Anika Goes to the Movies: The Maze Runner

I want to make something abundantly clear with this post. I don’t review books. Unless some day in the distant future I stop writing completely and have only an interest in telling people what I think about the books I currently happen to be reading, I will not ever review books. Too much drama. Too many ways to hurt feelings. Too much risk of upsetting people to whom I am connected in the book world. So, no.

But I like movies, remember. And every now and again, a movie whose book source material I haven’t read yet, may come to the big screen, and I will be enticed to see said film despite not having read the book. And then I will review it. But remember, I haven’t read this book (yet. It’s sitting on my bedside table waiting for me to finish reviewing the movie.) Conclusion: Everything in here is opinion on the movie ONLY. I have nothing else to compare it to at this time. Therefore there will be none of the: they left this out, they did this different, that’s not how I pictured so and so. I hope no one finds that disappointing.

So here goes:

Quick rating: 3.75/5 stars- I may still have goosebumps. Holy adrenalin, Batman!!

OK, so spoilers.

Lots of spoilers!!!

THERE ARE SO MANY SPOILERS!!!

Those surprised to find spoilers in the following post should consider purchasing an oceanfront time-share in Kingman, Arizona.

People die! Ok, got that one off my chest early. Seriously, so many people die in this movie and just when you think you can take a deep breath and maybe be done with the whole people dying thing, more people die!!

The movie starts off with a young man vomiting violently as he rises in a larger elevator like cage, while seizure inducing flashes from the lights on the walls outside wiz past. They find ways to make you jump even before the cage stops moving. All the bells and whistles should be going off in the viewers head. They are making you jump now at innocuous things, so they can really get you with bigger tuff later. If you have seen the trailer you understand the basic premise. Kids, all boys, show up in a relatively open space (the Glade), surrounded by huge freaking walls, with no personal memories except their first names (assuming of course that those names weren’t memory implants as well by whatever conglomerate did this to them). Beyond the walls is the maze. Also the Grievers. What are grievers? Horrific biomechanical spider things that sting you with venom that makes you totally crazy. No biggie.

In fact, one of the first deaths we encounter is a young man, one of the “runners” (guys that run through the maze each day trying to find a way out),  who is stung by a griever. He tries to kill the main character, name of Thomas by the way. As a result the rest of the gladers, or the tribe as I came to think of them, in a very Lord of the Flies moment, force the stung crazy dude into the maze as the giant doorways are closing for the night. And no one survives a night in the maze.

Except Thomas, of course. Who the very next day darts out into the maze just as the doors are closing to help the injured leader, Alby, and the captain of the runners, Minho. While out there he manages to kill one of the grievers between a set of closing walls. He and Minho and Alby make it back to camp the next morning to the shock of all. And then things really get crazy!

A girl, the first ever to be sent to join the tribe of boys, arrives soon after with a note in her hand that reads, “She is the last one, ever.” Dun, dun, dah!! Yeah, needless to say that after all this is there is so much running and trying to puzzle out cryptic clues and grievers in all the wrong places and people dying left and right. . . *pant, pant, pant* . . . you just feel a little exhausted.

Confession: I am a crier. Bambie’s mom dies, I’m a wreck. Beautiful love story comes to a dramatic happy ending, blubber monster. Wash gets harpooned through the chest, “No! No, they can’t. It’s not true!” *sob, sob, sob*

Thus, when I tell you that I was so adrenaline charged and frazzled by the end of this movie that I couldn’t cry when Chuck died, that should tell you something. Seriously, little butter-ball kid who becomes Thomas’s friend, really cares about him and believes in him, who manages to survive the break-neck run through the maze to the doorway out, gets the “key,” makes it to the very end, and then takes a bullet to save Thomas, and I couldn’t even tear up a little. I was also a bit miffed that Galley, played by Will Poulter of Voyage of the Dawn Treader fame, got snuffed out as well. I was really please to see Poulter return to the big screen and they killed off his character. Not cool!

I don’t think I stopped gripping the arm rests the whole time I sat there. But then I am a weenie. *shrug*

Maybe that’s why it doesn’t quiet get a 4 star review. There was just so much. So many unknowns, so much intensity, so many characters, and so many of them die!! You don’t feel sad at the end, though. You just feel like you have to figure out what the heck is really going on. The grim scene of those who were running the maze all shot dead, and the supposedly “final” message from the chancellor of WCKD, or the World Crisis Kill-order Directive (or department I can’t remember which) are equally disturbing. More so since the chancellor was not actually dead. Which leaves you wondering, how many of their own people did they actually sacrifice to create that scene of horror for these poor kids to wander into? Seriously, what the heck is going on?!

I’m glad the second movie is underway, and I can’t say if I will read the Scorch Trials book first or not. That will all depend on how reading the Maze Runner goes. But if I had to wait for longer than a year or so to find out what happens next, I could conceivably lose my mind.

In a completely different vein, the effects were awesome!!! The maze and the grievers were so well done. There were times you thought you could touch them, and the way the shifting of the maze was depicted, I kind of bought that someone fast enough could outrun it. Hence needing the fastest kids to be runners.

On the whole, this movie was wicked fun(see what I did there?). Catch it in the theaters if you can and haven’t already. It’s just super intense and I’m not sure it’s one I want to relive in my home on DVD. It is certainly not for audiences under 13 at all, and even 13-16 would have to be a judgement call from parents.

Happy viewing until next time, when Anika Goes to the Movies:The Good Lie.

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