Movie Reviews: The Maze Runner Trilogy (Part 1)

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Out of all the (YA) Young Adult films I’ve watched over the years: Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Outsiders, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Chronicles of Narnia, and yes even Twilight (I watched that one on a dare)…

The Maze Runner trilogy just happens to be one of my favorite series by far. I will go over all three movies and give you both the good and the bad, because we all know no movie is perfect. However, one thing that I love about this film is the main character (his acting especially) and some of the other actors in this movie, and their characters.

All about characters, characters, and more characters.

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Warning!

There are plenty of spoilers.

So, if you don’t want to find out what happens DO NOT CONTINUE.

onion-avatar096If you hate this movie and this series, I’ll go over what I didn’t like at the very end. Everyone has a different opinion and what you did or didn’t enjoy may have been something that someone else either liked or didn’t like. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

I have never read the books by the way. Any readers/fans who hated the movies, but loved the book I’m sorry I can’t help you. I have yet to find one movie that follows every book directly. You have to consider time restraints, directors, actors, and budget.

Okay, so let’s get this review started.

The Maze Runner movie came out in 2014 and starts off with an unknown boy (later named Thomas) who’s trapped in a very fast elevator or cage traveling upward in the dark. He doesn’t know what is going on and sees things he cannot explain. Then, suddenly a flash of bright light, and he’s surrounded by a bunch of other boys, who look down at him.

They call him Greenie, which means he’s a Newbie. Anyway, Thomas tries to fit in and live among this new world, where the Glade is fenced off by these huge walls. He meets Chuck, Newt, Gally, Minho, Alby, Ben, and whoever. Gally and Thomas don’t get along at all and so they get in to a bit of a fight. Thomas gets beat down and it’s enough for him to remember his first name.

Things get interesting when Thomas begins asking questions about the Wall and the Maze within it. Apparently, no one has survived one night in the Maze because of these mysterious creatures called the Grievers. They look like mechanical spiders with poisonous stingers and they’re completely blind.

Moving right along, Thomas gets ambushed by Ben, who becomes violent/hostile toward him. Ben happens to be infected by something, but Thomas doesn’t know what it is. The boys hear Thomas’ screams for help and capture Ben, only to banish him into the Maze. This disease is known as the Flare. In simple terms, it turns anyone into a zombie. Ben is dead, since they kicked him out of the Glade. The walls close in, leaving poor Ben trapped inside the Maze to face the Grievers alone. Pretty sad indeed.

Anyhoo, Thomas wants to become a runner and asks Minho for help. Minho shows him a map of what the Maze looks like and says that he’s seen every part of it. Each section of the Maze has numbers. Minho and Alby go to the Maze to find out if Ben is still alive and if they can find another way out. However, things go wrong when the sun is beginning to set and Thomas and the others get concerned that they will not make it.

Everyone turns their back and all of a sudden, little Chuck sees Minho and Alby. However, Alby looks like he’s unconscious while Minho is trying to drag his lifeless body toward the closing walls. Thomas makes a split decision that changes his life forever and runs into the Maze as the doors are closing in on him. This is where we see him make a choice for once, despite the fact that Minho says, “Good job, you just killed yourself.”

And Thomas, being the naive idiot that he is, says, “What?”

Long story short, Thomas saves Alby and Minho by accidentally killing a Griever. He basically ran away and kept his wits about him, until the Griever follows him toward a closing wall and gets smashed to bug guts.

The following day, the wall opens and Chuck sees his friends are still alive. Thomas has proven himself worthy of becoming a Runner, but Gally is still not sure and seems suspicious of Thomas. After they tie up Alby and try to figure out what to do with him, since he’s infected, the sound of the loud buzzer (the one on the elevator) goes off. Teresa, the only girl in this entire film, is in the cage. She wakes up and says, “Thomas” before passing out.

Apparently, this is all Thomas’ doing but he can’t remember exactly what he did to get in the Glade. Teresa eventually wakes up and runs away; Thomas speaks to her in this high tower made of wood that she’s hid herself on, and they talk about some stuff. Not much, but they talk.

Teresa remembers her name and asks why she’s even here. Thomas doesn’t know either, blah blah blah. Teresa stays with Alby, who’s sick, while Thomas goes to inspect the dead Griever, thinking there must be a way out of the Maze. Some of the boys go with Thomas and they find a key with a number on it that leads to a gate of some kind. This gate opens up and all hell breaks loose. Thus, triggering an event where all the walls will not close during the night. Teresa has two injections with her, which both are the cure. She gives one to Alby and he remembers everything about Thomas, but he won’t say much of anything.

