Rachel Smith ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The latest in this strain of YA book adaptations to hit the big screen is The Maze Runner and it does not disappoint. Think The Hunger Games plus Lord of the Flies (minus a conch shell plus a maze). This combination adds up to a phenomenal action, sci-fi film. Dylan O’Brien breaks away from his Teen Wolf affiliation and shines as Thomas, the main character and newest addition to “the glade”. The glade is the central living area for a group of boys who were wiped of their memory and put there by an unknown source.
The opening shot sets up the movies general style. It has dark, earthy colors and fuels the action shots with different kinds of light and strong, fast paced music. You are sucked in from beginning to end. There are huge shots of the glade and more impressively of the maze. It all feels real and at moments, feels really terrifying. The direction from Wes Ball itself makes this film worth seeing. The acting is a nice little addition to this dramatic present.
As mentioned, O’Brien shows his acting range in his lead role as Thomas. Thomas changes everything for the boys of the glade and basically takes charge when they are faced with ultimate change and danger. He is a big brother figure to young, chubby Chuck (Blake Cooper); their relationship is subtle but important throughout the film. Thomas is enemy to tough guy, Gally perfectly played by Will Poulter. Hee Poulter breaks out of his previous role as weakling in We Are The Millers. Gally becomes the egotistical bad guy of the group. Thomas becomes fast friends with co-leader, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and runner, Minho (Ki Hong Lee).
Minho is a big part of why the boys trust Thomas because together they survive a night in “the maze”. This first shot of them in the maze resembles the finale of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but the enemy in this maze is not Voldemort but “the grievers”. They are, essentially, big mechanical spider monsters, gross and terrifying and expertly designed in this film.
This is a largely male run cast but the sole, strong female character, Teresa is played by British Skins star Kaya Scodelario (you’ll know she’s British because her American accent is not perfect). She only has a few lines in the film but holds a large role for the group. Her actions are vitally important and she is reasonably convincing as an action heroine.
The end of the film will have you on the edge of your seat and keep you guessing until the last moment. Accompanied by setting changes and huge sweeping camera shots, there is the question of a sequel. The people in charge of this maze operation say near the end “Now on to phase 2.” Maybe they just want to keep you guessing but we can assume it means The Maze Runner 2. Being introduced to the big screen with such an unbelievably impressive film like this one could make Dylan O’Brien the male Jennifer Lawrence. He and the rest of the cast are rising Hollywood talent, and help make The Maze Runner the best new action sci-fi phenomenon since The Hunger Games. See for yourselves.
Overall Grade: A-