Sunday, December 14, 2014

3+1 Short Paragraphs: The Maze Runner

2014, Wes Ball -- download

Despite never getting a feature film for Ruin off the ground, Wes Ball was given the adaptation of the young adult novel The Maze Runner, another of the highly bankable post-apocalyptic young adult book series.  Because adaptation is always more value than new content these days. Disappointing as I would love to see that short film come to life on the big screen.

Skipping right past what the movie is about, can I just say it is the most ridiculous explanation behind a high concept plot that I have ever seen? You know the basic premise from the trailers, right? Kids wake up at the centre of a maze, one of high stone walls and moving paths. Why? For frickin' SPOILER sake, to challenge them against adverse conditions and monsters, in order to understand why they are immune to a disease that is ravaging the planet. Seriously, you build a massive structure, and I mean MASSIVE, solely to study kids being tortured, for medical purposes. How long would that take and how many people would die while you submit RFQs to the world's remaining construction companies? And let's not even consider the cost, especially in a post apocalyptic world that is already low on resources. It is a silly silly premise for a decent torture box plot.

But, saying that, the actual depiction of the maze is pretty damn tight. The kids wake up at the centre of the maze, and really the "main character" is so weakly fleshed out, that he is more McGuffin than person. They are without memories but slowly some things come back. They either don't remember they are in a post apocalyptic world or don't bother telling us. But as the movie starts, it is three years since this started happening so a Lost come Lord of the Flies society has built. They support each other, running the maze (yes, they have already mapped it out before the movie starts) but basically playing it safe, sticking to their self imposed rules. New Guy Thomas does not want to play it safe, so he breaks the rules and runs into the maze. Amazingly, or really just because he is Main Character, he survives. And by the end of movie one, they are out of the maze are realizing they are pawns in some weird medical experiment.

I enjoyed the pretense of the movie, the setup of the maze and its dangers. Its tense, exciting, well acted and mysterious. The plot should have just stayed mysterious, not that there are any really good ways to explain such a device, other than maybe aliens or god creatures. But I could not rise above that reveal. And it probably killed my interest in the books.