“The Maze Runner” is strong addition to dystopian adaptations

Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario in “The Maze Runner”

The 21st century has seen a revival of dystopian fiction, especially in young adult fiction. With the success of The Hunger Games trilogy, many of these novels are made into movies. However, that is not the main point. This is a movie review of “The Maze Runner.”

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the books (yet), so I cannot comment on the whether or not the movie stayed faithful to the books.

The viewer is thrown headfirst into the world of “The Maze Runner” with very little information. In the opening scene we meet our unnamed protagonist, portrayed by Dylan O’Brien, in an elevator. He has no memory of his past or even to where the elevator is heading. The protagonist soon arrives in a wooded area known as the Glade. This area is surrounded by high walls and inhabited by a group of teenage boys . It is later revealed that all the inhabitants are trapped in the Glade, which is actually surrounded by a large and complex maze. The boys live a very primitive life, relying on small-scale farming and supplies from the Box, the elevator in which our protagonist arrived. Much like the protagonist, who has received the nickname Greeny, all the boys also have lost all their memories except for their names. On the first day, Greeny meets the main leader of the Glade, Alby (Aml Ameen) and his second in command, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster).  Since his arrival things slowly begin to go awry in the Glade, which has otherwise peacefully coexisted with the Grievers, the monsters that live in the Maze. Greeny is then met with opposition from the film’s antagonist, Gally (Will Poulter), who is convinced that Greeny is the source of all their new woes. The central plot of the movie follows the struggle between Greeny and Gally, as well as the Maze and the Grievers against the boys of the Glade.

“The Maze Runner” was surprisingly good. I had some reservations about the movie going in, though I ultimately found the movie to be among the best of the newly spawned young-adult dystopian films. While the acting was not Oscar-level (though, in their defense, they are all very young actors), it was still convincing enough. Where the film truly excels is its storyline. Though the lack of information is initially frustrating, the viewer slowly orients themselves to the world of the Maze, much like Greeny. Unlike most other dystopian novels, the world of “The Maze Runner” is not overly futuristic. The boys of the Glade live in a technologically regressed society using tools made of wood and machetes. I felt that the lack of overly futuristic technology helped keep the world more realistic. It was also refreshing to see a movie catered towards young adults that did not have the awkward tween romance plot. But we all know that’s coming in the sequel.

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