The Maze Runner 2014 movies: The acting is great but what a shame about the rest of it

The Maze Runner full movie 2014 is really not a good film, but it scores for omitting much of what makes typical teen movies excruciating.

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There’s no love triangle and no lengthy flashbacks of elders barfing up loads of mythology and exposition. It may be pity to think of this as an accomplishment, but after years (years!) of having our standards systematically lowered by an increasing tsunami of Young Adult adaptations, The Maze Runner’s spry pace is memorable and appreciated.

The Maze Runner free movie has a sly way of seeming propulsive, even if not much happens. We enter the world of the movie alongside a befuddled young boy stricken with amnesia, put in a world full of other amnesiacs. As such, no one really knows what the hell they’re doing, which is a surprisingly effective storytelling trick. Our hero is Thomas, played by the 23-year-old Dylan O’Brien. He’s the newest “greenie” in “the Glade,” and arrives with boxes of farming supplies.

In the Glade, under the enlightened leadership of the strong Alby (Aml Ameen), everyone is put to work according to their skills. Crops grow, shelter is formed, and a rainbow coalition of fit young-looking boys appear to enjoy their time in what is ostensibly a prison. Surrounding them, though, are enormous cement walls with one opening. It closes in the evening and the interior re-arranges itself like a puzzle.

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For years, a group of teenage boys (the runners) have been charging in to the maze to try and look for a way out, but if they don’t come back in time they’re doomed. No one has ever survived a night because the “Grievers”, who we eventually realize are nasty cyborg spiders, will come and get them.

The social structure in the Glade is complex. There are factions, and the opposite of Alby is Gally, a reactionary without much of a bright vision for the future. Gally, played by Will Poulter (who has a young Jerry O’Connell thing going) is an interesting villain. Thomas’s crew eventually includes Teresa (played by Kaya Scodelario, who can’t make up her mind if she’s going with an American accent or not) whose only purpose in this movie is to look fetching in a blue Henley. One surmises she has more to do in the sequels.

Eventually, Thomas runs into the maze and beats the Grievers. They look a bit silly, but anything spider-like gets viewers jolting from their seats, especially when they are piercing and slicing young people to their doom. (Props to The Maze Runner – the film isn’t afraid to violently kill kids. It pushes the envelope of PG-13.) Yet before this can occur, Thomas uses his wits to figure out just a tiny bit about his past and why they hell he and his friends are in this predicament in the first place.

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All of the performances (particularly Ameen’s) are top-notch. The film-making, unfortunately, leaves much to be desired.

The note is horrendous, and the sound design doesn’t have an ounce of subtlety. The overall production design – including the opening titles – looks a lot more like TV than a feature film. Were it not for the expansion into the bigger world in the last few minutes, I’d compare the film to a season one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which Commander Riker loses his memory but retains his leadership skills (and stunning good looks) on some wacky prison planet. That’s not necessarily a horrible piece of entertainment, but maybe not something worth the ticket for.

The ending sequences elicited laughter at the screening I attended, still, the “whoa” factor is high. Maybe it’s just because the secrets of The Maze Runner free movie are so half-baked, but if I was told that part two was about to begin I’d have stayed in my seat. Not entirely because I loved the characters, but more out of genuine curiosity to see where this peculiar story was running next.

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The Maze Runner 2014 movies: The acting is great but what a shame about the rest of it
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