Friday, September 19, 2014

The Maze Runner movie review

There's no missing leg day.

The Maze Runner is the film adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name. In the film, we, as an audience, accompany Thomas when he wakes up, with no memory, in this village filled with young boys. He ends up learning more about that place and the maze that surrounds it which prevents its residents from leaving, so he makes it a mission to help his fellow survivors escape.

I did not expect much going into the film, because the trailers made it look like another generic YA adaptation, and it really didn't interest me. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that wasn't the case with this movie.

The first two acts of this movie is just great. The world-building was really good and it established all its characters well enough, and that really helped immerse you in the world and in the film. The first act also set up a nice mystery that I thought, for the most part, worked really well. 

Director Wes Ball did one hell of a job directing this film. As said earlier, he set up the world and the characters very well and keep the film interesting, but he also managed to pull off some intense and exciting action sequences, AND he also got some damn good performances out of his actors. I also really liked the cinematography done by Enrique Chediak. There were quite a number of beautiful shots all throughout the movie. Some of my favorite shots were inside the Glade (the village), because some shots made it feel like you were actually in that place with them, it kept the feeling of isolation.

There are some good performances here, the two standouts being Dylan O'Brien (Thomas) and Will Poulter (Gally). Admittedly, I was surprised when I realized that a Teen Wolf actor was actually doing a good job carrying the film. He makes the protagonist pretty relatable, and actually delivers on some touching scenes. Will Poulter, from Narnia and We're The Millers fame, was really good as well. His character was a real fun one to watch, mostly because of Poulter's performance, but also because his character is just really interesting. Other than those two, not many other characters get to shine, really. Blake Cooper (Chuck) was pretty good, but only had a couple of scenes, and the rest pretty much recited expository lines most of the time.

One of my problems with the movie was its pacing. The pacing of the film made it feel like another generic YA novel. I mean, it pretty much has the same structure as every YA adaptation of the past couple of years, and that kind of hurt the film from trying to create its own identity as a franchise, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it ruined the experience. It was only a minor problem.

My major problem with the film was its third act. I mentioned that the mystery in the film worked "for the most part", and what I mean is it mishandled the revelation and the entire ending in the third act. No spoilers here, but the revelation wasn't executed properly, because nothing really comes out of it. It's kind of only used for sequel bait rather than anything relevant to the characters/story, and that really brought down the movie for me. Top that off with the "cliffhanger"ending which really isn't an cliffhanger at all. It's more of the movie just ending without no real resolution to the characters/story we've gone through this journey with. The movie wasn't really well-rounded, and felt incomplete in many ways.

I enjoyed this movie... a lot, actually. It's pretty much better than every other YA adaptation (excluding Hunger Games, cause I like those films too) we've got these past couple of years. It had great directing and cinematography, good world-building, some strong performances, and was an all around amazing theater experience. It may have gotten injured towards the end, but like a determined runner, it managed to make its way across the finish line.