Release Date: September 19, 2014
I am not a film critic; in fact, I leave that to my husband who is (you can check out his website here or visit him on efilmcritic). However, there are those films that come along that are based off young adult books, which I do review, so I feel as though I can provide some commentary here, albeit pretty negative commentary.
As an avid reader and lover of dystopian fiction, it is always interesting to see what filmmakers will do with an already successful book. One would think that a screenwriter would use his/her best asset in this situation: the book itself. Yet, for every movie that comes out based on a popular YA book, the movie seems to be a bit of a letdown in some way, and you must disregard the amount of money the film makes.
With The Hunger Games and Divergent, Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley are the perfect leading ladies, strong, brave, and intelligent. The problem is not the cast but the decisions within the movies to alter some of the most basic aspects of the book. Granted, a two hour movie can't include everything, but changing how Katniss gets the mockingjay pin or cutting the first intimate moment on the train between Tris and Four just shouldn't happen. The same goes for The Maze Runner.
|Teresa's arrival in the Box|
Key plot elements are also changed; for example, Teresa comes out of the box with the Griever cure, whereas in the book, the Gladers already have it. I was also really excited to see Thomas and Minho kick Griever butt by tricking them off of the Cliff, but that scene was nowhere to be found. Ben also doesn't get an arrow to the eye, which is a key turning point in his fate.
|Thomas and Minho in the Maze|
I am a huge believer in the power of film. As a teacher, I fight for the right to show a movie in order to analyze its effectiveness. I enjoy seeing my favorite pages on screen...when it's done right.
For this movie, I was invested only as a far as loving the book and wanting to see it through, but it's not memorable, and it's not entirely accurate. Girls will love Dylan O'Brien as Thomas, and boys will be invested in the action sequences.
As a standalone movie, it's a solid B+. As a portrayal of the book, it manages to be a "D"ecent representation.