A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

“Maze” gets lost

Photo courtesy of screenrant.com
Thomas and the other teens are running for their lives to figure out the secrets of the labyrinth in “The Maze Runner.”

Rating: 3/5

“The Maze Runner” follows Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), among a group of fellow teenage boys who are trapped inside the center of a giant maze. The film has a decent set up for a fun action thriller, and it is — at least until the movie attempts to explain its own plot.

The film begins with Thomas, whose memory has been wiped, waking up on an elevator that takes him to the center of a huge maze. He finds other boys there, and together they must figure out the mystery of the maze. Unfortunately for them, the maze changes shape every night. If they are not at the center of the maze by sundown, they are attacked by cyborg spider slugs called Grievers. What follows is a simple “let’s-get-out-of-the-maze” plot. The film falls apart when it explains what has been going on with a frustrating series of overcomplicated non-answers.      

None of the characters feel all that memorable; they are defined by a single trait rather than any real characteristics. Thomas in particular seems bland. He starts out as a guy who needs things explained to him, but after that is done he is still not all that emotionally developed.

Worse, the other characters keep talking about how special he is. All he really does is ask basic common sense questions and stumble across things by luck.

For example, he asks why they were put in the maze and all the other boys look like they never considered that.

To be fair the acting isn’t bad, but the script doesn’t let the actors grow into their roles.       

“The Maze Runner” really shines in its set design. The maze itself looks amazing; it is an impressive, giant piece of concrete walls and gears. The tangled vines growing around the walls give the maze a real aged feeling. Combined with such huge gears behind the gate, the overall effect gives the maze a creepy aura.

The sound design is also well done. When the maze changes forms, it makes loud clangs and chugs that create a menacing presence. Animal sounds add to the atmosphere, despite the lack of animals; only the Grievers show up at night but they are not natural creatures. It creates a weird disconnect. There are birds chirping and monkeys howling, but they are never shown on screen. Some sort of animal is brought up with Thomas on the elevator in the cage, but it never shows what happens to the creature or what the creature is.

Overall, “The Maze Runner” is a fun ride up until the last 10 minutes. At that point the film dissolves into a large expository dump, which doesn’t make a lick of sense. Ultimately, the movie confuses complicated answers with being smart.   

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Sean Curzon
Sean Curzon, Staff Writer

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