The Maze Runner movie poster
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The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner movie poster

The Maze Runner Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

“I didn’t understand the movie.” These were the words spoken by my girlfriend at the end of The Maze Runner, a dystopian sci-fi action-thriller starring a lot of young men/teenagers and one attractive woman who would probably not fare too well if the movie wasn’t based on a young adult book by James Dashner.

“It’s about a bunch of kids trying to escape from a gigantic maze. What’s there not to understand?” I asked, baffled.

“I get that. But I don’t get it.”

She has a point. The Maze Runner, as it stands, is a perfectly enjoyable piece of filmmaking. Full of action and devoid of much (but not all) of the teen melodrama that plagues most young adult stories, The Maze Runner is exciting, sometimes intense, and almost always entertaining. But it’s the hook that really sets The Maze Runner apart: the mystery as to why a bunch of kids—all boys, sadly for them and me (but not my girlfriend)—have been locked in a giant, deadly maze with no connection to the outside world and no memory of their lives before this shit-deal happened to them.

Unfortunately, the why is never explained. That’s not really a spoiler, because going in you have to know that The Maze Runner is the first of three (or four, if the trend of splitting books into two continues) box office-gods-willing movies. And why bother with explaining anything at all when the filmmakers and studio can make you wait two or more years to find out.

Seriously, though, the movie is pretty fun. The Maze Runner isn’t without its shortcomings—some so-so acting, its underuse of the sole female, Kaya Scodelario, and the fact that I think of We’re the Millers every time I see Will Poulter—but it is fast paced, with strong visual effects and an intriguing, unique story.

Unfortunately, its ending is somewhat infuriating and extremely abrupt, even compared to other young adult adaptations that also have more story to tell and tickets to sell. But it’s not the abruptness of it all that’s the problem; it’s that the explanation given to the survivors literally makes no sense, that the logic behind putting a bunch of kids in a maze is so confusing and poorly worded that you’re left more baffled and underwhelmed than you are itching for a sequel.

Like my girlfriend, I didn’t understand the movie. Still, as far as action and adventure goes, The Maze Runner delivers.

Spoiler question: How does Gally get to the control room, and so fast? He would have had to leave mere minutes after the rest of the group, navigate a maze he’d never once navigated and go through all kinds of obstacles by himself.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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