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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Films for Thought on Thursday: The Maze Runner

This is part of Films For Thought On Thursday hosted by Charnell @ Reviews From A Bookworm blog. I won a preview ticket from some Amazon competition I entered. That was a pleasant surprise because I don't really win anything, which is probably because I don't enter anything. XD

First of all, this movie is based on the book The Maze Runner by James Dashner, and no I have not read said book.

It's about a boy who wakes up in the middle of nowhere, with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. There are dozens of other boys there who all had the same experience. They soon remember their name but nothing else. Our hero, Thomas, is incessantly curious about what's beyond the huge, high wall surrounding their little nowhere and is told they're all in the centre of a maze, and terrifying creatures called grievers roam the passages during the night. Despite this, Thomas's determination (ie. annoying cat-like curiosity) gets the better of him and as he strives to find a way out of there, things begin to change not just inside, but outside the wall.

SO FIRST OFF, there's really only two things of significance I want to say.

First. This script is the cringiest thing you have ever heard. If you are thirteen and naive, and by that I mean without an extra decade of film-going experience, then the melodramatic plot-fulfilling lines won't be as familiar to you as they were excruciatingly old to me. To the point where rolling my eyes became automatic.

But the ACTION was so, so awesomely amazing that in my opinion, it makes up for all other flaws. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I DO NOT dish these sort of compliments up and down the place so take me seriously, okay?! The action was fantastic; tense, wild, lots of freerunning and crazy jumping and fighting like hooligans.

Above all, the set was what sold me, and I think the movie poster boasts that all by itself. The maze looked incredible on-screen and I doubt I could imagine something so awe-inspiring and foreboding while reading the book. And I'm surprised to be saying this. Even beyond the maze, the set was great, so that's my big thumbs up.

SPOILER - I'm still not into the whole YA dystopian government - 'Ahh we need to ruin some kids' lives to solve our problems' thing and to my disappointment, the end explanation for the effort and the money spent building the maze (in the middle of a desert??!! What the hell!) seemed extremely poor. SPOILER OVER.)

The cast was okay, but I think it would be hard to be anything different with a script that bloody awful. I have to assume that's why the character of Thomas wasn't really 'sold' to me. So, I'm not going to ramble or get nitpicky as I normally do, I'll just say that the pros outweighed the cons. Ironically, this balances out my 'Good movie versus Bad movie adapted from YA books' tally. Thankfully, The Maze Runner (and Divergent, which I watched a couple of weeks ago (it wasn't awful! Damn, that was a surprise)) balanced out the scales. Okay YA. You get 1up.

The Verdict: ****
4 stars!

Even with it's flaws (just can't believe I'm saying this ...) I would see this again!!! Despite my apprehension beforehand, it was enjoyable to watch. (I was certain I'd have nightmares about the grievers and I escaped that as well. Awesome.)

I also liked The Maze Runner review from The Reading Hedgehog blog so check that outtt.

Ashana Lian .


  1. Thanks for the review. I finished the book yesterday and really hated it. It was even more cringe than the script you describe. It was just terrible, truly terrible. Made me wonder whether I really wanted to see the movie or not. But I am intrigued to see if it works better as a film than it does as a book. I think so because you mention a lot of action, something I felt was missing for a lot of the book. I'm trying to review the book to make it more review than rant, but it's coming out all rant. Brilliant review and thanks for taking part! :) :) :)

    1. Laughing so hard. XD I hate to say it, but I strongly suspected that would be the case. After all, the film was based off the book so it would make sense for the dialogue to be unaltered. Heeey, that's an interesting point you made - I suppose that depends whether or not the action was well described.

      That's sooo true! When you review a book really like, it's a lot easier to make it sound rational (and not gushy) than it is to take a book you really dislike, and make it NOT sound ranty. Anywho. Thanks for commenting Charneeell :3

  2. I've heard that the book was good, but I'm not sure...I'm also not much into the YA dystopianish things. I'm still intrigued by it, though XD I thought the preview looked pretty cool for the movie. I'm so conflicted D:

    Also, you've been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award! (Y'know, because you're cool and stuff) :D There's more info here:

    1. I've heard the book is good as well, but I'm going to give it a miss. I'm sure I'll find out what happens eventually. I quite like dystopian stuff when they're done well. I'd say, if you're not much into those books, maybe see the film and then you can decide. Unless you're not into dystopian/action/thriller films. XP

      Aw thanks Roo! Much appreciated. I'll get round to it as soon as I can.


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