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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

The Maze Runner (2014)


Mazes usually aren’t this complicated. Just ask Jack. Oh wait, don’t bother.

For no reason whatsoever, 16-year-old Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) is woken up by a loud bang and finds himself on an elevator that leads to a place he has no idea about. He’s in total and complete confusion, but the people that he meets when he gets to the top (all young males) have a good idea of who he is, what he’s doing here, and just what sort of environment they’re in. According to some of the “villagers”, after society broke down, they were all knocked out, had most of their memories erased, and left to complete a gigantic, seemingly never-ending maze that whoever in charge, created for them to complete. Problem is, the maze is incredibly deadly and almost nobody who has gone into it, has came back out alive. And even if they have, they have no idea of just how the hell to get to the end of it. Basically, it’s task to difficult to accomplish; a reality that some of the villagers have accepted and are absolutely fine with. Thomas isn’t and he decides to take it upon himself to try whatever he can to finish the maze, even if he has to risk his own life.

Another year, another handful or so young adult adaptations.

Not Katniss.  Hell, he's not even Tris. Just a boring bro.

Not Katniss. Hell, he’s not even Tris. Just a boring bro.

Typically, this is a remark made by older folks such as myself and with good reason – ever since Twilight ruled the box-office and ushered in a new kind of audience that could not be messed with, there’s been an endless supply of similar movies that cater to practically the same audience, old heads be damned. While these films can sometimes be great and reach more than just their target-audience (the Hunger Games), and sometimes, can just seem like carbon copies of better-told stories to come before them (Divergent and the upcoming sequel, Insurgent), there’s no denying that we are on YA-overload and eventually, the tower will come tumbling down, destroying just about everything and everyone in it’s path.

But until then, we’re still subject to movies like the Maze Runner which, believe it or not, isn’t as bad as the rest of the batch of YA adaptations have been. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s perfect, but given that the story seems to be basically the Hunger Games, with a tad bit of an indie-twist, there’s both things to credit, as well as discredit.

Let’s start off nice with the giving of credit where credit’s due, and that’s to director Wes Ball who, surprisingly, was given this as his directorial-debut. It would seem almost too risky for a large company such as 20th Century Fox to put all of their hopes, dreams and aspirations on a first-timer like Ball, but the risk is actually greater than the reward, because without trying to do much at all, Ball does everything that a story like this needs. Rather than giving us every bit of detail and information we need to know about this world that we’re thrown into, Ball keeps us in the dark as much as possible. Which is, yes, only fitting considering that the protagonist has the same thing done to him, but there’s something to be said for a director who’s not just making his mainstream debut, but his actual film debut.

Also, what seems to help, too, is that the world we’re set in and forced to believe in, seems pretty interesting. Because there’s no clear idea of what the hell is really going on outside the huge walls surrounding these characters, the ideas and possibilities seem endless. Sure, they could all eventually lead to being, yet again, another world where the evil grown-ups have taken over the world and are making the young whippersnappers something of their own guinea pigs, but for the time being, before that big reveal does, or does not get shown to us, what’s going on around these characters and this movie is totally up in the air. It’s mysterious, but cool. And Ball seems to really relish in screwing with us.

That is, until he isn’t allowed to do that anymore.

See, around the half-way mark, we are of course then thrown into the actual maze itself and while I won’t spend my time spoiling each and every bit of it, let me just say that it’s pretty uneventful. All of the mystery that was surrounding this movie so effectively, totally fades into the air once we’re treated to the sight of spider robots.

You heard me right, people. Spider fuckin’ Robots.

"Men! Let the battles for loss of our virginity begin!"

“Men! Let the battles for loss of our virginity begin!”

I have yet to read the Maze Runner novels (and it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever get to reading them, if we’re being honest here), but regardless of whether or not these spider robots are actually in the source material, it calls into question whether anybody involved with thinking of worthy enough antagonists were even trying. Sure, they may be huge, tactical and deadly, but what purpose do they serve, other than to just stand in the way of our protagonists and their ultimate goal of freedom, or whatever? It just seemed goofy to me and ultimately, had me lose interest, just when it seemed like the movie should have grabbed me by the throat and forced me to stick with it every turn it made and every dead-end it hit.

And of course, the half-way point is also when the plot’s cracks begin to show, especially once an actual female jumps in and messes with all of these masculine dude’s heads. Right? I mean, you’d think that with all of these adolescent boys being forced to hanging around members of the same sex, day in, day out and with no promises made about ever a female ever again, that when one would practically fall into their lap, they’d go a little wild over here? Better yet, you’d assume that there would be extreme battles-to-the-death where the last man standing, got the girl and got to repopulate the rest of society (as creepy as it may ultimately have been when a sister and a brother were forced to do the same thing)? Well, honestly, that’s a bit risky and I don’t blame 20th Century Fox for not going with that angle. Heck, even I wouldn’t go with that angle if I was making that sort of movie, for a different crowd, with a lot less money handed to me.

But hey, we dare to dream, folks.

Consensus: A certain air of mystery that surrounds the Maze Runner‘s universe is what makes it so interesting to watch and keep track of, all until the actual maze comes into play and things get pretty dull, predictable and similar to so many other movies released in the past few years.

6 / 10 = Rental!!

Inside lies something bad and dangerous. Right, guys?

Ehh. Seems pretty easy.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDB, AceShowbiz

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11 responses to “The Maze Runner (2014)

  1. Tom February 11, 2015 at 5:38 am

    Nice review Dan, I have to concur. Once we see the “grievers” the magic kind of dissipates. I also didn’t think Thomas was well-written enough for me to give two hoots about. But that’s just me.

  2. Dude the cleaner February 11, 2015 at 11:43 am

    You are dead on Dan. I saw it myself a while back and it looks like the other teenager movie out there like the hunger games etc….and it is getting on my nerves. They see a good thing and they manipulate it over and over. That is why I didn’t put it in my website. Great review thanks.

  3. Mr. Movie February 11, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    I actually didn’t mind ‘Maze Runner,’ however, I went in with pretty low expectations!

  4. Lord Pao February 12, 2015 at 6:36 am

    I like the movie and after the ending make me gripping back for more

  5. Writer Loves Movies February 12, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I was tempted to see this one but never got around to it. I might catch it when it’s on Netflix or something. Nice review Dan.

  6. Three Rows Back February 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Nice work Dan. Better than I thought it might be to be honest.

  7. johngordon321 February 14, 2015 at 4:15 am

    This is a good review. You are much kinder to this movie than I. Here is my biggest complaint about it: **Spoilers! Everything is a spoiler after this point**

    How did the bully character get there at the end? The rest of them navigated a maze full of spider robots and did all sorts of other stuff just to get to the “adult” area. Then the bully character appears out of nowhere. He had never been in the freakin’ maze before! It’s like he teleported.

    I have yet to hear anyone else say something about this. Maybe I’m the only one bothered by it. *Shrug*

  8. Tim The Film Guy February 14, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I liked it a lot more than I had originally thought. Looking forward to the sequel 😀

  9. Bill Meeker February 14, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    I’m in complete agreement with you, Dan!

  10. Victor De Leon February 19, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I’ll skip it bro. Thanks for the review!

  11. Ben March 8, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Aside from the tacked on ending, I really enjoyed this movie. I thought the Grievers were good “baddies” and the moments in the maze were the best parts of the movie. Much better than the usual YA fare anyway.

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