So this weekend I saw The Maze Runner in theaters, but I committed a bit of book blogger blasphemy as I haven’t read the book (yet). I know, I know, how did this happen? Because I am currently number 43 on my library waitlist for the book. So, while I didn’t have the book background to compare the movie against, I found that I actually quite enjoyed it, particularly the protagonist, Thomas.
Now, I haven’t seen Dylan O’Brien play in anything else so a love for the actor himself wasn’t clouding my vision. I found that from the get-go I admired a lot of the traits that Thomas exhibited as a main character. He was realistically disturbed when he woke up in a rising elevator shaft, and more focused on defining the boundaries of his situation than what the other boys in the glade thought of him. He was constantly curious, and not content with the softened answers and explanations that Alby had to give him. In a lot of ways, Thomas reminded me a lot of Harry from the Harry Potter series, as he was always questioning, always challenging, and refused answers that he did not get to see or experience for himself. At times when going into the maze was deemed “reckless” or even flat out stupid and suicidal, Thomas did it, and not just for himself but often for others. His moral compass seemed to be working overtime and he was usually more concerned with what was right over what was easy. And he recognized Theresa as a valuable member of the group and resource rather than laugh or scorn her because of her gender.
Aside from my adoration of Thomas, I really enjoyed the movie. The visuals were stunning, and I felt that the plot was original and the events at the end definitely shocked me. I heard a lot of people whining that it was “too much like the Hunger Games” but I take that criticism with a grain of salt because I find that most people are apt to compare any successful novel in the dystopian genre as a copy of The Hunger Games (which was by no means the first in its genre). I felt the film was well-acted, and there was usually at least one aspect of most of the characters that I found I liked (such as Chuck’s earnestness, or Meeno’s resilience). Those grievers were nasty pieces of work, and actually reminded me of mechanical versions of Hagrid’s Blast Ended Skrewts that he put in the maze challenge in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Overall, The Maze Runner enticed me to bump up the priority of the books on my TBR. While it is highly reminiscent (for me, at least) of The Lord of the Flies, I really enjoyed the characters and the different personalities amongst the boys, which I’m sure are even more fleshed out in the novels. I think that James Dashner has created a original series that leans heavily on the dystopian genre but also carries its own originality and I’m excited for the next film to come out.