The Maze Runner - DVD Review

'has to bumble through thirty minutes or so of the worst sort of 'we call this that' and 'we call those this' and 'there are only three rules here' setup. It is both not good and an immediate turn off'

The latest in the recent long, long line of Young Adult dystopian literature to be adapted onto film, The Maze Runner suffers the initial problem of nearly all of its bedfellows: there is so, so much exposition in the film's setup that it cannot help but sound twee, conceited and slightly annoying. Wes Ball's film wants to convince you that it is worthy, but before it can do that it has to bumble through thirty minutes or so of the worst sort of 'we call this that' and 'we call those this' and 'there are only three rules here' setup. It is both not good and an immediate turn off.

Fortunately, there is something behind the opening and The Maze Runner grows as its protagonist, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) does also. Thrust into The Glade at the centre of a maze for reasons he is unaware of, Thomas must negotiate a group paranoid of their existence, uncertain of their escape and, in some cases, entrenched in their ways.

Some parts of that equation feel superfluous. Although it would have taken a brave person to cut what is no doubt a large part of the novel, Will Poulter as internal antagonist Gally just isn't needed. Thomas hardly ever reacts to him, he ultimately does practically nothing to shape the plot and his role has already been filled: the maze and some late reveals are this film's drivers.

Hampered by the exposition, the performances waver drastically, but O'Brien at the centre is impressive. He is, for both better and worse, very much like a young Chris Pine and like him, he can largely carry the Action content off in his sleep. The midway-through support from Kaya Scodelario gives him something needed to work with.

The second half of the film though, beyond the performances, is driven and supported by the mystery. Ball picks the right moments for reveals, holds the ultimate outcome close to his chest for an extremely long time and then manages a final ten minutes or so that feel both satisfying, closed enough to round the film off and effective enough for the sequel set up. Oh yes, a sequel, due later in 2015. Was there ever any doubt?




The Maze Runner is released on UK Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 9th February.


By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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