Alby thinks Thomas is a traitor, who set this place up. More Grievers come through the wall, killing some kids, and Thomas decides to sting himself with a dead Griever, which gives him his memory back. Teresa saves his life and Thomas says he knows the way out. However, Gally punches Thomas in the face and decides to leave Thomas and Teresa tied up as an offering to the Grievers. Yeah, like that’ll work.

Thomas gets free and leads a small rebellion, like six or seven kids, and they leave the Glade. They face more Grievers, some more kids die, and they escape through a door. It leads them to a lab, where everyone (I’m guessing scientists) are dead upon their arrival. Some lady in a white outfit speaks to them through a monitor and says, “Wicked is Good” before shooting herself in the head.

Then, another door opens and everyone’s just standing there dumbfounded. Chuck asks if it’s over and it’s not… Gally shows up (infected) and has a gun in his hand. He shoots Thomas, but Chuck moved in the way and dies instead. Chuck sacrificed himself to save Thomas and gives him a wooden carving of his parents as his last dying wish.

After that emotional scene, some SWAT people come in and take all the kids away to some unknown area.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS FILM

  1. The actors, especially the ones playing Thomas, Chuck, and Minho. Thomas (and the actor) play off a convincing role that is not over the top. In fact, the actor is quite natural and has more emotion than some of the other characters. Thomas is no way perfect and is quite naive, sometimes stupid as well. It’s when Thomas thrusts himself in to the Maze, that makes him a compelling character. He risks his life to save two people he barely even knows, and that’s why the plot gets better. Thomas does the action himself (putting himself in danger), not the other way around. Thomas is not waiting for someone (a hero) to rescue him. Minho even says, “I don’t know if he’s brave or stupid, but whatever it is, we need more of it. I say we make him a Runner.”
  2. The film reminds me of Lord of the Flies. The boys have a system in place, a hierarchy, and if things become too chaotic they lose control, especially Gally. Without that structure (without Alby) in place, it’s hell. If there’s structure (Alby’s in control), there’s order and peace. It’s on a thin line between chaos and peace.
  3. The story is not a love story. Thank you, Jesus.
  4. It doesn’t have a happy ending and even though it leaves you on a little cliffhanger, the story is fully complete. If you didn’t want to continue, you could almost say it was a stand-alone movie. They were rescued. The end. That’s unique for a YA film, not the cliffhanger part though.
  5.  It’s a lot darker than people realize. Sure, the Hunger Games had kids killing each other, but it was boring and you could care less about any of the characters. There’s Battle Royale, the Japanese film that Hunger Games ripped off, but even that one had some issues as well.
  6. The creatures (especially the CGI) looked realistic enough, including the Glade. It didn’t look like they were always on a set, but that’s just me.
  7. They didn’t explain the entire plot in one movie nor Thomas’ entire backstory.
  8. There’s plenty of mystery that you want to see the next film, but it still wraps up everything in all three acts.

 

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WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE…

  1. Teresa is the only girl in the Glade. All those horny, teenage boys would be fighting over her, since they’ve never seen a girl in like 3-5 years.
  2. Why is Wicked giving these kids food, clothes, and great hair conditioning when they’re going to be dead soon anyway? Who does Minho’s hair and how are his clothes so bright and clean when there’s no water source (no lakes) nor river nearby?
  3. Why would you waste all your time, money, and resources to build a freaking Maze, in order to find a cure? How many years did it take to build such a waste while regular people were starving to death outside, eh?
  4. The lady in the white suit pretended to shoot herself (it was on the TV screen) and was on the ground for how long exactly? Just as Thomas and the others came in toward the exit? How could you stage your death before that exact time, without you or another person messing it all up (like breathing or moving)?
  5. Why the hell would you fake your death in the first place? It makes no sense whatsoever. Plus, she shows up again in the other two movies. Spoilers! What was the point, because Thomas still remembers your face?
  6. How come none of these kids are dying from simple injuries or any other diseases? Without medicine and even proper nutrition a lot of them would be skinny as hell. Chuck would not be fat whatsoever.
  7. Even though Minho said he explored every inch of the Maze, it changes constantly. How could he memorize the exact numbers and how is he not dead yet from any of those Grievers?
  8. How come the Grievers come out only at night? They’re technically blind and it’s not like the sun burns their skin (like vampires). I think the threat would’ve been more real during day and night, but that’s just me.
  9. The Grievers are the only predators. Why not other zombies too? Why not other animals or creatures, besides the Grievers?
  10. Why haven’t the Grievers become the advanced species, breaking loose in the lab since they happen to be growing them? SPOILER in next film. Are they that easy to control? I highly doubt that.

Part 2 of the Maze Runner Trilogy will be coming soon.

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