The Maze Runner (2014)

  • Time: 113 min
  • Genre: Action | Mystery | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Wes Ball
  • Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter


Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies. A new boy arrives every 30 days. The original group has been in “The Glade” for two years, trying to find a way to escape through the Maze that surrounds their living space. They have begun to give up hope. Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and their world begins to change. There are some great, fast-paced action scenes, particularly those involving the nightmarish Grievers who plague the boys.


  • I’m going to start this review out by saying that I walked into this movie no knowledge of the book series, so all I know is what friends of mine told me happens in the book; which I learned after the movie ended. From what I was told, they did leave out certain aspects of the book, and slightly altered the ending, and I believe that these book aspects were unnecessary anyway, as they made a film which told an exciting story anyway, regardless of the story the book told.

    My criticisms of the movie are that the ending wasn’t very original. Knowing nothing of the books, I was surprised because I didn’t know that there would be a series out of this, and it wasn’t just a stand alone film. This definitely helped me appreciate the ending more than others, but now that I know, I can look back and realize that the set up for the sequel was just awful. Without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that they could easily have made it more subtle, and it would have improved it quite significantly. My other concern is that it predicable to a certain degree, and when they find out why they are in the maze, it seems like a situation that is being overused these days.

    Having said all that however, the film did manage to excite me for the sequel, which I didn’t even know was going to happen. The CGI was pretty good, there were some iffy moments, but overall I was impressed. The story also managed to remain interesting while setting up for the climax, with incredible action sequences, and one really tough to watch scene about how they deal with a deadly infection. This scene was emotional, and hard to watch, but it brilliantly illustrated how desperate and helpless the boys in the movie are.

    The films highlight was the acting. There was not a single moment where the acting was bland, which was a nice surprise to me, considering the youth in the cast. Kaya Scodelario did have a few moments where you could tell she was struggling to fight her British accent, but her acting was still well done. The three highlights of the cast were Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Will Poulter especially, who was fantastic. These three actors more than anyone were great in every scene they were in.

    Overall, I give The Maze Runner an 8/10, because the story, effects, and acting were great, while the ending could have been better…

  • This movie when not compared to James Dashners book is wonderful. The cinematography is wonderful, the script is great, and the acting is even better. I admit I might be biased on the acting part my favorite actor stars in this movie. Here are the reasons its not good.

    Alby shows Thomas around the first day. The screen writer gave Alby all of Chucks dialog from the book. Theresa doesn’t go into a coma. Ben isn’t in “the changing” when Thomas comes to the Glade. there is no cliff. the “keeper’s meeting” isn’t private. Gally doesn’t get mad at the meeting and leave the Glade. In the maze Thomas has Minho’s help getting Alby up on the maze wall. it rains. Theresa brings the serum with her. Thomas and Theresa don’t communicate telepathically. The Griever attack is all wrong. Gally doesn’t give himself to the grievers. there are numbers as a password. the scientists are dead when the “Gladers” arrive. Gally doesn’t want to leave. Gally kills chuck without being controlled. the maze is not underground. For those reasons I give this a rating of seven. it follows the book but leaves out things that are important. Not all of the things I put are important to the movie. but I felt were.

  • Those with genre fatigue may groan at yet another film adaptation of a YA series concerned with surviving in a dystopian future. To its credit, The Maze Runner manages to be a solid, if not particularly original, piece of entertainment.

    Thomas (Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien) awakens in a freight elevator that deposits him in the Glade, a vast expanse of meadows and woods enclosed within towering concrete walls. Welcomed by de facto leader Alby (Aml Ameen) and his second-in-command Newt (Thomas Brodie-Singer), Thomas is apprised of the rules of the Glade: do your part, never harm another Glader, and never go beyond the walls. Following the rules means maintaining the order of the society these lost boys have created.

