Maze Runner’s plot entertains, acting disappoints

By Preman Koshar, Contributing Writer||

The Maze Runner, the latest young adult novel-to-movie adaptation, has made a valiant attempt to become the next big movie series. Its plot is interesting enough, and its character development is certainly weak enough…yes, this might just work. We could have a winner here.

The Maze Runner, directed by Wes Ball, centers on a boy named Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), who wakes up in an elevator without any memories. The elevator quickly proceeds to drop him off in a community of boys in a place called The Glade. Within a few hours, he remembers his name—I’m getting Lord of the Flies flashbacks—and Thomas learns that the boys are trapped in The Glade, which is a small expanse composed of fields and forests surrounded by large cement walls. Outside the cement walls is a maze—the only means of escape from The Glade. Every day several boys, called runners, run through the maze and try to map it out and find an exit before the doors to the maze close around sundown.

Once the doors close, monsters known as Grievers come out, and no one has survived an encounter with one of them. This begs the question: how do the boys know the Grievers exist, if no one has survived an encounter with one? This was actually the only plot hole that was readily apparent in this film, which was a welcome surprise, as plot holes usually abound in sci-fi films.

The film’s cinematography is active, much like its subjects, but is not particularly distinctive in any way; it is decidedly average. The same could be said for the music, upbeat and catchy at times, and certainly not unpleasant, but not the least bit memorable or discernable from other action flicks.

The acting is, well, better than Twilight, but that’s not saying much. The dialogue is what audiences have come to expect from movies targeting teen viewers: a lot of completely unnecessary lines that are meant to demonstrate a character’s leadership and dominance but instead result in him or her stating the obvious and sounding bossy. Think of all the “let’s do this”-esque lines in action movies, except throughout the whole film.

The real thing that holds this movie together and saved it from becoming a complete flop, however, is its plot. The initial sci-fi Lord of The Flies premise is intriguing to begin with, but, as the story progresses, characters die and the film becomes increasingly dark and ominous. This is where The Maze Runner is different from most movies in its genre—it is significantly more moody and unreliable than most teen-oriented action, adventure films. It is more adult and less young.

All in all, The Maze Runner, while sporting poor acting and dialogue, manages to stand on its own due to its dark, brooding plot. It brings something new to the genre and is thoroughly enjoyable throughout, especially the ending. But don’t worry, no spoilers here.

Ultimately, The Maze Runner is a good movie for a rainy evening with friends but not for someone looking for a masterpiece of filmmaking—or anything even close to one.

 

First-year Preman Koshar is a contributing writer. His email is pkoshar@fandm.edu.

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