The Maze Run­ner

Rebels With­out A Map

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Dvd & Blu-Ray -

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).

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