Sunday, September 21, 2014

Movie Review: The Maze Runner

Summary: (From IMDb)
Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they're all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow "runners" for a shot at escape.


I'm not a big fan of the trilogy, but I do like The Maze Runner book, and I was excited to see the movie for myself. It has exceeded all my expectations and even though I still like the book more, the movie is so good that it can be considered as a glory. Better yet, you wouldn't think it's Wes Ball's debut movie, because you will think it's some famous director's doing.

The plot:

Besides some major changes, it's basically the book itself. I kinda feel like I'm reading the book all over again, only less detailed. It's a good sign when even the trailer shows various signs of similarities of the book, which can't really be said for Divergent. Locations are slightly changed though. Even though I want to see the original part played out, I'm down with the edit, because it doesn't extinguish any awesomeness in the movie.

Speaking of awesomeness, I really, really can't remember the book being this tense. The book is still filled with suspense and action, but that's where the movie actually superior to the book. I know watching the movie and reading the book is different, because there are no actual graphics in the book. But really, graphics actually make a lot of action parts better, especially when Thomas is battling the Griever, which for some reason is shorter than I thought it would be. I want more of that because the sound effects and the graphics fuel the element of fear and nervousness. For a movie with a tight budget, this is almost as good as movie blockbusters with a huge budget.

Pacing and priorities are also crucial things. Prioritizing is fine, but some of the characters are cut. Like, Frypan is actually a fairly major character in the book, but I don't see him anywhere even though I know he's cast. It pisses me off a little because I kinda like Frypan. Minho doesn't make a lot of appearances either. However his time with Thomas is in The Scorch Trials, so I'm fine with that (Minho is still my favorite character, though). Other than that it's good. And the pacing is awesome. I know the producers can't keep everything in the movie or else it would be ten hours long. But most of the major scenes are kept in the movie. Like I said, it's almost straight out from the book with graphics and sound effects. Because the pacing is good in the book, it's also great in the movie.

Even though I don't really approve watching the movie before reading the book itself, I admit that this movie makes people want to read the book just to see how good the book is. So it's a great success for a book adaptation.


Thomas: Thomas' character is played by Dylan O'Brien, who is known to be Stiles from Teen Wolf. I really love Dylan O'Brien and he's one of the reasons why I watch the movie (other than the trailer being fantastic, of course). For a guy who started his career as an actor 5 years ago (which is pretty short), he's very talented (and very nice. Just watch the interviews with him). He's the only one (other than Thomas Sangster, who plays Newt, and Blake Cooper, who plays Chuck) that actually portrays his character as if he's the character himself, especially with the whole "Thomas is curious and attracted to the Maze" thing. It's insane how this guy can be so talented from the very start (Yes, he's the perfect Stiles) when he claimed that he couldn't act like, I don't know, 4 years ago? He shows signs of being Thomas (which is curious and brave and smart and a little annoying. Yes, he portrayed the annoying part out, which is crazy considering he's so nice). I can see a glorious career before him and I'm really proud of him as a fan. The only two things that doesn't match the book is that: 1) Thomas is pretty snarky in the book, and there are little snarkiness in him in the movie. 2) Thomas is described as an "ugly shank" in the book, but then they cast Dylan, who is way too cute.

*Funny thing about watching Dylan playing the part of Thomas is that he shows signs of being Stiles and himself, which I don't mind, because I'm way too amused. Sometimes he talks a little bit like Stiles and makes hand-gestures that are so similar to Stiles and Dylan himself. I'm not pissed, because Stiles is actually a more sarcastic version of Thomas (and way funnier) in my opinion, and it's so amusing that I don't even mind.

Teresa: Teresa is played by Kaya Scodelario. I'm not a big fan of Teresa in the trilogy (and if you have read the book, you know why). I actually like the Teresa in the first book though, Kaya is actually a great cast for Teresa. She shows signs of being calm and sure of herself, which is what Teresa is. And for some reason Teresa is really funny in the movie, which I don't have a single problem about. I'm sad that there aren't a lot of bonding moments between Thomas and Teresa in the movie. However Teresa doesn't really make a lot of appearances in the book considering she's a major character, I understand this. I'm kinda curious and afraid to watch about her in The Scorch Trials movie though, because... well, I'm not gonna say it to those who haven't read the book, as it involves a huge spoiler.

Gally: Gally is definitely not my favorite character. But he is a major character in the first book and movie, I have to talk about him. Gally is played by Will Poulter. He shows signs of a strict follower of orders and rules, which is who Gally is. I'm so glad that he keeps all the major personalities of Gally in the book.Will is actually a really nice guy judging by the interviews. So nice that I have difficulty seeing him as the antagonist in the movie. I guess it's not exactly a bad thing, because Gally is not actually a villain in both the book and the movie. But Gally is described as not nice in the book, and he's being a little too nice in the movie. 

Newt: Newt is played by Thomas Sangster. And damn, he really does a good job. Newt is one of my favorite characters in the book. When they cast Thomas as Newt, I had my doubts. But he exceeds all my expectations and he really feels like Newt to me. Newt is a perfect leader according to the book, and he is also one in the movie. The sympathy and sureness in Newt is portrayed well by Thomas. I also love that there are a lot of bonding moments between Newt and Thomas, which makes me happy. It's safe to say that Newt is decently cast.

Minho: Minho is played by Ki Hong Lee. For some reason Minho makes far less appearances than I originally thought. I can't really put a finger on his personality and relate it to that in the book. But like I said, his big moments are in The Scorch Trials. And based on the few moments I get from him, he actually has great potential to be a phenomenal character in the movie (yes, he's already one in the book, but those who haven't read the book don't know it.). He has shows signs of being really strong and supportive of Thomas. It's very important to the plot of The Scorch Trials, and he's one of the reasons why I want to watch TST movie even though I don't really like the book itself.

Graphics and Effects:

You wouldn't know it's a movie on tight budget because the special effects are insanely good. The Maze and the Glade is exactly how I imagine it, especially the Maze, which is a concrete jungle that implies great dread and unknown. I don't know if it's just green screen, but watching the Maze change is beyond amazing. It's literally the book coming to life. It's enough to impress both readers and non-readers. 

The Grievers are one big mystery. I'm one of those who are excited to see what the Grievers look like. It's not exactly how I imagine it, but it's frightening nonetheless. I'm not going to give out any spoilers about the appearance of the Grievers after all the work to keep them as a secret until the movie is out (just watch the movie yourself). But they scare me a little, and I'm not easily scared. It's a thumbs up to the Grievers because they actually have the stings that look hella scary.

Another big thumbs-up is actually the outside world. Thomas and the Gladers don't really see the outside world destroyed by the sun until The Scorch Trials. An early appearance is in the movie, and man, even though I don't see it as a freaking desert, the Sun's flare is amazing. It's so bright that it can actually destroy anything, consume and melt concrete. It's another reason why I want to see TST movie, because the graphics are promising.

It's almost unbelievable how the visual effects are so realistic when the producers are working on a tight budget. Good job, people.

Overall: It's definitely a success, and for once it doesn't spoil the book. It actually brings out a lot of good parts in the book. The money is well-paid on this one. I can't wait to watch The Scorch Trials movie.

Rating: 8/10

P.S. James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner, is actually in the movie. I knew this beforehand, but I still find it funny to see him as a _______ (nope, not gonna say it. Don't wanna spoil the fun) on a big silver screen. *smiles*

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