emlogomain.jpg

Main
Facebook
Tumblr
News/ Updates
DVD Reviews
Blu-ray Reviews
Movie Reviews
TV
Interviews
TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

THE MAZE RUNNER

Movie Review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 113 minutes, deleted scenes, audio commentary, making-of documentary, gag reel, featurettes, short film, still galleries, storyboards, theatrical trailer, previews, DVD, digital HD copy

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO: English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DTS, Italian 5.1 DD, Portuguese 5.1 DD, Turkish 5.1 DD, Polish 5.1 DD, Cestina 5.1 DD, Hungarian 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Cestina, Netherlands, Arabic (movie only), Slovensky (movie only)

 

STUDIO: 20th Century Fox/ Temple Hill Entertainment/ Gotham Group

Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 9-19-2014

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 12-16-2014

Thomas wakes up in a box elevator which sends up to a place called the Glade surrounded by a mysterious ominous walled maze with no exit patrolled (at night) by dangerous cyborg creatures called Grievers.   Everything starts to change with the arrival of Thomas where no one remembers anything else except their name.  Then Thomas breaks the rules to try to save two of the Gladers by going into the Maze, but it gets more complicated when a girl named Theresa arrives saying his name.   The Gladers must solve the mystery of the Maze before it is too late as events have put a few things into motion.

 

THE MAZE RUNENR is a frustrating adaptation of the James Dashner novel as some of the changes works for the movie while other changes goes against what made the book a good read.   The movie has a compressed time frame where the story takes place over three to four days where the book takes place over weeks (Hollywood script logic).   Also most of the character development of the book is tossed aside along with a few plot points that make some of the choices in the movie make less sense.  The casting and production details are top notch (despite the budget and short production schedule), but the Griever creature design isn’t as cool as imagined the Grievers in the book.  All of this may make me seem like a book purist, but I know book and movies are different mediums and the right changes can still make a good movie be a good adaptation.  I do like some of the design of the maze better and how they discover the Griever Hole in the movie more, but I do think the script tosses aside the plot of the other Runners aside too much to just focus on Miho and Thomas too much.  Even some of the relationship between Thomas and Theresa is thrown aside for the pacing of the script.    There is one good change for every bad change from book to movie.   THE MAZE RUNNER isn’t one of my favorite adaptations.  Adaptations that really work are movies such as DIVERGENT, THE HUNGER GAMES, and TWILIGHT where THE MAZE RUNNER is a mixed bag of frustration.  I think people who have never read the book will probably enjoy the movie more where the ones who loved the book may find a problem with this movie.   I say go read the book and wait to rent this movie.  I hope they do a better job with the adaptation of the sequel, THE SCORCH TRIALS, but part of me wish they could remake THE MAZE RUNNER now with a  better adaptation of the material.

 

I did like the movie better on the second viewing despite all of the changes they made because some parts didn’t translate well to a movie and budget/ time constraints.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The 18 minutes of deleted scenes (with optional director commentary) includes material that the director cut for pacing reasons even though he loved the moments in those cut scenes.

 

Feature film audio commentary with director Wes Ball and co-screenwriter T.S. Nowlin (with the option of English, French, Italian, or Netherlands subtitles) as they talk about the changes that were made from book to film, the tight production schedule for this movie and the tight prep schedule for the schedule due to the lead’s availability because he is still doing TEEN WOLF, the compromises that had to be done due to the budget and short shooting schedule of 42 days, and hinting at how they are approaching the adaptation for THE SCORCH TRIALS

 

NAVIGATING THE MAZE: THE MAKING OF THE MAZE RUNNER- a five part making-of documentary:

THE MAZE IS BORN- how the book and movie came about that features interviews with author James Dashner and director Wes Ball

CREATING THE WORLD- a look at the world they created on location and on a soundstage

FINDING THE GANG- all about the cast and the characters they play as the only female to play a Glader says it is like the ultimate bromance between the male cast members.   They camped on location for one night to bond in tents while it rained outside and went through a boot camp to learn the things their characters do in the movie

THE MOVIE INSIDE THE MAZE- a look at creating the maze with a combo of location footage, soundstages, blue screen, and CGI

THE DIGITAL DETAILS- a behind-the-scenes look at the visual effects of THE MAZE RUNNER

 

VISUAL EFFECTS fetaurettes with optional commentary by director Wes Ball as he talks about what the VFX work and rotoscoping they did as he also remarks more than once where he wished they had more money to create a bigger set for the maze and how one part of the maze they had to replace digitally because it looked more realistic to him

VISUAL EFFECTS BY METHOD shows a 3 minute breakdown of the VFX by Method Studios

 

THE CHUCK DIARIES- a featurette on the actor who lobbied for and won the part of Chuck (and how the cast and crew love him like a little brother)

 

A gag reel that isn’t very funny which is a combo of stumbles, line flubs, practical jokes, and more

 

RUIN (with optional audio commentary by director Wes Ball is the short CG animation film that Wes Ball did that helped land him the job to direct THE MAZE RUNNER (so you never know- the next job you do can land you a bigger one).

 

Still galleries and storyboard galleries

 

Theatrical trailer for THE MAZE RUNNER

 

Previews for LET’S BE COPS, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, IF I STAY, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, THE GIVER, and TEEN WOLF Season 3 Part 2.

 

Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy of the movie to stream and download to TV, computer, tablet, and smartphone.

 

THE MAZE RUNNER in standard definition on DVD

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:   THE MAZE RUNNER is better as a book than as a movie adaptation, but the extensive behind-the-scenes extras are fantastic on the blu-ray.  I do think the movie adaptation improves on a second viewing despite all of the changes they made due to schedule, budget, and what they perceive not working when adapting the book.

 

This review is 12-18-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

Like Enterline Media on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/enterlinemediaweb and follow on tumblr at http://enterlinemedia.tumblr.com