ByChristina Tenisha Small, writer at
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Christina Tenisha Small

James Dashner’s Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian novel, The Maze Runner is set to make its big screen debut on February 14th next year. It will be directed by Wes Ball, and produced by YA Adaptation Royalty, Wyck Godfrey, producer of The Fault in Our Stars and all five Twilight films. (You may love to hate Stephenie Meyer’s sparkling Vampires, but there’s no doubt about it, they brought in a lot of $$$) The film will follow Thomas, played by Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien, as he adjusts to life in the The Glade and realises that something deadly lies just behind the walls of The Glade.

1. This is not your typical Young Adult Novel.

Many of them usually have a female protagonist who has either pale or olive coloured skin, with either long flowing dark hair (Bella (Twilight Series), Rose (Vampire Academy Series) and Katniss (The Hunger Games Series)), or in some rare instances, red hair (Clary (The Mortal Instruments Series) and Nora (Hush Hush Series)). There’s usually a tall handsome guy who, from the moment he’s introduced, you know he’s going to be the love interest, (Edward, Dimitri, Jace and Patch) and the poor guy who get’s chosen as second best (Jacob, Adrian, Simon).

The Maze Runner, however, takes a completely different stance. With male protagonist (Thomas) having little recollection of who he is and what his life was like before coming up in that terrifyingly dark elevator, he has no time for love interests, and teenage angst. His one main goal is ultimately survival, as is everyone else’s in The Glade. This fresh, new outtake on a popular genre of movie is sure to make it a success.

2. Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic for the win!

Clearly this is a VERY popular genre. (Total Recall, Elysium, I-Robot, The Hunger Games and the upcoming Divergent) Audiences LOVE post-apocalyptic worlds filled with destruction and despair and throwing a bunch of unsuspecting kids into a box, up into The Glade, surrounding them with miles upon miles of terrifying Maze, has got to be the most original, intriguing concept to ever come out of a YA book.

3. Grievers.

There are no Vampires, Fallen-Angels, Demons, Warlocks, Witches, Werewolves or Shape-Shifters. Why? Because a Griever can do more damage to you than any of these things can just by looking at you. The fear alone will kill you...if the Grievers don’t get there first. (MWAHAHAHAHAHA *evil laugh*)

4. The Language.

No, I don’t mean swearing or use of a foreign language (although honestly the book’s so cool, I think it could totally handle that), I mean the language of the Gladers. The way they interact with each other and the names they have for each other and things in The Glade. The first bit of dialogue, Thomas hears from the Gladers is priceless. ‘Look at that Shank’, followed by words like ‘Klunk’, ‘Shuck-Face’ and ‘Greenie’ all used in description of and reference to, him. The language and the slightly unusual names of the people around him, Gally and Alby for example all add to how utterly helpless and lost he is. He’s in a strange place with people he doesn’t know and to make matters worse they don’t even seem to be speaking normal English! How confusing for him! (Bless!)

5. Gotta love a trusty side-kick!

(Meet the adorable Blake Cooper, who plays Chuck in the movie. Isn't he a cutie?)

Some of you will agree, some of you will not, but I have to say this because I love his character. CHUCK IS ADORABLE. He’s by far the sweetest, strangest, cutest little kid you will ever meet in The Glade, and having him by your side when times are tough will most definitely cheer you up! He’s loyal, he’s funny and he’s a great addition to an otherwise quite glum and gloomy situation.

So there you have it, 5 reasons why I think The Maze Runner will be a HUGE (gotta have that in caps every time) success. I’m going to cheat a little here and add in one extra reason. Wes Ball, Wyck Godfrey and the rest of the cast. (does that count as more than one? I’m counting that as one.) Wes and Wyck, or W&W as I now like to call them, have the smarts and know how to make this a success. Read what they said here in an interview with the folks over at Page to Premiere.

(Wyck Godfrey): We had enough money to do what we need to do to launch a franchise. You know, you want to make sure that you don’t really blow it out of the water up until the first movie does extraordinary business, and then you’re like, “Haha, we can spend whatever we want.” But the cool thing about the budget, frankly, is we held a huge portion of it for visual effects. When you’re making a movie that is not only having CG character in the Griever, but also in a CG environment, you need to make sure you get that right. That’s gotta be a home run. So part of the ways we saved money was actually finding a real location that felt like this could be the Glade, you know. All you gotta do is build it for real. Put a box in the middle of it and imagine, you know, build a little bit of the walls. It was great working with Wes to figure out how to approach those challenges.
(Wes Ball): Same thing with the maze. We built basically modular blocks for this maze. We have this giant footprint. So we had to imagine these 16 foot tall blocks by 8 feet wide. We had 63 of them. So we could actually take these stone walls and just move them and arrange them however we wanted, put up our AV and all of our foilage and everything, and just create mazes on the fly. It only goes up 16 feet, so it’s good for certain areas, but then we’ll have to extend it all in CG

This gives me MASSIVE amounts of faith in this movie to not only be amazing, to not only do the books justice but to be visually jaw-dropping as a stand alone movie separate from the books. The biggest thing in the books and probably the hardest thing to tackle was the actual Maze and the oh-so-terrifying Grievers. Saying that they held a portion of the budget for visual effects gives me faith that the finished product is going to be amazing. (If like me, you’re a Film Nerd and interested in all the behind-the-scenes stuff, you’ll be very happy to know that Academy Award winning visual effects artist Erik-Jan de Boer (Life of Pi) is working on this film. And by working on this film I mean he’s working on the Grievers. (Hell freakin YEAH!))

Also the fact they largely built a lot of the set, with plans to extend it via CG means that overall the movie should have quite a realistic look and feel. It’s not going to be your typical, filmed-on-green-screen-because-we-couldn’t-be-bothered-to-build-part-of-the-set.

How excited are you for The Maze Runner?


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