Thomas is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape.
Let’s just look at the movie tagline for a second. It’s a perfect little description of the movie and the book. Everything is good, the movie looks promising, Dylan O’Brien is adorable…. Then the movie starts. And that little annoying voice nagged me the whole movie, “that didn’t happen, that’s not right, that didn’t happen…”
And I finished the book less than a week before I watched the movie, so that didn’t help the situation. As a certified book nerd, I should know by now that ignorance is bliss, and the less I remember about the book the better the movie will be. It never turns out well to read the book right before the movie. But, alas, I held high hopes despite the difficulty that fantasy has translating onto the big screen. I’d seen a slew of great young adult adaptations (Catching Fire, Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay), and I thought maybe things were changing.
I was wrong.
But book aside, let’s talk about the movie first.
I’ll attempt to tear my mind away from the horrors of the inaccuracy, but it’s hard to separate the actual movie and its precision with the book. I’ll try. First of all, Dylan O’Brian made the movie. Is he a good actor? I don’t know. But he’s fun to look at, so that’s all that really matters.
The graphics are pretty good in the movie, too. While the shacks didn’t match the descriptions in the books, they seemed elaborate and realistic. the maze, while COMPLETELY INACCURATE, personified terror and captured the majesty of the giant walls and hopelessness of living in a maze. The Grievers hit the mark on frightening and disgusting. The boys are all basically how I pictured them in looks. They’re sufficiently dirty and weary.
The plot never stopped moving. The boys are constantly gearing for battle or racing through the maze or debating on their next plan. The tensions inside the Glade definitely rise once Thomas comes, and there’s a desperate undertone in their attempts to break free of the maze. It’s suspenseful, a little frightening, and keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next (especially since even people who read the book had no idea, since it was so different). The movie doesn’t scream melodramatic, and the visual overload of so many new things at once keeps the viewers on their toes.
Alright, so it was a good movie. Great? No. Interesting, fun, suspenseful? Yes. It’s a perfect movie to watch to be completely engulfed in the world and wholly entertained.
Now, let’s talk about the book and the movie together.
Deep breathes. I’m trying to contain my fingers before they fly into too much of a rant.
Alright. Alright. It’s so different. SO DIFFERENT. Yeah, the essence stayed the same. The desperate times call for desperate measure mantra stayed throughout the movie. The book has a maze, and the Glade, and Grievers, and the boys. The differences? Everything else. The whole process of getting out of the maze is completely different from the book. The maze, coding, Grievers, medicine, supplies, personalities, and scenes all have elements that were pulled out of the sky and not out of the book.
First of all, the Gladers used a Griever’s mechanical brain to find the “door” to the maze like a metal detector. The maze looked different, and they never figured out the code, they just used their handy dandy metal detector. The changing, which happened when the Griever serum was injected into an infected boy’s body, occurred directly because of the Griever sting. They didn’t even get the serum in the movie until the girl showed up, but in the book, they had the serum the whole time and a handful of them had already been stung. The movie talks of the boys “co-existing” with the monsters, which is not true. The structures of the building and their little government changed dramatically in the movie. Every move they made to escape the maze in the movie had an equal yet entirely different parallel in the book. Even the ending changed.
So there’s my little rant. The movie disappointed me, but if I watched it again in a year when the book isn’t fresh in my mind, I’d be able to enjoy it much more. It’s a good action flick with interesting scenes and a dystopian feel, but the frivolous differences between the book and the movie upset me.