Editor’s note: This review first was published Sept. 19, 2014.
‘Maze Runner’ surprisingly intense for latest teen book-turned-film
If young adult novel writers have their way, humanity’s future will be grim indeed. From games that pit children against each other to the death to a society where homogeneity is prized above all else, dystopian nightmares litter possible future scenarios for our increasingly doomed species.
So, while I can’t say the basic premise of the dystopian future in “The Maze Runner” — a blend between “Lord of the Flies” and “Lost” — will be revolutionary, I can say that it’s handled much more deftly than most before it, thanks to able leads and a overwhelming sense of foreboding that permeates the entire film.
“The Maze Runner,” based on the novel of the same name by James Dashner and directed by Wes Ball, falls in line with recent YA books-turned-movies such as “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” by mostly hewing to the realm of reality. No vampires or werewolves here. (Though our protagonist is best known for role in MTV’s “Teen Wolf.”) Instead, we find Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), frightened and douse in sweat, being transported up an industrial elevator that drops him off in the center of a gorgeous field — surrounded on all sides by monstrously tall and intimidating walls. With his memory seemingly erased, Thomas doesn’t know where he is or why he’s here. But no worries: He’s not alone in this verdant prison.
Three “How’d I get here?” stars out of five.