The future is post-apocalyptic and teeming with teenagers apparently, as yet another young adult book series has made its way to The Silver Screen. Yep, “The Maze Runner” made its cinematic debut. Falling in line with “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” series, the film explores the curious nature of humanity as well as the ethics of human experimentation. The film is very “Ender’s Game” meets “Lord of The Flies!” Unlike these other films, The Maze Runner just does not measure up.
As aforementioned, the film is set in the future where The Sun has scorched the Earth causing widespread death, famine, and destruction. The surviving humans develop a brain disease that causes paranoia, insanity, and finally death. Interestingly, the young seem to be immune to its affects, prompting a group of scientists to test their minds using a complex experiment. There, the maze comes in. Over the course of three years a group of teenage boys are sent into the center of a giant maze, where a lush forest grows called “The Glade.” There they are given everything they need to survive via a mysterious monthly box of supplies that also bring a new boy along with it. They are stripped of all their memories before arriving in the maze, eventually they remember their names, but are referred to as “greenies” until they do. The boys form a community with with rules and a society where everyone does their part. Some of the boys become “Maze Runners,” mapping the maze hoping to find away out. The problem is the maze is constantly shifting and rotating. Anyone caught outside the glade as the sunsets is hunted and killed by “Grievers.” Grievers are large bio-mechanical, spider-like creatures with a taste for human flesh. When the last boy, Thomas arrives, and unwittingly kills one of them, the normal happenings of the maze begin to go awry. The boys become restless trying to find a way out and answers as to why they were brought to the maze in the first place. Thomas seems to be the key to their escape, but he will have to gather the boys and the final arrival, a girl named Teresa together to brave the maze and find a way home.
This film is nothing short of confusing. You begin the film confused and questioning, and leave it in the same state of mind. Everything is left open ended and unresolved. It is okay to leave enough for a sequel to hash out, but to leave everything on a cliffhanger after almost two hours of investment in the characters is just plain wrong. If there is a “Maze Runner 2” we need to know what exactly cause The Sun to decimate the earth, why these kids are immune to the effects of the virus, what exactly do bio-mechanical bugs have to do with figuring out a cure, and why Teresa is the sole girl in the group? It is definitely time for Summer 2014 to end, but I was hoping its summer movie season would end on a high note. These newcomer actors, who are not really worth mentioning should talk to their agents about getting parts in the last installment of “The Hunger Games” and the sequel to “Divergent.” Those are good films people will actually want to see and be satisfied with doing so. To put it bluntly, “The Maze Runner” left us on a cliff hanger that actually just pushed the whole franchise over a cliff. That is all!