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Film Review – The Maze Runner

03 Nov

A 20th Century Fox Film, Directed by Wes Ball

Released19th September 2014

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Ki Hong Lee, Aml Ameen, Blake Cooper 

Review: It’s rare that I’ll see a film without knowing anything about it. In fact, the only other film I can think that I saw under a similar circumstance recently was Gravity. My point is, despite knowing that going into a film blind greatly enhances the experience, I can rarely bring myself to hold off on the potential spoilers.

However, The Maze Runner was never a film I thought I would be interested in, so when my former house-mate invited me to see it last night, I saw a rare opportunity present itself.

The film is about a group of stranded amnesiac teenagers who find themselves mysteriously transported to ‘The Glade’, a grassy area in the middle of a grand maze. Inducted into the group, Thomas, the newest arrival, must find his place in this new society, whilst hoping to convince his new family that they can find a way out of the maze as he strives to become a ‘runner’.

The Cast

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My favourite thing about The Maze Runner was the likeable cast. Several of the main characters are actors I recognise from their roles in various British television shows such as Doctor Who, Skins and School of Comedy. This was helpful, I think, as it reaffirmed my belief in the film, which I suspected would be full of irritating child actors. But no, these were performers of 21-29, all of whom had been blessed with previous experience and proper training, bar one, that is; but his casting as the loveable ‘Chuck’ made him a forgiveable addition.

In fact, my appreciation for the casting was such that even when characters began evolving to become the antagonists of the piece, I still found myself rooting for their survival due to the fact that the actors portrayed their roles with the necessary amounts of emotion and intensity.

The Story

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Likewise, the story also held a similar level of emotion and intensity. The tone was set from the beginning, and details of the truth behind the lies was seeded delicately so that we were never too far ahead of the characters in the piece.

And although at times, the film lapsed into moments of predictability, this always felt as if it were necessary to further the natural progression of the plot, and thus, were ignorable. The only other true flaw I found in the film was the occasionally cheesy dialogue, but of course, I have to remind myself that this is a film aimed at a younger audience than myself, and when we consider that, I think it goes above and beyond to entertain.

Although my friends may not agree with me, I would go so far as to say The Maze Runner picked up the slack that the first Hunger Games dropped. Although I am a big fan of the Hunger Games, I know a lot of my friends criticized it for not being ‘gritty’ or ‘death-fuelled’ enough. The Maze Runner however, finds several instances where characters finds themselves in precariously dangerous situations. Although, to be fair, a lot of the deaths do happen off-screen, there is never a moment where you find yourself disappointed by how the death has come about (unless of course, the character who just died was one of your favourites).

The Cinematography

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This exhilarating and gritty story is accompanied well by the filming of the piece. Although at times things were rather shake-y, the overall camera-work and direction were for the most part flawless, as it cuts and pans at just the right times to help move the scenes along. The dark hues throughout help cloud the menace of the ‘Griever’ monsters, so that although you have a good sense of what our protagonists are facing in the maze, you’re always left with a bit of doubt as to their true nature. Are they pure machine, or mechanically processed monsters; that much was never entirely clear, but I enjoyed not knowing. These little details kept from us made me more excited for the next part of The Maze Runner saga.

And although the suspense-building ending was a tad contrived, like the aforementioned predictability, it was necessary set up for The Scorch Trials, which I, personally, now cannot wait for.

Overall, with moving characters, an intriguing plot and sublime filming, The Maze Runner is a truly enjoyable flick, and probably one of my most surprising enjoyable movies of twenty-fourteen. I’d like to put it in my top five, but I’m not sure what it would replace. So for now, it’ll have to hang on at five-and-a-half.

Basically, if you haven’t already, go see The Maze Runner.

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Posted by on November 3, 2014 in Film & TV

 

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