Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee
I notice post-apocalyptic and dystopia themes seem to be all the rage lately. Honestly speaking, I don't minding reading them. With a good plot and great characterisations, they could linger in your mind for a long time.
The Maze Runner by James Dashner. I have this book for a while but just never got around to reading it. It is one of those reading mood thing, which I'm sure many readers are able to relate. I'm also one of those readers who would prefer to reading the book first than watching the film adaptation, but sometimes it's the timing that overtakes the mood and The Maze Runner is one of those moments.
Thomas wakes up and find himself in an elevator. He has no memory who he is and why he's lying in the elevator. When he steps out of it when it landed, all he could see is a vast land and some boys about his age. They "welcomed" him to the glade; an enclosed environment where they grow their own food and supplies given from below. Every 30 days a new boy will arrive to the glade and Thomas, no doubt is a newbie. They teach him all the knacks of living there, but told him not to enter into the maze under any circumstances.
Thomas gets curious and that feeling intensifies after he saw a few boys entering into the maze when its door opens during the day. The answer he got is they are the runners and they are trying to find a way to escape through it that surrounds their living space. However, it has taken them years as the maze changes; plus there are dangerous creatures looming around it too. Thomas wants to be one of the runners, but the others felt he isn't ready but of course there's always the surprise.
Then a comatose girl arrives with a strange note, and they are more determined to find ways of escaping when they knew the elevator will no longer comes up to the glade. That also means their supplies would be cut off too. They are on their own, and whatever are in store for them.
I have to say The Maze Runner has a great concept. I have always been fascinated by books or movies that have a maze or lybrinth setting. The possibilities there are endless. Intrigue or horror? Or better still, both. I remember Stephen King's The Shining and there's a scene of a maze too. That film is a classic and to this day that particular scene of a boy running from his father at the hotel's hedge maze still lingers in my mind. The concept, no doubt, is different but what I'm trying to say is mazes have a mysterious factor that is captivating.
That said, as much as I find The Maze Runner intriguing, it doesn't hook me as I'd wanted to. I think the story and the characterisations are great, but there are times it left me wondering the purposes behind the overall scenarios. I felt the boys' determination and there are a few who are courageous enough, but somehow I felt it is as if they are waiting for something bigger to happen when they have the gists of what's happening around them. Perhaps this is done so intentionally to build up the intensity, but I felt it made the characters weak, and I'm sure some of them have great potential. My favourite character among all? Minho, the leader of the runner.
Maybe my feelings might be different if I'd read the book first, I don't know, but I was a bit disappointed with the film. However, if you are going for the visual effects, you won't be disappointed.