Quality Children's Entertainment Family Movie Reviews

The Maze Runner – A Tense, Suspenseful Mystery Thriller, That Keeps You Asking And On The Edge Of Your Seat

TheMazeRunner.jpgOpening last weekend, this film received rave reviews from our teen film critics. The story involves a teen who is deposited into a community of boys with no memory of his past save his own name. The world he is deposited to is comprised of 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in this completely closed-off environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies. The original group has been in “The Glade” for two years, have tried to escape and have, for the most part, given up hope. Their world begins to change with the latest boy and then, the first girl arriving. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven D, age 17, comments, “It kept me on the edge of my seat and made me hold my breath during the intense situations, and I love when a film gets me so involved, but that may be too much for some to handle.” Willie J adds, “Using the element of surprise and leaving unanswered questions, this film proves to be a very formidable mystery, action-thriller.” See their full reviews below.

The Maze Runner
Reviewed by Raven D.

The Maze Runner is an action packed, visually stunning new film that made hold my breath and kept me on the edge of my seat till the very end. The Maze Runner tells the story of Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien, who wakes up in a giant crate with no memory of his passed. He is taken to “The Glade,” a place full of boys who were taken and had their memories erased as well. Thomas soon learns that they are trapped in a giant maze, and once you’re stuck inside, you never make it out alive. Everything begins to change when a girl is brought to the Glade and so Thomas decides it is time to face the maze and find the whole truth about the people who placed them there. But the truth they find might be even more horrible than the maze itself.

I absolutely love this film. It is so intense and visually stunning. It kept me on the edge of my seat and made my heart race through the entire the film. Every time Thomas is inside the maze, I felt as if I was there with him, running for my life. But this isn’t just an adrenaline packed adventure. The Maze Runner also moved me to tears and made me think about the way we can work together when we are truly faced with a challenge. The visuals are incredible as well. The maze is so complex and ever changing and it’s so cool to be able to “explore” it in a sense and see all of the detail put into the CGI.

The entire cast is incredible. All the characters are so unique and have their own personality and quirks, but they work together in such a seamless way. My favorite character is Thomas played by Dylan O’Brien. He is the main character in this film and really makes the whole thing come to life. The boys that live in the Glade have been there for three years and, of course, they have tried to find a way out. But, most of them have essentially decided that they will live out the rest of their days there. When Thomas shows up, he tests the system and refuses to accept his fate of being stuck in the maze. I admire his character because he thinks outside of the box and finds his own way. He looks past his fear and is a strong leader despite the doubts people may have in him.

It’s been very interesting seeing the theme of films that have been coming out recently. Hunger Games, Divergent, Enders Game, The Giver and now The Maze Runner all have something in common. They tell the story of young adults, children really, who have to group together and take on some very serious situations, sometimes things even adults can’t handle. It shows youth questioning authority, standing up for what’s right and making their own way. These strong themes send out a message of empowerment to the youth of our generation, but this can also be a bit overwhelming. I know it’s difficult watching adults fight for their lives, kill and be killed, and have their worlds torn apart. But it’s even more shocking to see children go through these trials.

Because of this, I recommend The Maze Runner for ages 13+ because of the intense situations and violence. It kept me on the edge of my seat and made me hold my breath during the intense situations, and I love when a film gets me so involved, but that may be too much for some to handle. I give The Maze Runner 5 out of 5 stars and can’t wait to see it again. Catch it in theaters near you now!

The Maze Runner
Willie J., age 15, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic

In a generation where the “teenagers face adversity in a dystopian future” is the popular piece of entertainment, The Maze Runner is a refreshing entry. Using the element of surprise and leaving unanswered questions, this film proves to be a very formidable mystery, action-thriller.

The acting in this film isn’t much different than many other films with teen or child ensembles. They give good performances and they all come off as veterans, especially Blake Cooper (Chuck) who, in only his second feature film, seems like he’s been acting on-screen for years. I found him very impressive. The leading performance by Dylan O’Brian is also very good but, is limited to his rather conventional and predictable character. The most impressive performance in the cast comes from Will Poulter who plays Gally. His performance earlier this cinematic season in The Giver was also impressive and his performance in We’re the Millers was hilarious so, he is really showing his range. His character is wonderfully written and wonderfully portrayed, so props to him.

The visual effects in the film are also quiet amazing. Enrique Chediak, whose beautiful cinematography was at its best in 127 Hours, gives this film a very crisp look. He doesn’t over do his shot composition nor does he try to give unnecessary landscape shots. He lets the beauty of the film come from the special effects, which is a smart move (although there are some genuinely stunning shots). The seemingly effortless movement of giant set pieces is a testament to the great work of the visual effects team.

But, the best aspect of this film is the writing. The secret this film has is what Alfred Hitchcock famously called the “MacGuffin.” It is a plot device that the main protagonist pursues with little or no explanation. This film starts with a boy entering the world but we don’t know why. We get to the middle of the film and we still don’t know why these kids are isolated, who is keeping them there or how big their obstacle is and what stakes are attached. Usually, in a movie of this kind, those questions are all answered in the exposition of the film. Even when this film ends, we are still uncertain about why what we just saw happened. What is the motivation and who is behind it? Then, in a wonderful plot twist we leave with questions that only a next installment can answer or maybe not.

This is the rare case of a film that makes us WISH FOR a sequel not because more books were written and a bunch of producers feel the need to adapt every book in series, but because we are generally interested in what happens next. That is why I give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it for anyone age 14 and up, as it is a little bloodier and more profane than your average pg-13 thriller.

The Maze Runner is a tense, suspenseful mystery thriller, that keeps you asking and on the edge of your seat.

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