Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Maze Runner

Year: 2014
Director: Wes Ball
Screenplay: Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, T.S. Nowlin
Novel: James Dashner

The best way to see The Maze Runner is to go into this movie knowing nothing about it. This is what I did, and it made a hell of a lot of difference to my enjoyment of the film.  With a (12a) certificate stamped on the billboard outside, it won’t be long before you realise why they couldn’t make their minds up, as a distinct (15) flashed on the screen when it began.

Director Wes Ball has turned, what could have been a laborious run-of-the-mill teen sci-fi flick into short-sharp, edge-of-your seat excitement, where you care what happens and who gets hurt. Not bad for a pretty green (by Hollywood standards) director.

What’s good about The Maze Runner is, just like its predecessors, you don’t have to be a (Y)oung (A)dult to enjoy it. There’s a little bit of The Hunger Games vibe, and a dash of Divergent’s sci-fi, and a hint of TVs ‘Lost’ mystery, with a splash of ‘Lord of the Flies’, all rolled into one.

Running at 113 minutes, The Maze Runner doesn’t have much time for boring chit-chat. When the CGI action gets going, it gets going, and you’re guaranteed a heart-rate to match. Dan Zimmerman (Predators 2010) is responsible for the editing. Photography is courtesy of Enrique Chediak, known for 28 Weeks Later (2007). Add to that Production design by Marc Fisichella, his credits include X-Men: First Class (2011) and The X Files (1998).

Visuals aside, there is some very strong acting here from the leads, namely Dylan O’Brien, as Thomas our main protagonist, Will Poulter as Gally his competition, Blake Cooper as Chuck the youngest, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt the level-headed one. In fact, there is a whole host of soon-to-be-stars all trapped in the 'Glade' trying to find their way out of the dangerous Maze.

This really is more of an ensemble cast, as the performances, especially from Ki Hong Lee as Minho the Runner, and Aml Ameen as Alby the leader of the group, can’t be faulted either.

With a story that keeps you guessing (unless you’ve already read the 2009 source material via James Dashner’s book of the same name, and soon to be a trilogy with prequels) plus some really nasty looking monsters, it’s worth a trip to the cinema. I recommend The Maze Runner. After the sobering depression left over from ‘Gone Girl’; this comes as a welcome relief.

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