Everyone postulated that the fate of the adaptation of James Dashner’s young adult hit book The Maze Runner will not be a merry one. But the film emerges as a stunning surprise unlike the herd of YA tryouts since Twilight and The Hunger Games. The Maze Runner springs an anomaly because of it’s focus on the don’ts rather than the do’s of YA adaptations.
The Maze Runner starts downright with a memory-less Dylan O’Brien heading up in a cage into a grassy arena called the Glade led by Alby (Aml Ameen). The Glade is surrounded on all sides by 100 feet tall walls concealing the former in the center of a giant maze. The walls of the Glade are open throughout the day for the boyland to explore the ever-changing maze. During the night the walls remain closed but the maze is raided by bio-mechanical creatures called Grievers who sting the Gladers to death. The Glade is a structured system with rules for its survival consisting of Runners to navigate the maze, Builders, Medics and Chefs. Thomas Brodie-Sangster (of Game of Thrones fame) plays Newt, Alby’s substitute, and Blake Cooper plays the youngest Glader and brings out the comic moments in the film. Will Poulter (We’re the Millers) plays dominant bully Gally. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) remembers only his name in a day just like every other boy. Things go awry when Thomas goes rogue breaking every code of the Glade and manages to survive a night inside the maze. Suddenly a sex ratio springs with a advent of a girl Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) who is the last person to be sent to the Glade. Thomas’ antics lead to guys getting stung in the day and the doors remaining ajar in the night for the invasion of Grievers, leaving them with no choice but to escape through the maze.
First-time director Wes Ball, previously just a visual effects expert, was handed reins of this films based on an 8-minute CGI fim. Ball pulls off a more than commendable job with a $34 million budget. He keeps character development at bay and keeps the plot ticking, albeit he does take his sweet time in showing us the maze. The visual effects are laudable. The screenplay is watertight knowing its direction to climax which has its own climax. Ball also extracts supreme performances from every young actor. The Maze Runner is a must watch for the young adult genre and is easily comparable to The Hunger Games.