Book & Movie Review: The Maze Runner

We all love our books, and there are times we wish they could come to life on the big screen. Sometimes our wish comes true and those beloved stories soon hit theaters. Yet as excited as we are for the movie version to come to be they are not always good experiences. Perhaps a character is portrayed incorrectly, important scenes are left out or changed completely, or that wonderful story has been reduced to something with no plot but amazing CG effects. And then there are times when the movie is absolutely stunning and you are left with such an amazing feeling after watching it.

How I First Encountered The Maze Runner

I found this book by chance on a number of blogs I regularly check. It seemed that a lot of people were reading the book at the time and I was a bit curious. It seemed though that it was getting mixed reviews, some people loved in, some hated it and there were only a few that felt somewhere in between. I’ll admit it was the sort of negative reviews that made me curious about reading it, this is because if I see too many positive reviews concerning a single book it sets alarm bells off in my head. So I decided to give it a try and timed my reading of it so that I could watch the movie shortly after reading the book.

The Book

Going into the book I knew very little about the story. I knew there was a boy named Thomas, several other boys, a maze that was absolutely enormous and that they had to try to survive it all somehow. It wasn’t a lot to go on and honestly I had my doubts about this book. I felt that it would end up being like many of the other books in the YA genre that I had read and disliked. I feared it would use the same overused plot devices that every other YA book feels the need to use – the most annoying of which being the love triangle. But I decided to give the book and chance and see what happened.

Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when I started to read this book. It started out fairly good and that opening scene definitely made me want to read more to find out exactly what was in store for Thomas and how he would manage to make it inside the maze. The mix of characters Thomas meets once he is in and his crash course on living in the maze were fairly solidly done. I did find that there was a bit of a lull in the story after this and the characters were settling into their routines and especially as Thomas worked on finding out where he fit into their society.

The Grievers were an interesting little addition to the story and they certainly made the boys lives difficult, especially those that were in the role of Runners. That being said, I didn’t really see them as a truly life disturbing element until closer to the end of the book. I wish I had have seen more of them along the way.

The world building was good but I felt that it was limited because nearly the entire story revolved in and around the maze. Yes, the maze was a fantastic creation and surely put all the boys, past and present, to the ultimate test but I did feel like there was something missing as well. The way the boys set up and ran their little society was good. However this made me feel like I was reading an alternate version of Lord of The Flies in a way. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t good but it’s just the vibe I got from the book at times.

There were a lot of good elements in this story and the overall plot line was enjoyable to read. I did find it lacking in some areas, such as world building, but I see potential for this to be a major part of the remainder of the series based upon the ending. I am glad that I read this book. It wasn’t outright amazing but was quite enjoyable to read and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the trilogy has in store for the characters.

The Movie

The start to the movie was almost perfect. The sounds, the darkness, disorientation and the entrance into the Glade among the many boys who live there was done very well. Seeing the Glade and a small hint of the maze in the beginning really set the stage for everything. I think the way they portrayed the maze was very well done and though it might sound crazy, it didn’t seem as big to me as it should have been, but perhaps it was because there wasn’t a lot of time spent showing off the maze itself.

I think the actors chosen for each role were fairly well picked. Honestly, after having read the book, I didn’t have that good of a mental image of what each character looked like, so I couldn’t really judge which ones fit and which ones didn’t. Though I can’t name them all, I feel that certain characters were done better than others. I will admit that when Teresa made her first appearance I, for a moment, thought it was Kristen Stewart playing the role and was worried that she would ruin the movie. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for me to realize my error and was glad to see it was someone else playing that role.

I did find that the Grievers weren’t quite what I had envisioned. They didn’t seem to match the description given in the book but of course changes will happen when it comes to movie adaptations. But I just didn’t see them as this big threat like they should have been, at least they didn’t seem to be much of a threat or all that present until nearly the end when the escape was under way.

That being said, I found the end of the movie to be quite sloppy and rushed. It didn’t feel right the way things played out and a few things that were changed with it really irked me. While I’m glad I did see the movie to see how it compared I have to say it’s not the kind of movie I would watch again, once was enough.

How They Compare To Each Other

Well, outside of the very beginning I honestly felt that far too much was changed in the movie to really reflect the books story. While I understand that changes do happen when a book is turned into a movie it seemed that far too much was changed or removed. Too many of the characters were changed, sometimes it was a difference in their personality and other times it was a change in their storyline as a whole. Gally was one of those characters whose story was changed too much and I didn’t agree with it.  I did miss a lot of the parts that I had enjoyed in the books as those sections were either missing or changed so much I barely recognized them.

I could go on and on about all the things I didn’t like about the movie but I won’t. In the end, I did enjoy the movie to a certain extent but I feel that I would have liked it a lot more had I not read the book first.

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