Sophomore Sophie is a news section editor and copy editor for the paper. She likes playing volleyball with East and with her club team. She enjoys reading and writing. Her favorite subject is science. Read Full »
I’ve seen worlds in movies where children are forced to kill each other for entertainment, where society is separated into five factions and where memories of the past are hidden from the public. Dystopian movies and books are big in today’s entertainment, especially for teenagers. A lot of them have similar plots involving underdogs and defeating corruption, as well as similar characters and conflicts, but “The Maze Runner” sets itself apart.
The fast-paced sci-fi movie starts with Thomas (Dylan O’brien) waking up in a dark underground lift. He sees flashes of blue and hears familiar voices from his past. It felt like I was reliving pieces of Thomas’s memories with him and trying, yet failing, to make sense out of them. He can’t remember a thing. Suddenly the lift begins to slow down and light fills the tunnel. His eyes adjust. He’s in a field. Faces peer down at him. All male. They ask him his name, but he doesn’t remember. They say it will come back to him.
“It’s the one thing they let us keep,” one of the boys said.
Every month the lift brings another person, or Glader, to the field also known as the Glade. The Glade is surrounded by tall, grey walls that form a square. There’s an opening in the walls that leads to a maze. No one’s allowed to go into the maze, except for the runners who leave the Glade everyday to try to find a way out. They’ve been searching for three years, but they still don’t know why they’re in the maze or who put them there.
The maze is home to disgusting half-mechanical, half-flesh giant spiders called Grievers that lurk around the maze at night. Before Thomas arrived they only stung or killed runners who were left inside after the mazed sealed itself shut at sundown. But after Thomas spends a night in the maze and comes out unscathed the next morning, things begin to change. The creepy spider creatures start stinging people during the day which makes the Gladers go crazy to the point where they’re chasing each other through the woods.
One night the maze doors don’t close. The evil spiders swarm the Glade, kidnapping and killing Gladers. The survivors realize that they have to find a way out — soon or they along with the Glade will be demolished by the Grievers.
Although O’brien was fit for his role, Thomas wasn’t unique for a main character. He was brave to the point of stupidity and he was curious, which I’ll admit was necessary for the plot. Not to mention, he was smart and selfless. I find these traits repeated in many main characters in the young adult (YA) genre in movies and books such as Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior. But unlike the typical hero, Thomas’s motives weren’t clear to me and I mean this in a good way. I couldn’t tell why he did what he did and in doing so he had a mysterious aspect to him.
I’m grateful that the movie broke the stereotype that the YA dystopian genre requires an annoying love triangle even when it does nothing to further the plot. “The Maze Runner” goes even further —there’s only one main female character, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), who showed up in the Glade with a note claiming that she’d be the last Glader ever.
The last twenty minutes of “The Maze Runner”, however, confused me. There were three major plot twists that were hard for me to sort out. I understood what they were trying to get across the movie in general, but the details were fuzzy. I had trouble keeping track of who was dead and why the Gladers were in the maze. Also, I had trouble separating the “good guys” from the “bad guys.” But I think the sequel set to premiere September 2015 will clear up things that “The Maze Runner” left hanging.
Overall, “The Maze Runner” was a refreshing take on a dystopian movie. It had the fundamentals — fast-paced fight scenes, dramatic looks into the distance and unexpected twists — while steering away from the cliches too many YA series fall prey to.