Popcorn and a Book (38): The Maze Runner


The Book: 2009

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Delacorte Press)

The Film: 2014

The Maze Runner directed by Wes Ball (20th Century Fox)

Thomas wakes up in an elevator with no memory of his past or how he got there. The elevator opens into a glade inhabited by other young boys who, one by one, were left in the glade with no memories. No one knows why they are there or where they came from; all they know is that they need to find their way through the giant maze surrounding their makeshift community.

Dashner’s dystopian novel translates well to film. In fact, The Maze Runner (book review here) is one of the few book-to-film adaptations I’ve seen that stays true to the original storyline. Any detail changes were pretty minor and, as was the case with the different griever “lair”, necessary. It was important to me that as the audience we don’t learn any information beyond what Thomas learns, because that was how it was in the book with Thomas as the narrator, and the movie didn’t disappoint. It’s definitely one of those movies that you don’t have to read the book to understand what is going on, which is also a plus (of course, I always recommend reading the books!).

For a cast that is 99 percent teenagers, I felt the actors (and actress) did a great job of carrying the film. I especially liked Gally (played by Will Poulter) and Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and would like to see more of these actors.

There may have been a few cheesy moments but the action was great. I loved the movements of the maze! It left me jittery and feeling claustrophobic every time the maze closed in around them.

All in all, this book-to-film works and works well. It left me eager for the sequel—I hope it leaves you feeling the same.

Have you seen the movie? Share your reactions in comments.

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