On the Run Pt 1 (The Maze Runner, 2014)
Welcome to a dystopian future where Katniss is chosen to be part of a competition to the…oh wait…sorry, welcome to a Dystopian future where society has been restructured into five groups based on certain ski-wait, wait…that was something else…
So, in a dystopian future, ravaged by disease and a scorched earth, a young man awakens to find himself in an elevator with no idea how he got there. He soon finds himself in a Lord of the Flies type of situation. A culture built by young teens. At the top of the hierarchy are the Runners.
Runners enter the maze each day in an attempt to map it out to find a way to freedom. The young man, Thomas, risks his life one day to help two runners and gets stuck in the maze overnight. They manage to be the first to ever survive a night in the maze.
Once made a Runner, Thomas pushes for the group to try and find the way out more aggressively. This results in divisions among the group.
Part of the slew of films that adapted young adult novels to have the next Hunger Games, the Maze Runner exploits the ever popular “Teens in a Terrible Future” plot that fuels an entire subset of young adult books. But while it has strong similarities, it also sets itself apart a bit. Built in with a larger mystery (why are the kids in the maze? What is WCKD?) the film smartly keeps the viewer in Thomas’ shoes. He has no memory of why he is there or what he did before and we learn everything as he does.
The effects are pretty good, with an interesting monster design for the Grievers (creatures that hunt in the maze). The Maze design is intriguing and the action sequences are exciting.
The performances are quite good (Will Poulter, who played Eustace in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, continues to impress me).
Is the Maze Runner awesome? No. But it makes for a fairly entertaining sci-fi actioner.