So, I was lucky enough to be one of few people who won the opportunity to go to an advanced screening of The Maze Runner. A 2014 movie adaption of the best-selling post-apocalyptic novel written by James Dashner. I was extremely excited for this movie - being a HUGE fan of the books - and couldn't wait to see The Glade, in all it's glory, come to life on screen. I'd had high expectations for this film and a lot of fears about how it was going to be adapted (i.e the news that Teresa and Thomas would not be communicating telepathically with one another as they were in the book, scared me about other changes), but I promise you, it lived up to all my expectations and more.
This film went BEYOND the "good" film it could've been, settling for no less than absolutely shucking awesome! Now, in light of the fact that the movie does not hit U.S theaters until September 19th, and U.K Cinemas until October 10th, this will be a NON-SPOILER REVIEW of the movie. I will, however, be doing a full review a little later on once the movie's actually out. So I ask that anyone who's been to a screening, or indeed anyone who's read the books, KEEP THIS A SPOILER FREE ZONE.
Let's kick things off with the most important thing of all - Did the actors live up to their characters? Was it an accurate portrayal of the characters from the book?
Yes. HELL YES. SO MUCH YES.
Before I'd even seen the movie, it was obvious to me that it had been cast PERFECTLY. And that's not something you get everyday with a Young Adult movie. In fact it's extremely rare. Really rare even.
It doesn't happen.
But somehow, the geniuses behind the film, (Wes Ball and Wyck Godfrey) managed to cast each and every character as though they walked right off the pages of the book. Throughout the movie, there's no doubting that this is a crop of extremely talented young actors. They 'get' their characters in a way that makes it seem as though portraying said characters comes effortlessly to them. At no point during the movie do you doubt that these actors ARE their characters. They fully embody the characters from the book, for those who read it, and for those who didn't - it's not hard to find yourself distinguishing between the different personalities and individual aspects of their characters that make each and every one of them so unique.
What did the Glade look like? What about the Maze? The Grievers?
Visually, this film is a masterpiece. You will not be disappointed when you see the scope and look of the Glade. Personally, when I read the books, I always imagined the Glade to be big, obviously, there were a good amount of people living there, and to have set up their lives there for so long, I really wouldn't expect small. But the movie, takes the entire Glade and the Maze to a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT LEVEL. They've amped it up, the Glade was far larger than I imagined (seriously, it's freakin' HUGE), the Maze far scarier , and the god almighty badass Grievers?
I'm scared, let's move on.
So, the actors & characters are great, it's visually amazing, but what about the story?
The Maze Runner movie is an inspiring and fantastic example of how to adapt a Young Adult novel, and how to adapt it right. In its 113 minutes, The Maze Runner, doesn't try to be the next big YA franchise, it doesn't try to be badass and it doesn't try to be emotional and heartfelt, it just IS. There's something about it all, that feels so real, and for that 113 minutes, you feel as though you're right in the center of the Glade. For that 113 minutes, you are a Glader and it's the most thrilling, nerve-racking and exciting Young Adult film you will ever see.
It is better than The Hunger Games, it is better than Divergent, it is better than The Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy, Beautiful Creatures, The Fault in Our Stars and any other YA film you can think of.
Its story is told beautifully, in a way that grabs hold of you by the shoulders and promises to take you on a wild adventure. There are no time fillers, no boring parts, no single part of the movie where you think, "when is this going to get interesting?" or, "when is the action going to start?", because from the moment this movie begins, it sets itself up for greatness. It knows what it wants to deliver, and believe me, it does. So,
And before you ask, no, you do not have to be a fan of the books before you see this film. You do not even have to read it (although I highly recommend you do). It's not a movie that expects you to come in with some prior knowledge. It doesn't leave you sitting there feeling out of the loop. It tells its story through the film in a way that anyone and everyone can and will love and understand. So if, like me, you've read the book or the whole series, great. Good on you, it's a fantastic series. If not, get ready to enter the mesmerizing and terrifying world of The Maze Runner.
All in all, as a book-to-movie adaptation, I give it 4/5 stars - there were some minor (and I mean minor) adjustments (for the better) and the whole thing was amped up to make it even more thrilling than the book, but all in all, this was the best and most faithful adaptation from a Young Adult book-to-movie that I have ever seen. From its story-line down to its core there's no mistaking what this movie was based on.
As a stand-alone movie, separate from the books, I also give it 4/5 stars. It was exciting, fun, and thrilling, and had me on the edge of my seat from the moment it began.
So overall, I give The Maze Runner, 8/10 stars!
Be sure to check it out when it's released wherever you are! You will NOT regret it!