Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Maze Runner

A thinly-veiled sci-fi version of Lord of the Flies, The Maze Runner (based on the novel by James Dashner) casts Dylan O'Brien as the newest member of a group of children abducted and forced to live in a small wooded clearing in the middle of a vast and deadly maze. Despite the rules against him entering the maze, Thomas (O'Brien) is drawn to it as his actions will have sever repercussions for both himself and the entire community.

By far, the most interesting character of the movie is the maze itself, and the scenes outside the gigantic moving and changing monstrosity suffer as they lose what little magic the film has to work with. The more Thomas remembers about his life and the maze itself the more the film struggles as the answers provided by the movie's plot are far less interesting than the mystery itself. Pulling back in what is meant to be an epic Dark City style reveal, The Maze Runner flounders at its climatic moment foreshadowing what will be its inevitable sequel.

Offering the same kinds of (tired) themes of most youth fiction recently adapted into film, The Maze Runner has passable (but hardly memorable) performances. Its strength lies not within its plot or characters (even the evil robotic plague death spiders are pretty damn goofy when examined in detail) but its special effects and post-apocalyptic setting. The final scene reveals the truth about the maze and the characters' captivity paving the way for the children to be further fucked with later this Fall in The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials. The result is an equally diverting and disappointing film with an intriguing set-up and troubling rationale that [SPOILERS], like much of the film, makes less and less sense the more you think about it as the bizarre gigantic moving maze with killer robot spiders is a ludicrous training ground for a life that will resemble anything but the world they have been trained to survive once the children move on [SPOILERS].

Available on both Blu-ray and DVD, extras include commentary by screenwriter T.S. Nowlin and director Wes Ball, deleted scenes, galleries, a gag reel, and featureetes on the making of the film and Chuck (Blake Cooper). The Blu-ray also includes DVD and digital copies of the film.

[20th Century Fox, Blu-ray $39.99 / DVD $29.98]

No comments: