WRITTEN BY: Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, T.S. Nowlin
DIRECTED BY: Wes Ball
STARRING: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Blake Cooper
RATING: 3.5 stars
Adapting thrilling teenage novels to film has been a huge success for Hollywood in recent years, and The Maze Runner looks set to be yet another hit. While I have read the Twilight, The Hunger Games and Divergent series, I have not yet jumped on the bandwagon for The Maze Runner, but I may have to after seeing the first film. Unlike the aforementioned franchises, there is no intense love story (although that may come later), but there is still a strong young female character. More importantly though, the film depicts a large cast of interesting teenage male characters. It definitely has a Lord of the Flies vibe about it. This young adult post-apocolyptic science fiction story will definitely have you on the edge of your seat.
Based on James Dashner's novel, The Maze Runner begins with Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) waking up in a lift moving up. When the doors open, he finds himself in the Glade – a green field and forest surrounded by a giant concrete maze. The only people with him are a team of teenage boys, some of whom have been stuck there for three years. Each boy has no knowledge of their past and every 30 days a new boy arrives. But less than a week after Thomas arrives, the first girl named Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) joins the group. While the boys have set up a routine to live in the Glade and try to explore the maze to find a way out, Thomas is intent on getting out as soon as possible, even if that means risking his life to run through the mysterious maze that changes every night and is haunted by some alien-like creatures.
O'Brien is a good choice for the teenage hero and it is great to see Will Poulter in a bully role as Gally. Ki Hong Lee plays one of the maze runners, who maps out the maze and he has an interesting character arc, while Thomas Brodie-Sangster is compelling and Blake Cooper is adorable as the token “fat kid”, drawing many of the laughs in the film. Overall, it is great to see a believable young cast. Kaya Scodelario is not given much to do but at least she is tough and not a damsel in distress. Patricia Clarkson also has a small but pivotal role as the mysterious woman in a white coat who haunts Thomas' dreams and fragmented memories.
I jumped more than a few times during The Maze Runner as the suspense built, and there was still plenty of intrigue at the end of the film with even more questions left to be answered in a sequel.