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  • The premise is pretty entertaining, though as others have pointed out here it is not entirely original. In fact, it reminded me of “The Hunger Games”-series, but not as good.
    The visual effects were well done throughout and the design of look and feel of the maze creatures was very well done. Unfortunately while the story starts out strong, the plot pretty much falls apart at the end, with a lot of things happening that don’t seem to make a great deal of sense, and then they throw in a big hook for the sequel.

    Generally the acting is pretty good, other than the over the top stuff by the fellow playing Gally. Perhaps he was just upset because his character was badly written, but whether it was the acting or the way the character was written it doesn’t work.

    I have not read the books on which Maze is based so there a number of unexplained or poorly explained plot points especially toward the end that I didn’t get. Some folks have suggested that one ought to read the book to really get what’s going on – I’m not going to do that, the screenwriter’s job is to explain them or leave it out, and this movie wasn’t good enough to sell me on the books.

    I think the most disappointing aspect of The Maze Runner is that I have the distinct impression it could have been a lot better if they had spent more time on adapting the story.

  • The Maze Runner 6.5/10: Young-adult films in today’s day and age have been pegged with the tagline of “Silly teen romance with silly life threatening situations on the side.” The Maze Runner, as most can tell, is nothing like that. This movie has sort of a Lord of the Flies and Lost combo to it, making it a real breath of fresh air to the YA genre. The thing that made Lost so interesting was the questions the show posed. This film gives the same feeling to the audience members. Despite a bit of a lackluster ending and somewhat predictable plot, The Maze Runner combines strong acting, breathtaking CGI effects, and a refreshingly darker approach to the YA genre, to give the audience an wildly entertaining thrill ride for the whole film.

    I know a lot of people are huge fans of the book, but I have not read the book and therefore will not judge the movie with any comparisons relating to the original source material. From what I heard though, the film cuts out some scenes from the book, but still stays along the same line. All of the people that read the book that I have talked to, say they very much enjoyed the movie and cannot wait for the sequel.

    What I am mean by predictable plot is the common features that The Maze Runner’s storyline shares with other films. The constant adversity he must overcome to be accepted as part of the group is the main one, but that is probably how it would happen so it is hard to judge that factor. The main problem that most people had with the film was the rushed ending where everything seemed to be happening too fast.

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  • Thomas: “We get out now or we die trying.”
    Minho: “You don’t get it. We’re already dead.”

    “The Maze Runner” is just like its predecessors “Twilight”, “The Giver”,”Divergent” and “The Hunger Games” an adaptation of a book. The same ingredients are present as in the above-mentioned films : a post-apocalyptic world where young people play a key role. A world where society is organized in a new democratic or non-democratic way. In “The Giver” human feelings were suppressed in order to ensure a peaceful existence and people are divided into so-called “factions”. In “The Hunger Games” there are districts with the Capitol as an overarching body that organizes the Hunger Games annually. Also in “Snowpiercer” we see an example of a dystopian world with a particular social classification in a speeding train. The second ingredient that can’t be missed is a revolution against the established values and laws. Obviously, this is again a youthful person with a charismatic personality who has certain talents and who becomes the savior.

    Calling this a pubertal display that tries to take advantage of the huge success of “The Hunger Games” for me personally is greatly exaggerated. What the hell is wrong with the fact that a group of young people are trapped in a hopeless situation already for years and established a commune with its own laws and rituals. Isn’t it a bit like “Oliver Twist” in Charles Dickens’s story, who tries to survive in a miserable orphanage? And the group of young people who end up trying to solve the problem resemble enormously the group of friends from “The Goonies”. Everybody loves that movie, not ? The sympathetic chubby Chuck reminded me immediately of Chunk ! Granted, it’s not very original, and all they are trying is to taste a bit of the success that has this type of movies has with the young moviegoers. But intuitively “The Maze Runner” was for me a of whole new level.

