By Megan Bianco
After The Hunger Games franchise broke through in 2012, it seemed natural the next go-to genre for younger audiences would be futuristic dystopian with brave young adults saving the day. Since then, The Host, Warm Bodies, Beautiful Creatures and now The Maze Runner have tried to rally on the same success as Suzanne Collins’ series and adaptations.
While the previous attempts have been found underwhelming, Wes Ball’s film interpretation of James Dashner’s “Maze Runner” has brighter possibilities.
The story begins with Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) waking up in a forest with the only inhabitants being boys around his age. They have been stripped of their memories, with the exception of their names, and must adapt to living in the wild environment or attempt to escape through a deadly maze. On his side are Newt (Thomas Sangster), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) and Minho (Ki Hong Lee), while the group leader Gally (Will Poulter) is suspicious of the new recruit.
The Maze Runner, not surprisingly, has similar themes and even similar sequences to The Hunger Games, as well as a familiar typical “Lord of the Flies” environment. While Thomas is like a male Katniss of sorts, O’Brien doesn’t have the presence or skill to lead a film on his own just yet.
Despite some stale dialogue, The Maze Runner does manage to hold the viewer’s attention for two hours with its action scenes. But viewers who are going to enjoy it the most are teenagers these tales are aimed at.