As I've complained many times in my reviews, the entire offering of movies seems to be at a crossroads. Caught up in bad transitions from the books that made them so popular in the first place, the movies themselves have largely disappointed, plagued by either significant rewrites or love stories with actors I couldn't care less about. Fortunately, The Maze Runner doesn't come close to shorting out its chances for sequels, even though some plot holes are evident.
There are two reasons that set The Maze Runner apart from so many horrid YA movies: the first is its smart decision to ditch any sense of a love story from the far more interesting dystopian disaster of future Earth. The idea that desperate people concoct an elaborate plan to save humanity using children is the kind of forward thinking we need in modern plots. The other reason for the movie's success is the decision by Writers Noah Oppenheim and Grant Pierce Myers to change the ending of the book, something which normally is a death nail for an aspiring tentpole. I won't bore you with the details, but the changes streamline things while ramping things up for future sequels.
We're the Millers - who gives evil a face we can both relate to and find ourselves not believing when his deceptive plans are unleashed. Scodelario doesn't figure until near the end of the second act, but her effect is decidely mixed. I'm sure she'll be more involved in future sequels, but for now her arrival and presence adds a needed kick just when the story was beginning to flatten out.
Still there is a lot of maddening moments throughout Maze. The plot is unnecessarily convoluted, never fully explaining why the maze walls shift, how doing so helps the the boys (and girl) assist in saving mankind, and why the Grievers are even a part of the equation, minus the venom-stuff. Clarkson barely registers in the film's final scenes, until we learn about the deceptive plot which the adults have concocted. Finally, there's a sense that a lot of this film got left in the editing bank, making me hope for a director's cut that will better explain some of these concerns. I can't give more than that away, but I hope a second screening might resolve some of that. To admit I might actually pay this time should say something.
The Maze Runner is rated PG-13 for for thematic elements and intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, including some disturbing images and has a runtime of 113 minutes.
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