As world-creation YA pictures go, The Maze Runner feels refreshingly low-tech and properly story-driven.
Stream The Maze Runner
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
If you’re going to treat your audience like a rat in a maze, it’s best to offer a tastier reward than the promise of more maze to come.
For its first half or so, The Maze Runner tells a captivating tale of survival and weaves a potentially interesting mystery. Once its path become clear, however, you realize this is a puzzle you've worked out before.
Wes Ball's background is in animation and effects, and he certainly has an eye for composition. Thankfully, he doesn't just lean on visual flash in his debut feature, the adaptation of the first of James Dashner's four books, and his skills allow him to build a convincing world around his appealing cast without losing them in it completely.
The Maze Runner is not a good movie, but it wins points for omitting much of what makes typical teen films excruciating.
Aside from some uneven handling of the cast, Ball competently styles the action sequences throughout the film and capitalizes on his VFX expertise with pulse-pounding scenes tracking the Runners through the Maze battling Grievers.
A curious blend of our newly acquired taste for dystopia alongside a healthy sprinkling of Lord of the Flies, the film offers familiar pleasures without prompting the sense of having already been here before.
The resolution to this puzzle is so botched it’s insulting, as if they’re daring us to laugh at the notion that this is merely “the beginning.”
By establishing some of the Glade’s castes, rituals, and personalities, the writers make an incredibly contrived scenario seem a little more tangible. But once that high gear is engaged, the IQ and ambition drop precipitously.