The Maze Runner (2014)

(On Cable TV, September 2015) I’m currently burnt-out on dystopian young-adult science-fiction films, so forgive me if I’m not particularly enthusiastic about The Maze Runner.  It does have an effective mystery at its core, as teenage boys find themselves stuck in the middle of a vast deadly maze and must learn how to get out.  Conceptual breakthroughs ensue.  Still, I can’t help but feel that much of the material feels intensely familiar, and that the answers hastily provided at the end are cheap and easy.  It doesn’t help that there isn’t really a lot of plot in The Maze Runner, and that it’s stretched over what feels like a long time.  Or that the film concludes with an infodump frantically advertising the next film of the series.  Or that much of the background lore seems silly in a way that’s condescending to its younger audience.  I don’t exactly dislike the film: it’s competently made, features a number of fine young actors, marks an auspicious debut for director Wes Ball, occasionally manages interesting images and does make for an intriguing preview of its sequel.  But in the shadow of so many other similar series, The Maze Runner does seem deliberately manufactured for younger audiences, and I can’t help but wonder how long the multipart YA dystopia craze will last before we can move on to other things.

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