As promising as The Maze Runner trailer seemed, and as much as I already loved the entire cast, sitting in an IMAX cinema with my family waiting for the movie to begin, I was nervous about whether or not I’d actually like it, since book adaptations have had the reputation of not exactly turning out all that great on the big screen (queue: Percy Jackson, Beautiful Creatures). I did like Divergent, though, and the smash success of Harry Potter and The Hunger Games are nothing short of noteworthy.
On that level of comparison, I’d say [The Maze Runner](movie:575895) adaptation would fit onto the same level as Divergent, though the cinematic experience of The Maze Runner was much, much better.
Because even though I’m a firm believer in the books always being better than the movie, it was this particular movie which made me realize that some books just come out even greater altogether onscreen. As great as I imagined the maze to be while reading the trilogy, I could never have imagined it and the Glade and the very last shot of the film as it was portrayed in the movie. The maze itself, and one scene in the movie during which the maze changes in order to prevent Thomas and Minho from going back towards the Glade was mind-blowingly breathtaking, I’d say. If not for the plot and the characters etc., I’d say this movie is well worth being watched simply for the amazing shots of the maze. And that too, having the opportunity to watch it in IMAX just made the whole experience so much more great, and I cannot even express just how excited I am for The Scorch Trials because I do believe the cinematography will excel just as much, if not more, in the second rendition of this trilogy.
The plot itself was just fine, and, like in [Divergent](movie:593270), I honestly didn’t have any problems with any of the subplot changes or character cuts, because I know that some things just need to be tweaked a bit for the big screen, since both books and movies are entirely different platforms and some things just go well with one and not the other. Especially any characters which were cut, like Winston and Frypan, and any scenes such as the maps of the maze catching on fire which were left out, were a good idea on the scriptwriters’ part, since the movie actually already seemed pretty long, and non-book readers might have felt agitated, if they weren’t already with its length. I say this because even though us book readers may have wanted every single scene and dialogue to be a part of the movie, I could see how the non-book reader audience might have felt bored from time to time, since there was quite a bit of talking and less action. But, again, I was okay with it since I actually wanted as much of the book to be included in the movie.
Another seemingly integral aspect which was cut out and which I want to talk about here as well, since it might cause many fans to be enraged, is the whole aspect of Thomas and Teresa being able to communicate with each other through their minds. In a paranormal, unrealistic adaptation like Beautiful Creatures, for this aspect to be cut off really did put a dent in the movie and its characters…but with The Maze Runner, which is essentially a realistic movie, it truly was a good move to leave be. And I say this from experience because many adults in the cinema already felt that the movie was a bit too tween-ish, and that would have just added more fuel to the fire.
Which takes me to another point I feel I must mention: this movie, I felt, is strictly only for Young Adults, as its genre states. My parents did not enjoy the movie as much as I did, and I myself felt embarrassed at having dragged them to watch this as well. It’s a great movie, yes, but more of one that should be watched with friends than family, including really young children because the movie was a lot more gory than I had imagined it to be when I read the books. Gladers being banished, Grievers being squished, kids being eaten alive by the Grievers, dead bodies of the adults lying on the floor, a woman, the project leader, shooting herself in the head onscreen.
One area, though, I felt the movie lacked in was that of character development. As much as I love the cast, from Dylan O’Brien to Ki Hong Lee to Blake Cooper, I genuinely did not feel much attachment to any of the characters. Minho was by far my favorite character in the trilogy, and Chuck’s death tore me apart, but it just wasn’t the same as in the movie. Which, I guess, is expected since character development takes time and effort, which is not always possible to translate in movies as it is in books.
The cast itself, though, was absolutely brilliant and spot on, although, even though Dylan O’Brien is one of my favorite actors, I felt like he was over-acting too much in two scenes of the movie (after Ben attacked him, and after Chuck’s death), that it actually looked pretty comical instead of tragic. However, the movie made me capable of empathizing with Gally a lot more than I originally did in the books, of understanding his logic and, hence, actions.
The Grievers themselves were the one thing I was really excited to see turn out onscreen, and they really did turn out pretty great, although resembling mini dinosaurs a bit too much, for me. Though their movement as in the books, being able to roll around felt a lot more menacing wasn’t included.
Verdict: This particular adaptation may lack in a few areas, but fans of James Dashner’s trilogy won’t in any way be disappointed.