    It’s a highly entertaining film that captivates from the first minute. What I appreciate the most, is the fact that there isn’t too much time wasted on extensive digressions and you are catapulted right into the middle of the story. An elevator takes Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) with high speed up to “The Glade”, where he’s being welcomed by a group of youngsters who live there already for several years and who can’t remember anything except their first name. It’s a wooded glade and everyone got assigned a certain task. The glade is surrounded by an immense labyrinth of which the layout changes at certain times and apparently there is no way to escape out of it. Some of the boys got the status of “Runner”. They leave at the crack of dawn and explore the maze. They try to chart the maze and seek for a possible escape-route.

    The final story isn’t that impressive and looks quite simple : put some young people at the center of a maze from which they can’t escape and afterwards you add a rebellious adventurer who couldn’t care less about the imposed laws and wants to do everything possible to escape. That’s about it in a nutshell. But it’s the way in which the maze is shown that deserves an applause. A mechanical maze that adapts itself at certain times and where at night terrifying monsters (called Grievers. A kind of spider-like robots) wander around. The constant threat of the maze, the unknown and the creepy night sounds provide for an atmosphere full of suspense. The rapid pace of the movie makes sure you won’t be bored for a second. And the special effects look usually impressive. I was only familiar with Will Poulter (goofy Kenny from “We’re the Millers”) and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (“The Last Legion”). The rest of the cast are relatively unknown young actors (and one actress). Usually there’s always one person that mostly starts to annoy me, but this time I thought they all were acting properly. What surprised me the most was the fact that the introduction of Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) didn’t led to yet another teenage love affair as in the other similar movies (But I’m sure this will be a fact in the sequels).

    In my opinion an exciting and successful teen adventure with a few shortcomings. First, I don’t think that those who read the book will think it’s so overwhelming. Probably it won’t meet the expectations and there will be things that are left out or shown in a different way. And knowing the end of the film will surely ruin the fun. Lucky me though, “again” I didn’t read the book. Secondly, I found it pretty idiotic that the group of youngsters were able to build a tower to get an overview of the maze, but not one of them was clever enough to build it next to the wall. And third the ending was quite abruptly. That this is a transition to the logical sequels of this film is obvious. Hopefully they’ll be of the same level as this one and not like “The Hunger Games” of which the second part really looked like a duplicate of the first. And fourth, I find it a bit sad for the firstlings who spent three years searching the exit and the newcomer solves the puzzle in a few days. Although I’m not a proponent of sequels or prequels and I hate it that movies tend to inherit the characteristics of a boring and tedious TV series, I’m enormously looking forward to the second part. Jeeeezzzz, I’m amazed about myself !

  • he Maze Runner has been adapted from a novel into an action film with the promise of the trilogy to be fully released. I’m sure we can expect the third to be split into two parts as is seemingly the latest trend to prolong a franchise for as long as possible. For those unaware, The Maze Runner focuses on Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien (The Internship) and a handful of other teens who are stuck in a seemingly unsolvable maze.

    The story is so vast, the content seems too rushed on screen, without reading The Maze Runner book it’s difficult to know for sure what was removed due to time restrictions, however the story appears to develop far too quickly, perhaps its the nature of this character that it all speeds up, however we go from a guy knowing nothing to becoming the all knowing within a few short days. The action is gripping and enjoyable (you won’t find yourself bored with this one) and while it does feel rushed, you still find yourself emerged in their adventure.

    As the audience you find yourself learning more about the story at the same time as Thomas, it creates the feeling that you’re a part of this film with him. While at the beginning there is far too much question and…To read the full review click here.

