who is behind placing these teens on the Glade and why, except it never answers any of these questions. The film concludes with a wait for the sequel ending, leaving the audience with as many questions as it entered with. It’s the kind of frustrating franchise-building installment that focuses on future installments more than telling a standalone story.

Directing his first feature, Wes Ball shows signs of competent direction – shots are framed well and the action isn’t too choppy or chaotic – but the film’s script, credited to Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, and T.S. Nowlin drags down the moments of competence with groan-inducing dialogue. “What if we were sent here for a reason?” asks one character, as if people have their memories erased before being dumped off in a field by accident. And the film seems determined to avoid some of the more interesting aspects of its concept: the all-teen civilization is remarkably civilized, the growing pains of their society happening well in the past. When the lone female is introduced to their society, they just accept it. I refuse to believe that a group of secluded, sexually frustrated teenagers aren’t going to do horrible things.

The Maze Runner is a film with its sights set on future installments, forgetting that it has to give us a reason to care about the next installment. None of its young actors embarrass themselves, nor do they avail themselves. Had The Maze Runner been about a young a delivery boy who must deliver ears of corn to houses before a certain deadline or face certain death, the film would’ve been infinitely more interesting than the one on the screen. As it is, The Maze Runner isn’t a complete film, it’s just the first chapter.

//

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

No Responses

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Cartels
Steven Seagal Sleepwalks Through ‘Cartels’

Amazingly, there are some people still willing to pay Steven Seagal...

Leatherface 2017
‘Leatherface’ Delivers a Bloody Underwhelming Origin for a Horror Icon

For some reason there are those who think that everything has...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle
‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ Entertains Despite Pulling its Punches

Watching Kingsman: The Secret Service felt like you were witness to...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Nights of Azure 2
Koei Tecmo America Details Demon-Slaying Action For Nights Of Azure 2: Bride Of The New Moon

Survive the environments of Nights Of Azure 2: Bride of the...

SteelSeries North
SteelSeries Announces Partnership with FC Copenhagen, Nordisk Film and Their Top-Ranked Counter-Strike Team, North

Three of the Most Successful Danish Brands Team up to Accomplish...

Warriors All-Stars Review
7.0/10
It’s a KOEI TECMO Party – Warriors All-Stars Review [PS4]

Why are games that bring together characters from numerous other titles...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
viz
VIZ Media Announces New Digital Manga Content For August Update

VIZ Media details digital manga updates for August highlighted by the...

viz
VIZ Media Announces New Manga and Literary Acquisitions At Anime Expo

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of...

9.0/10
Supergirl Makes Contact in ‘Supergirl Being Super’

Title: Supergirl Being Super #4 Writer: Mariko Tamaki Artist: Joelle Jones...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
atari
New Atari 2600/Sega Genesis Systems from AtGames Now Available

Classic Gaming Lives Again with Release of New Atari 2600/Sega Genesis...

urban armor gear
New Urban Armor Gear Exo-Skeleton Case for Android Tablets

UAG creates an ingenious adjustable protective case for the toughest Android...

New Urban Armor Gear UAG Plasma Series LG V30 Case

Lightweight and slim, the UAG Plasma Series LG V30 Case provides...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Mayweather and McGregor Previous Fights Now On Demand on Cable, Plus Interviews, Workouts and More

From iN DEMAND – New York, Aug. 17 – Before the...

Rumble on the Water 2 Delivers Punching Power

July 29, 2017 – Long Beach, CA – The Queen Mary...

UFC Star Jon ‘Bones’ Jones Releases Emoji App – BonesMoji

From BonesMoji – Los Angeles, CA., July 27, 2017 – One...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
CULTURAL JUNK DRAWER SDCC 2017 86.3% TRUE RECAP!

A totally true recap of the most important geek cultural even...

Comics on the Can: Schick Hydrobot and the Transformers

Written by John Barber, Pencils by Steve Kurth, Inks by Juan...

Star Wars Themed Lands Will be the Perfect Safe House for the Rebellion and the First Order

Disney’s D23 Expo has revealed a lot of what is to...

Event News Event Reviews
The Third Annual ‘BeerX’ from 91X in San Diego Featured Sunburns and Beer Goggles

This past Saturday, I attended the 3rd annual BeerX, presented by...

anime film festival
LA-Anime Film Festival Kicks Off to Celebrate 100 Years of Anime Films

Los Angeles Anime Film Festival (LA-AFF), presented by international creative company...

stan lee
Extraordinary: Stan Lee at The Saban Theatre

Comedian, Nerdist CEO, and podcast extraordinaire Chris Hardwick will lead a roster of...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Lahna Turner’s ‘Limeade’ is a Hilariously Haunting Comedy Album

Many people are roll their eyes at the idea of musical...

Prince’s ‘Deliverance’ Reminds Us of Who We Lost

On Friday, April 21st, it will be one year since we...

Sabroso Fest, How can you go Wrong with Beer, Tacos and Lucha Libre!?!(Photo Gallery)

The Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival sponsored by 95.5...