The Maze Runner | Adaptation Review

James Dashner’s YA dystopian tale The Maze Runner dominated the box office its first weekend out. The film was so successful that not only was the sequel, The Scorch Trials commissioned, it was already given a release date. So that’s impressive.

I went into the movie with cautious excitement. With the exception of The Hunger Games a lot of the recent YA book-to-movie adaptations have been lackluster, so us fans tend to go into adaptations with bated breath. BUT the trailer looked so promising. The books played a huge part in my skepticism going into this film. I adored these books when I first read them, but now that I’ve read a lot of more books I look back on them and think “meh.” I worried that shift in my taste  would affect my interpretation of the film.

Thankfully, I was happily impressed with the movie and am eagerly anticipating The Scorch Trials. 

First of all, the set was gorgeous. The Maze was huge, the Glade was riveting and constantly moving. Second of all, the casting was perfect. Newt, Chuck and Minho (some of my favorite characters in the books) were so fabulously portrayed. The cinematography and lighting was wonderful (for the most part).

Another huge pro for me was that the world-building and beginning of the film was fast-paced, a trait not true of the book, likely because they had less time. One of my biggest complaints of the books was the slow beginning and how many questions arose and how few answers you got. That was rectified in this adaptation.

My only major complaint about the movie was the portrayal of the action. It was choreographed frantically and sloppily, creating a confusing experience for viewers. Overall, you understand what happened, so it’s not the end of the world, but it could have been executed much better. Another complaint of the movie was how formulaic the very ending of the film was– it was so overtly begging for a sequel I nearly cringed. I feel like that final scene or two could have been handled with more tact.

Essentially, the three things I want from an adaptation to consider it “good” are 1.) to get the tone and point of the story right, 2.) to execute most of the plot in a way that excites those who have not read the books while pleasing those who did, and  3.) if you have to make changes, don’t screw up plot points that will affect future films (if applicable). These three tasks were checked off my list.

Overall, as I’ve mentioned I was happily impressed with this adaptation. It wasn’t perfect — but I believe it was one of the better YA adaptations we’ve had in recent history. As an adaptation — I give this 4 stars.

Have you watched The Maze Runner yet? Let me know what you thought of the film in the comments below.


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