The Maze Runner (2014)

The first of a trilogy… and probably the best one. I have seen this movie a few times and every time I am not disappointed. I don’t remember, but I probably saw it a year or so after it’s theatrical release. So, I didn’t get the silver screen experience. Which probably would have been cool given the vastness of the maze and the sound effects. Oh well. If I was smarter, I would have just gone to see it alone (not a big fan of solo movie trips).

Honestly, the movie is good. I was prepared to rip this into pieces expecting it to be bad but watching it again made me realize it is good. Yes, the movie has flaws when it comes the angle and distance they cover when trying to avoid getting crushed by the ever-changing maze. If you watch closely it seems the gaps are closing way to fast to seem feasible. Maybe it is just me, but I am sure they would have been crushed if this wasn’t a movie.

The acting wasn’t bad either for what was supposed to be a bunch of young adults while they learn the harsh reality of their world. Like teens coming of age and the sort. To me this is a big theme of the movie. The kids growing up and developing into who they are meant to be. Think of it this way, all the Gladers live in relative safety in their community if they follow three simple rules. Everyone does their part and they get a steady stream of supplies. All of which gets thrown into disarray when Thomas arrives. Like shaking a tree to get some of the forbidden fruit. His arrival really does set everything into motion because let’s be real, a movie about kids living in a glade would be boring.

I am a big fan of the dystopian feel and can imagine myself watching the movie for the first time thinking ‘what is on the other side of the walls’ and ‘why are they here’. I would probably be one of the people who sit atop the WCKD compound and stare out over the horizon all day. I love the imagery. Leading into my next point, story progression. Although it skips forward and there is no real sense of how many days go by, it does fall into place nicely. They don’t do a lot of info dumping while providing us with information to help answer some of our questions. It does leave a lot of stones unturned and opens to more questions. The visuals are better than some newer movies and the special effects don’t seem to be overdone.

Surprisingly, I did get those feels you get during certain moments of triumph and sadness, although not overly strong they were there which is nice. A movie really isn’t complete without them. The movie is filled with tough decisions young adults hopefully never have to make. Sending a friend to their death while having to decide to leave the safety of your home for an uncertain better life. They experience loss and sacrifice amongst themselves as the glade falls into disarray.

One thing I tried to figure out but couldn’t… when they say WCKD’s complete name, World Catastrophe Killzone Department. I seriously can’t figure out why they would use Killzone… to me it makes no sense. I get they wanted the name to be “wicked”, but they could have left it out of the movie. Just makes it awkward to think about when you add Killzone. Also, the creatures that WCKD uses to hunt the test subjects. They aren’t explained one bit.

As far as story goes the only real plot twist is as the end. When we learn the scientist, who died on tape, is not dead and the entire thing is all part of the test. This ending leaves the movie with two options: make a sequel or leave it be. Obviously, we all know they made a trilogy out of this.

Overall, I liked this movie and will give it four out of five stars on my rating scale. If you haven’t seen it then I say grab some popcorn and give it a watch. I don’t think it will disappoint. It had a lot of new (at the time) actors which is refreshing, and they all did a phenomenal job. It is a creative film and provides us with a fresh take on a dystopian world.

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