  • Less than a half hour into 2014’s The Maze Runner (my first review of the fall season), the character of Alby (Aml Ameen) says to the main character of Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), “you’re not like the others, you’re curious”. Absotively boss! Absotively! That’s the central theme about what’s going on here. A confused young gent is catapulted into a dystopian future and unbeknownst to everybody else, wants to change things and break the cycle. Now in all fairness, I hadn’t read the series of original books by which this flick is based upon. But as I diligently watched what inhabited the screen, I realized that it reminded me of so many other films that I threatened to make a list. Here’s a few that I remember: “Runner” seemed reminiscent of 1990’s Lord of the Flies (themes of savagery and the forming of a tribal society), Cabin in the Woods (the whole behind the scenes feel where governmental workers at a hidden station, are manipulating everything and everyone through the use of hidden cameras), 1997’s Starship Troopers (there are bugs in a large maze that kill people and they’re similar to the ones in Troopers), and 1997’s Cube (all the characters wake up in an unknown place, don’t know each other, and must find their way out of evil, deadly traps and such). Now am I condemning “Runner” because of these factoids? Not really. This ultimately wasn’t the reason for my condensed, two and half star review.

    Featuring cinematography that has the look of a 90’s Pink Floyd music video and filmed primarily in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, The Maze Runner begins with young Thomas aka “Greenie” (played Dylan O’Brien). As the proceedings first come to light, he’s traveling upward in a rundown elevator that ends up surfacing towards a grassy field (with a huge corridor-like structure wrapped around it). When this elevator stops, he finds himself taken in by a bunch of other teenagers. They let him know that he’s trapped (along with them) in a location (the Glade) which harbors no escape of any kind. I mean, there is a way to get out, but it involves hightailing through an enormous maze where at night, evil bug- like creatures (I think they’re called Grievers) can feast on you. Things to look out for in “Runner”: 1. There is less focus on the intricacies of the maze and more on the laughable law and order tactics mitigated by the budding young adults. 2. The movie doesn’t really have any twists and turns and when it does, it’s fully transparent. 3. Characters enter the dystopian world only knowing their name and nothing else about their past. Talk about anesthesia gone afoul.

    Bottom line: The Maze Runner is well edited by Dan Zimmerman, scripted in a mumbo-jumbo sort of way by three writers, and crisply directed by Wes Ball (he helmed the Short, A Work in Progress). The storytelling is mostly straightforward and “Runner’s” running time (ha ha) glides by for most of the way. However, it’s not quite compelling when it should be. Why? My money is on the young actors who come off as novices with the sort of heavy-handed PG-13 material. The tone at which these actors are gauging, is rather muted at best (not to mention low key) and as a result, they can’t sell scenes that are pivotal to us, the audience. It’s not entirely their fault though because there are times when The Maze Runner itself, can’t sell us on its foregone conclusion. Case in point: when the lead player (Dylan O’Brien) goes through the maze, comes out of it all shaken up, and lets everyone know that he might have found a way out, we as involved moviegoers aren’t quite convinced. I mean, this dude finds an opening where a wall is raised and deadly, menacing creatures come charging out of it. How in the heck is that a way out? You tell me. As for O’Brien himself in the role of Thomas, well he’s got movie star looks (he kinda resembles a young Rob Lowe) and a so-so screen presence. But to be honest, he’s about as bland as lentil soup. He’s definitely not ready to carry a big studio film just yet.

    Overall, I’m gonna give The Maze Runner a mixed review because although it didn’t blow my mind, it still sort of held my interest in a mild, time-killing sort of way. Believe me, this isn’t an awful vehicle but it’s not something you’d totally “run” to see.

    Of note: (spoiler alerts) I disliked the way this movie ended immensely. And what threw me for a loop was how it sort of left the window open for a sequel. I mean seriously, what’s next? Are these poor kids gonna get dropped into another maze, with enough safe space to build another life, and with possibly a different order and form of governorship? Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve never read the book (or books) that The Maze Runner is based upon so maybe I’m not getting the gist of what’s going on here. Regardless, my questions are as follows: what society allows scientists to manipulate kids like this? Where are their parents? Why are the young guinea pigs all boys with the exception of one girl? I mean, this flick treats the underage like furry rats in a cage. As the credits rolled, I figured that if “Runner” were to make money, there would probably be a new installment in a couple of years or so. In the end I thought to myself, “what’s the darn point anyway?”

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