Having already read the novel by James Dashner, (my review can be found here), and being familiar with many of the cast members from other things, I had fairly high expectations for the film adaptation of The Maze Runner. Fortunately, I was not disappointed.
As with any novel-to-film adaptation, there will be changes made. The film will never match its source material exactly, so it’s important to stop expecting that from the get-go. I used to constantly list off changes made in adaptations, but with time I’ve come to accept this. What’s more important is how well the film translates the novel’s overall style and themes, which I think this adaptation does very well. Thrown straight into the midst of the action, the audience slowly learns more about the strange Glade and Maze that these teenage boys have found themselves trapped in. Just as Thomas has no access to his prior memories, we have no knowledge of the world beyond the Maze, which makes for the unravelling of an exciting and mysterious story.
The majority of changes from the book were small enough, or done well enough cinematically, that I could forgive them, however one thing I would have like to have seen (novel spoiler!) was the telepathic link between Thomas and Teresa. Removing this meant that, for me, the closeness of their relationship, as depicted in the book, was not translated as fully to the film. However, the cast is excellent, each actor embodying and portraying the characters just as I would have expected in the book. Dylan O’Brien in particular, is a force to be reckoned with, an excellent young actor who I believe has the potential to do extremely well in the future. Having seen both his comedic and villainous sides in Teen Wolf, it was nice to see him in yet another role, as a brave, dramatic hero.
The direction and special effects were also stunning. Visually, the film is beautiful to look at, the almost idyllic, rustic Glade contrasted heavily with the darkness and fear found in the Maze. The Grievers were brought to life and became even more terrifying than I’d found them before, vast gruesome creatures I’d never want to encounter myself. The action sequences were thrilling and heart-pounding, and even though I knew the outcomes from the novel, I was still on edge and desperately rooting for the characters, which is definitely a sign of a great film. The ending also remained true to the book, which I was very pleased about. Without giving it away, I will merely say that I did not see it coming in the book, and it sets up well for the sequel.
Overall, it’s a great film, a close enough adaptation for fans of the book to enjoy, and still easily accessible and enjoyable for those who haven’t read it before. Dramatic, thrilling and emotional; my only problem now is how long do I have to wait for the sequel, The Scorch Trials?