The Maze Runner: The Hunger Games just got grittier

I would like to start this Pick just by giving out my thoughts to those who gave up their tomorrow for our today. We will remember them.

After a fairly busy week, a chance to stop and unwind in Cardiff for the day was nice for me and the family. Despite being dragged (I wish I was exaggerating) out of bed, I was in high spirits looking up a film to see in the cinema, located next to a comic-con. My mood was slightly dampened by the prospect of seeing the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but we finally got a viewing for The Maze Runner.

After walking past the red power-ranger and Batgirl, my brother and I entered the cinema, neither excited nor disappointed by the film we were about to watch. However, was fate about to make us riveted to our seats in awe or send us to the door in bitter resentment? Read on, I mysteriously implore you, read on…

Quick plot over-view: Thomas wakes up in The Glade with a bunch of boys, which is surrounded by a huge maze. Every day, Runners go into the maze, map it, and get back before nightfall, whereupon the gate leading into the maze closes, and mysterious creatures kill anything inside. Sunrise, maze opens again, repeat. The plot was surprisingly solid. No waffling on side-stories, yet keeping running motifs and characters engaged and interesting during the film.

IMPORTANT! Do I have your attention? Ah, the magic of bold font. I must tell you now before I begin: this is not another teenage romance story. All those going into the cinema, expecting another TwilightThe Host, or even The Hunger Games, I happily tell you that this film is no such thing. Yes, there’s a girl in the trailer who looks fairly important, but she really isn’t. This whole film could have been done without her.

That’s my first gripe. Teresa, played by Kaya Scodelario was fairly useless and had no character whatsoever, and it makes me sad that, although no love interest bloomed in this film, it probably will in a possible sequel. However, with no connection between the two being clearly apparent in this film, it will probably become forced and annoyingly dumb, wafting into the sequel like a moth to a late-night texting session. We all know how that feels.

While we are going along with the negatives, there were a couple of plot-holes here and there. How come the mechanical spider things (Grievers) that no-one has seen has managed to sting multiple people, even though it is stated that no-one has survived a night in the maze? Please. However, I didn’t realise these loop-holes until after the film, which is good! My experience was not impeded by them initially.

And speaking of Grievers, couldn’t something else been in the maze to add to the danger? Once you’e seen the Griever, you know what they’re up against. Then again, you see this things flinging kids around like they’re nothing. I will talk about that later.

Another IMPORTANT notice is that I haven’t read the book. I had a quick whiz through it on wikipedia, and some things seem to differ. If I had to make a comment, I’d say part of the ending might be more shocking than originally in the book. It might also make you think “Hang on, this isn’t who the book said…” before pulling the team back for one last confrontation.

Onto the goodies! The acting was sound. There’s one part at the end which totally changed the film for me, where everyone shines a little more (yes, even her) with their acting. I was surprised by the cast as well. Will Poulter, from Son of Rambow (who I remember winning the BAFTA for Rising Star this year), and Thomas Brodie-Sangster, starring in Love ActuallyPhineas and Ferb and Nanny McPhee were both co-starring. I haven’t really seen Thomas play a more meaty role in his list of films, so I was fairly surprised at his casting of being second-in-command. You’ve come far kid… wait, he’s 24?!?!?!?!?!?!?

What I have to say is this film was more gritty than I imagined… more gritty than the book’s synopsis in my mind! It was rather refreshing to see the creators of the film weren’t holding back, which I liked. It’s for teenagers, not kids. You see things getting crushed, burned, stabbed, people shooting others, people shooting themselves… I liked the darkness of this film, with an ending that actually made my jaw drop. Seat 12D, Screen 4, Cineworld, Cardiff, please return it. I’m finding it hard to chew.

Special effects were cool, with some proper props looking fairly well-made. Normally I wouldn’t care for such things, but when they are removing things from a Greiver (some more gore to keep you all squirming) I had to take a step back and think “Wow, I wonder how they did that?” The maze was also fairly interesting in how the walls shifted around, how ivy and bits of grass were scattered around. It looked wore-down, and added a sort of Indiana Jones-esqe mystery to the maze. Also, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. You’ll know it when you see it (hopefully).

In the end, I’d have to recommend the film. I would have liked to have seen more detail about the contents of the maze, and the dialogue and characters did get a tad annoying at times:

“I’ll explain later.”

“Can’t you explain to me now?”

“Look man, we’ve got to make this into a full-length film, so I’m just gonna draw it out a little more. They won’t care, they’ll think I’m really mysterious or something.”

…it was an interesting film. Sure it’s not going to win the awards, but it’s something to watch to pass the time until Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles leaves the box office. Actually, scrap this whole review. Go watch Interstellar because that stuff’s meant to be the bomb, if you know what I’m saying (am I still down with the kids?).

Not much to say this week. I want to get an update up, but my UCAS application has gone through, and let’s just say I might need to prepare for some questioning! I’m getting excited!