10.03.2014

The Maze Runner

Run dat maze boyee.
"Based on the Best-Selling Novel"

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another thrilling, chilling edition of the Tagline! Today I am going to jump back to the present and review a movie that I don't recall fondly from 20 years ago (god it is so unreal to think that 1993 was over 20 years ago). So instead of that, today we're jumping back into the vibrant genre of "movies based on young adult novels featuring dystopic or post-apocalyptic settings" Because hell if one movie like that is good then surely eight or nine hundred will be GREAT RIGHT? I don't know. Anyway today I'm going to be talking about the Maze Runner and not the Giver, I know it was a real toss up but there it is. The Maze Runner is a thrilling film based on a novel of the same name, and starring that kid from Teen Wolf as Thomas, a boy who wakes up in a cage that has opened into a grove full of young dudes, and is understandably freaked out, because really who knows what they might do to him. Fortunately it's not that kind of movie, and Thomas discovers that he has been released into the center of a massive labyrinth where many other youths have been released before him. He learns that there is no known escape from the maze, and that at night the area outside of the grove (the maze proper) is prowled by things called grievers, which no one has encountered and survived. They sound like shrieking hell monsters, and for the curious out there, once they show us one we as the audience discover that they also LOOK like shrieking hell monsters, that are also have mechanical. They're basically like something out of doom, as I was watching I had to ask myself like... why did they build them like that? Any mechanical thing chasing you would be scary, but these guys really went the extra mile in the bowel-voiding terror department. Anyway, no one has any memories of how or why they ended up in the maze, but they all want to get out, because living in a grassy grove surrounded by monsters and with a bunch of other dirty dudes isn't the greatest way to spend the rest of your life... I mean unless that's your thing I guess. No judgement.



Jacob, I love you but I can't be with you.
So Thomas, as the protagonist of the movie, is obviously different and smarter and better in an undefinable way, which inspires the characters who we are going to like, and threatens the characters who are jerks and who we will not like, because they are dumb and jerks naturally. Thomas meets Alby, who is the leader because he was the first into the grove, where the lads have constructed a more or less coherent society, complete with job castes and rules about not killing each other, implying that at some point in the past probably they spent a lot of time killing each other and not having a cohesive society, and that sounds like something I would have liked to see but I understand that we're operating on a constrained schedule so fine fine none of that good hunger games style child on child murder, only monsters with robotic stingers killing the children today. SO ANYWAY in this society of just males (presumably to keep this from becoming a weird nightmare version of a high school dance) there are these guys they call runners, because they run... in the maze. They run the maze guys. The Maze Runner. These guys are the daring badasses of this society, and you can tell because of their sweet harnesses and tools/weapons. A big question I had was, how did they manage to make all this really professional looking shit. They have fancy harnesses, they have metal tools that I assume they must have been given by the people running this fucked up experiment (more on that in a sec) and they have built some pretty serious wooden buildings. I have to note though that despite their skills with woodworking, tool making, and general handiness, none of these sadsacks seemed to be able to conjure the concept of a BOW AND FUCKING ARROW IN A MAZE FILLED WITH SUPPLE YOUNG TREES AND STRONG BUT SPRINGY VINES. This thought was strobing though my brain as they were engaged in bitter melee with giant killer robospider-monsters. Like BOY IT WOULD BE GREAT IF I COULD FIGHT THIS THING FROM FARTHER AWAY THAN WITHIN RANGE OF ITS LETHAL STINGER. F- Guys.

A few good men. Or like a ton of them.
Anyway we become increasingly aware through recurring dreams Thomas has that this whole maze thing is part of some sort of study or experiment. After a while a girl comes up in the basket, with an ominous warning that no more people or supplies will be sent up. Everyone freaks out because its a girl whoa, and she starts throwing rocks and hides up high. Random girl who knows Thomas is my least favorite part of this movie, because she serves literally no purpose, at any point in the movie, other than to just sort of stand around and occasionally say something inconsequential, or to agree with Thomas. It isn't even that she's incompetent, to the contrary she seems very capable, she just has nothing to do in the movie other than blend into the background, and to make vague, Kristen Stewart-esque faces that convey a state of mild confusion or surprise. I don't know if there's like a school for that or...? The point is the movie has basically one female character who is on camera for longer than five minutes, and she has no narrative purpose, which is sort of pathetic.

They're good at making spears though.
So this movie generally speaking is pretty forgettable in the YA movie pack. It isn't as good as the Hunger Games, and it isn't as shitty as Divergent. It's somewhere in the middle no man's land, caught between good and ultimately shitty (seriously fuck Divergent). Of note is that Gally is a complete dickhole, like seriously what is that guy's problem? We know one thing about him other than his love of beating people up, and that's his love of following rules. I think if he could Gally would marry the rules, so long as he could make exceptions to the one about not hurting other people, because other than rule following, hurting people is his life's passion. Also the kid who plays Jojen Reed on Game of Thrones, and who I'll always remember as Liam Neeson's son in Love Actually, is in this movie, and I just can't believe he's 24 really he looks about 15 maybe.

That's all I have for today! I am going back to my hole to wait for Dracula Untold to come out, because that looks just terrible. Also of note, apparently there are going to be all lady made web short films re-interpreting the Twilight Saga. I am practically foaming at the mouth for THAT shitshow.

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