Let me start off by saying that I read The Maze Runner a while ago, so I feel that I was in a pretty good position while watching the movie: I knew the plot and was already attached to the characters (so if the movie did have plot holes or little character building, I wouldn’t be missing to much), but I also couldn’t remember every little thing (so I wouldn’t have to concentrate on what the movie was missing or changed, and at the same).
I also went on to read a few more of the books, but liked each following book less and less. Maybe I had forgotten too much about the series over the great length of time that the books came out, or maybe the series really did grow worse.
But I remember LOVING the first book when I read it, so I was pumped to see the movie (especially after watching the very promising trailer a couple times). I put the trailer below for your viewing pleasure — and even if you’ve already seen it, come on? Who wouldn’t want to see Dylan ‘O Brien’s lovely face again?
My overall reaction: The movie pretty much grabbed my attention at the very beginning and never let go. It’s a very compelling, dramatic, action-packed, and even suspenseful film — I just couldn’t look away! I went with my sister, and as the film progressed and would come to parts that I knew would be good, I just kept poking her and (silently) squealing. Somewhere around the middle I knew with dead certainty that I was in love with the movie.
Soooo….what about it was so good?
The acting. The acting was spot-on. Every actor (and actress singular) shined in their role — can we stop for a moment to applaud the casting director? (Seriously, I wanna hear some clapping.) Dylan O’Brien was a perfect Thomas, from his curiosity to his extreme (stupidity?) bravery. Of course, his sculpted cheekbones, dreamy eyes, and fit running body didn’t hurt anything either, haha. I loved all the other actors as well, in particular Will Poulter as Gally, Thomas Sangster as Newt, Aml Ameen as Alby, Ki-Hong Lee as Minho… okay, so maybe all the main actors, WHY DO I HAVE TO CHOOSE.
The action and suspense. Man, this movie was entertaining! I think that’s a testament to how great of a book-to-movie adaptation it was, but I’ll talk more about that later. I was pretty much in a constant state of suspense throughout the whole 113-some minutes, including many parts when I would just be covering my mouth with my hands in suspense, silently screaming WHAT ARE YOU DOING THOMAS?? DON’T TURN AROUND, RUN!! (But seriously though. If Thomas was in that one Greek myth where the husband turns his wife into a pillar of salt by looking back at her while trying to get her out of the Underworld… well, then it would’ve ended the same way… but REALLY though, don’t look back, Thomas!)
Pretty much everything else. The soundtrack was ominous, booming, and superb. Thankfully there was never really one of those silence-then-really-loud-jump moments that scare the living daylights out of me, but there were moments similar to them that still made me jumpy in a good way. The movie was very much visually stunning, and the special effects were great. According to the director, only about 30 percent of the set was physical, with the rest being green screen — and it looked spectacular on screen. The maze itself was a marvel to behold, and just drew in the audience’s gazes. A well-made film in every aspect.
I really didn’t have any true complaints, and again, I think that’s proof of how good of a book-to-screen adaptation it was. I really do think it’s a great adaptation — emphasis being on adaptation, meaning that of course some things were changed but never too much. This may be because it’s been so long since I read the book, but I never felt like anything essential was missing while I was watching it. Looking back, I realize that a few noticeable changes were made, but none of them made too much impact. Teresa not being presented as a love interest, for example — I’m not sure that that ever added that much to the book anyway, so taking it out didn’t detract from the film. And while things were maybe simplified a bit around the end, I was too caught up in the movie to care.
Perhaps most importantly, by the end of the film I wanted so desperately to go back and reread The Maze Runner and then promptly give the rest of the books a second chance. And if recreating the love one has for the books isn’t the most important part of an adaptation, what is?