The Maze Runner
Rebels Without A Map
Release Date: 9 February
2014 | 12 | Blu- ray/ DVD Director: Wes Ball Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie- Sangster, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Blake Cooper
Some films aren’t
necessarily bad, they’re just not necessarily… necessary. Take The Maze Runner. In so many ways it’s actually quite impressive. But it’s impossible to watch it without thinking, “Hunger Games rip- off ”.
A combination of Lost and Lord Of The Flies, this YA adaptation sees a group of amnesiac teenage boys dumped in a massive walled enclosure ( it has its own forest!). The single exit – open only during the day – leads to a maze that fills up at night with CG monsters; you don’t want to get trapped in there when the doors close. By day, “Maze Runners” nip through the labyrinth trying to map it and find a way out.
The film’s certainly unusual in two respects. The one female character – when she’s suddenly introduced halfway through – doesn’t immediately become a lust object ( there’s too much bromance going on for her to get a look in, to be fair). Also, it’s in no hurry to throw big action setpieces at you. The film starts small and talky and opens up as it goes along.
The acting is of a very high standard and there’s some good meaty drama here about action vs inaction and power politics. Visually it impresses too, with a gritty, earthy feel and – until the climax – a refreshing lack of fancy camerawork for fancy camerawork’s sake.
Sadly the big reveal at the end about the nature of the maze is a combination of pseudo- science waffle and a desperate bid for a sequel. With a more satisfying, self- contained conclusion and a different release date – say, 2005 – The Maze Runner may have made more of an impact. Instead it feels like it’s run into a brick wall.
Both the DVD and Blu- ray have commentary by the director and a co- writer, deleted scenes ( 19 minutes) and galleries. The Blu- ray adds a five- part Making Of ( 42 minutes); a gag reel ( seven minutes); “The Chuck Diaries” ( a six- minute featurette on how to get an audition via Twitter); “Ruin”, a dystopian CGI short from director Wes Ball ( eight minutes); and 34 minutes of effects gubbins. Dave Golder The “name wall” – inscribed with Gladers’ monickers – includes Wes ( as in director Ball) and Wyck ( as in producer Wyck Godfrey).