'The Maze Runner' Review Roundup: Latest YA Novel Adaptation Yields Lukewarm Notices
The Maze Runner, adapted from James Dashner’s 2009 young adult novel of the same name, follows a teen named Thomas who wakes up in a maze with no recollection of who is.
In The Maze Runner, Thomas eventually meets others like him, who end up in the maze with no memory of their former selves. Together they establish a society while trying to figure out a way out of the labyrinth. Dylan O’Brien (The Internship), Kaya Scodelario (Skins U.K.), Will Poulter (We’re The Millers) and Thomas Brodie Sangster (Game of Thrones) all star in the film directed by Wes Ball.
The Maze Runner Reviewed
The critics seem to agree that the collection of young actors do a commendable job with the material, despite the fact that their film is coming on the heels of a handful of similarly-themed features. Though the actors are praised, the derivative storyline has tired some reviewers. While it may not be a revolution in cinema, most agree that Ball’s movie, at the very least, entertains.
“In an age when we are seeing quite a few pieces of young adult literature being turned into big screen films — usually chockablock with the latest examples of computer-generated technology driving the action — it was quite delightful to have watched “The Maze Runner,” a well-acted and intelligent thriller/futuristic sci-fi romp. […] beyond the visuals, what makes “The Maze Runner” so compelling is its attention-grabbing storyline.” – Bill Zwecker, Chicago Sun Times
“The actors are exceptionally strong, especially for unknowns starring in a young adult thriller. Each one finds a way to make his stock role stand out, and feel real. Making his feature directorial debut, Ball tries hard to keep us engaged, with deft pacing and urgent action scenes that seem smartly tailored to the movie’s teen audience. No, there’s nothing new here. But sometimes it’s enough to be merely entertained, rather than amazed.” – Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News
“The Maze Runner will have you going in circles. Sometimes it's a hectic action adventure, other times it feels like an updated version of Lord of the Flies. Ultimately, it's yet another tale of a teen dystopia. In any of the above scenarios, it leaves questions unanswered. A sci-fi thriller set in a vaguely post-apocalyptic future must create a fully drawn universe to thoroughly captivate the viewer. But Maze Runner feels only partially formed.” – Claudia Puig, USA Today
“What’s intriguing about “The Maze Runner”–for a long time, at least–is the way it tells us a story we think we’ve heard countless times before but with a refreshingly different tone and degree of detail. Ball, whose background is in visual effects, doesn’t overload his feature debut with a lot of glossy, high-tech imagery. Not for a while, anyway. Much of the film’s charm comes from its rough-hewn aesthetic–a tactile nature that’s both industrial and organic–and the way it takes its time vividly establishing an environment.” – Christy Lemire, RoberEbert.com.
The Maze Runner, rated PG-13, is currently in wide release.
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