Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cinema Won Reviews: "The Maze Runner"

Based on the best-selling novel,
The Hunger Games!


      I think I've made it clear that I don't really mind most of the trends that many say is ruining the film industry. I don't mind sequels, remakes and adaptations that others hate. But, I don't like the trend of young adult adaptations that are desperately trying to copy The Hunger Games. Mostly because I don't particularly like The Hunger Games and that trends spawned Divergent, to which there's no room for forgiveness. That said, I was more interested for The Maze Runner than most of the others. The concept and set up seemed, while not entirely original, at least more fun sounding that Hunger Games or less incredibly stupid than Divergent. Plus, mazes are hype. Unfortunately, even with the low bar set by Hunger Games, Maze Runner can't even pass that. It's almost like they weren't even trying. Oh wait...
      The Maze Runner follows a group of boys, sent by a mysterious elevator, who find themselves trapped, surrounded by a giant maze that is constantly changes. They have been unable to escape for three years. However, when mysterious Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) arrives, he teams up with several of the other boys, Alby (Aml Ameen), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Chuck (Blake Cooper) and Newt ( Thomas Brodie-Sangster) to try and escape. However, between monsters in the maze, opposition from other boys and the arrival of the only girl, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) make things a little tricker. The film also stars Will Poulter as the leader of the rival boys. The film was directed by Wes Ball, his debut, and was written by Noah Oppenheim. Grant Pierce Myers and T.S. Nowlin, all of whom also are debuting here. The original novel was written by James Dashner.

It's pretty much a summer camp.
      The Maze Runner is a movie steps up a more interesting reveal than it actually has. And it raises the question of whether or not the fact that it's got a good setup can trump the fact that it's a letdown in the end. I normally don't get into blatant spoilers, but I feel this one is a bit more necessary to talk about. So if you don't want the ending ruined, just skip to the verdict below. Spoiler: Okay, so the entire time I assumed the ending would be something kinda lame, like it was a TV show or something. Which would have been a little more blatant that I really should have expected, seeing as how, you know, that'd be a bit more of a rip-off of Hunger Games than even a young adult novel adaptation would go. But, in the end, what is the big reveal? That it was a science experiment. Yes, that's it.
      That's it. That's it. An experiment. The film doesn't even explain it well, even though it really didn't try to because it ended on a cliffhanger like all of these freaking movies do. But, even on the most off days of a writer, that's pretty freaking lame. I mean, it could have been revealed as a Predator training ground. That'd be fucking awesome. But no, it's just science. Ugh. Look I would mind as much if the rest of the movie is good. But it's just not really. Whatever originality the book might of had is gone here. I know I joked about it a lot earlier, but it really is the most Hunger Games rip-off we've gotten yet. The fact that the characters don't remember who we are means everyone's wildly underdeveloped, Teresa might as well where a t-shirt that says" Will be important in sequel" as she does nothing here.
      And on top of that the maze is a big disappointment. It's mostly just grey walls with the occasional Legends of the Hidden Temple obstacle in the way like, closing walls, jumps and different closing walls. Don't worry, they're different cause they spin. Even the monsters aren't that interesting. Half robot, half spider, half scorpion the most important thing one does is die. There's not a hell of a lot to say. The movie just hits cliche after teen movie cliche like it's playing young adult bingo. The most interesting thing is the thought of whatever the reveal will be and as I said earlier, it's a massive letdown.

Yup, that's a wall alright.
The Verdict

      The Maze Runner isn't a bad movie. It is however, a boring one that, due to dull characters, a cliched story and lackluster set pieces, fails to live up to even the most modest expectations. And once the film reveals what's really going on is completely obvious, there isn't much hope things will get better. However, I should say that I did see the film with a large group of people (Including the Undefined Gamer, who had basically the same opinion as me). And among those people were several big fans of the book (I never read it). And they seemed to enjoy the movie and are excited for the already announced sequel. So, basically, I didn't find The Maze Runner to be anything special, but the people who read the book did, so make of that what you will. The Maze Runner gets 3 and a half stars out of 6.

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