Maze Runner Too Morbid for Kids

Casey Miller, Editor in Chief

Despite its morbid narrative, The Maze Runner has been raking it in at the box office, with $32.5 million in only one week. Starring Teen Wolf heartthrob Dylan O’Brien as protagonist Thomas, the movie is set in an apocalyptic dystopia wherein a virus has killed off much off the Earth’s population. A hoard of boys are set in the middle of an impossible maze as a part of a social experiment, of which they are unaware.

Many problems plague this book-to-movie adaptation. First of all, the movie does not stay true to the book in any way, shape, or form. One of the main characters, leader Alby, is kind and friendly to Thomas, despite being a villain in the novel. The only girl in the movie, Teresa, does not have telepathic powers with Thomas like they do in the book. This changes the dynamics of their relationship, making a tight bond in the book seem like a loose friendship in the movie. Furthermore, a huge plot point was left out: main villain Galley was never abducted by the Creators of the maze.

The telepathy between the two main characters was important. However, The Maze Runner series author, James Dashner, was the one who chose not to include it. Dashner said, “The telepathy between Thomas and Teresa would just not work in the movie. Telepathy never works; it just looks cheesy and stupid.” He thought it would be “corny to put up [O’Brien’s] face and hear him doing a voiceover.”

Dashner, who was on the executive producers team, ensured that fans would be pleased with other aspects of the movie. First of all, casting was excellent. O’Brien has thrown the Teen Wolf sidekick role aside, and now takes the place of a self-determined hero.  Will Poulter, who many Americans will recognize as Kenny from We’re the Millers, hides his British accent to play the wicked Gally. The only casting trouble seems to be British Skins star Kaya Scondelario. Her accent keeps slipping into her dialogue, and it is difficult to see any chemistry between her character Teresa and O’Brien’s Thomas.

I would not recommend this movie to anyone under fifteen years old. It’s kids killing kids — yes, like the Hunger Games — but much worse. They punish each other, starve each other, fight each other, and behave like morons when trying to democratically make decisions for the group.

The cinematography is impressive, but this allows for brutal graphic depiction of violence and illness.

At the end, the movie takes a crazy turn and then stops for a giant information dump in preparation for its “to be continued” conclusion. While this also occurred in the book, it was done poorly and too quickly in the movie for a viewer to understand everything without going home to Google it later.

I would not recommend this for your next movie date, unless you are looking for a bit of a psychological thriller with a talented lead actor and a poor plot.