I haven’t been getting out to movies much regularly, which I’ve found is good and bad. The last few things I’ve ended up seeing at the theater were complete surprises (good and bad). It’s amazing how differently you might feel about a movie when you have no preconceived notions from watching the trailer once a week for the six months leading up to its debut. As much as I love previews, I might have to sneak to the bathroom during them from now on. Obviously, I can’t just show up late because being late is wrong.
My subconscious had placed The Maze Runner somewhere in that recent bland outcropping of young adult future dystopian science fiction properties (Hunger Games and Divergent come to mind immediately). It feels like there have been a lot of those recently, but I can’t judge, since those were my favorites to read when I was younger. Maybe I’m just jealous that kids these days can get their dystopian future adventures delivered with only a mild, generic case of the ‘trust-no-ones’ and without the overwhelming helping of anti-communist political sentiment.
The Maze Runner was definitely the best version of this movie that I have seen in a long time. I attribute this primarily to two distinguishing features. First, there was very little context at the beginning of the movie, we just get thrown into the center of the maze with the protagonist and we learn everything as he does. This worked, I don’t need a title sequence where we witness whatever implausible apocalyptic backdrop motivated these circumstances, that always works better as a sort of mystery. I was happy to have the action start right away.
The second positive attribute, and this makes me feel like
a bad an awesome person, but we get to watch a lot of the kids die. There’s nothing quite like sitting through a child actor’s performance and then being rewarded by watching a monster carry him away. So I’ve set that up like it’s a bad thing, but let’s dive a little deeper into what I really mean.
- All of the background characters were distinct and memorable. Even if this meant giving someone an accent, or making someone the fat kid. It wasn’t like a discrimination thing, just a way for quick identification when you’ve got two dozen kids in the supporting cast.
- When there was an action sequence, I could tell who was involved. Relative positions of characters remained consistent as camera angles cut. At the end of the sequence I could identify the winner and how he had won.
- When a character was killed off, there was a momentary acknowledgement, but they didn’t stop and have a funeral because they were still being hunted. Some of the kids were even too scared to go back for the injured.
I say all of this in because it seems in stark contrast to the similarly rated PG-13 Hunger Games, where I suppose it was controversial to show the children killing each other, and specifically that one little girl’s death. Maybe children killing each other is worse than letting monsters kill children? I figured it was about the same. I am a monster.
Maybe I should be concerned that my misogyny is showing slightly. I am fully prepared to consider the notion that I can’t relate to a young female lead, and that having a male protagonist made this movie more enjoyable for me compared to the Hunger Games or Divergent. It’s horrible to consider, but after all I am a monster.
The Maze Runner fell apart a little bit at the ending, where this maze was supposed to be part of some larger conspiracy. I don’t know if I would be interested in a sequel now that the basic puzzle of the maze has been solved
Versus the Dolphin move? I would watch The Maze Runner again.