Wes Ball's fresh adaption of the young adult novel is sure to excite
Director Wes Ball brings a thrilling adaptation of the "New York Times" bestselling dystopian novel "The Maze Runner," by James Dashner, to the big screen. The movie opened this weekend, aggregating an estimated 32.5 million dollars, and is expected to take in an estimated 37.6 million from 50 markets internationally.
Led by "Teen Wolf" star Dylan O'Brien, the movie's plot follows a group of boys trapped in a glade surrounded by a gigantic stone maze. Thomas, played by O'Brien, is the last boy to arrive in the enclosure; his memory is wiped clean save for his name. He soon forges friendships with the leader of the boys, Alby (Aml Ameen); his second in command, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster); strong, compassionate runner Minho (Ki Hong-Lee); and young, corpulent Chuck (Blake Cooper). However, things change when Thomas begins to break the rules of the glade in an attempt to find a way out through the maze. As the tension within the community of boys becomes palpable, the audience can see the end of the road: a turning of tables of some sorts is imminent and Thomas is the stimulus for it.
The movie begins by throwing us straight into the gauntlet. Our eyes perceive a black screen while our ears are deluged by the overwhelming sounds of a motor being turned on and someone's breathing. We then see Thomas, tattered and hyperventilating, trying to find a way out of a metal elevator that is rapidly ascending. It's claustrophobic, exhilarating and intense.
This level of intensity is maintained throughout the the movie, helped along by the background music. American film composer John Paesano brings a variety of techniques to the movie soundtrack: Native drum beats and sequences create a deep and powerful effect, adding gravity to tense moments such as Thomas's confrontation with mutinous bully, Gally. The effective placement of crescendos and diminuendos also adds to the surging, fast-paced movement of the film.
The actors bring undeniable talent to the film. O'Brien has an authentic take on his character, Thomas. His ability to capture both the inner turmoil and the curiosity Thomas feels in the glade marks his strong performance. Other strong performances by Ameen, Hong Lee, Brodie-Sangster and Poulter give the movie its entrancing effect.
Another commendable effect introduced in the film is in Thomas's flashbacks. They're short, bright and dizzying; composed of a myriad of different events in his past. They leave the audience with a hint of the answer to the overarching question that plagues the boys: "Why are we here and who put us here?"
However, I can firmly assert that the Maze Runner is a crowd pleaser. It's engaging and delivers the dark angst that teenagers relish in dystopian worlds. Overall, it brings a refreshing, carefully morbid approach to the growing field of Young Adult science fiction adventures.
Divya Rajagopal. Hi! My name is Divya Rajagopal. I'm a junior and I love writing. I enjoy watching Suits and How I Met Your Mother and listening to Coldplay. I play tennis on my school team and ski in the winter. More »