31 March 2015 | joeravioli
Although the setup is mildly engaging, The Maze Runner fails to satisfy
The Maze Runner is definitely not the worst teenage-directed dystopian flick out there (I believe that Divergent has that one locked down), but it is definitely not the best, either. Its setup is interesting and builds adequate suspense to keep us watching with slightly interested eyes, but it falls apart with its repeated, clichéd, TV drama like dialogue. It serves to forward the plot, but often tends to show little of anything, really. And it happens a lot. Most of the film is spent talking, mostly about the maze as a sacred, untouchable thing that no one should go into under the consequence of death by the monsters that lurk within the maze. The action, when it happens, is fun, but it doesn't happen often enough.
The film follows a boy named Thomas who is cast into a mini society put together by a group of boys that live in the center of a maze, in a place they call the Glade. Every month, an elevator comes out of the ground with food and a new boy. No one can remember anything before they came into the Glade, although Thomas has visions of symbols and people in his dreams. No one is allowed past the doors that mark the entrance to the Maze except the Runners, a designated group of kids who map the maze in order to attempt to find a way out. The doors close at night and open in the morning. Alby, the group leader, warns Thomas, "No one survives a night in the maze." Of course, Thomas is curious about the maze.
The Maze Runner follows what I like to call "The Avalanche Framework". A person or event disrupts the quiet structure of a strict society, causing it to spiral out of control, inciting absolute panic and chaos within its "walls". Events snowball together into a massive avalanche that destroys everything that the people who created the society ever worked for. It is usually an enjoyable film to watch, and the endings are usually satisfying. The Maze Runner lacks a satisfying ending (It is random and senseless), but it is enjoyable to a certain, very small extent. It holds you by the tips of your toes, never gripping your eyes to the screen or pulling you to the edge of your seat. There is barely anything to make you want to keep watching.
The Maze Runner is surprisingly dark. That is probably the best thing it has going for it. It is more gory and frightening than most teenage movies (although this may not be a good thing), and the helplessness of the whole situation is a feeling uncommon as well to these types of films.
It is a reasonable film, bordering between good and bad. Me being me, I give it the benefit of the doubt.