Take a Drink: whenever you hear “Maze”, “Runner”, “Greenie/Greenbean”, “Thomas”, “Griever” or “Wicked/Wicked is good”.
Do a Shot: for every Griever sting.
Take a Drink: each time someone gets tossed in the hole or strung up.
Do a Shot: anytime the maze opens/closes.
Take a Drink: for every name carved on the wall. Take Two: for every name scratched out.
Shotgun a Beer: when the dead come back to life.
By: Felix Felicis (Two Beers) –
I’m at my most Care Bear when slightly stoned on migraine medication so let’s get cracking on The Maze Runner, eh? Sorry, sometimes my half-Canadian slips out, but I digress. In the pantheon of teen novel film adaptations, I’ve seen them all (and reviewed more than my fair share). You’ve got the good, the bad, and the Nicholas Sparks. The Maze Runner manages to surprise and deliver a solid two hours of entertainment shockingly unspoiled by boredom, the urge to get blackout drunk, or murder the row of teens who wouldn’t shut up THE ENTIRE FUCKING RUNNING TIME to my left. Okay, one of those is a lie.
The Maze Runner follows Teen Wolf’s Dylan O’Brien as “Thomas” down into the rabbit hole of Lord of the Flies meets Peter Pan meets Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Tossed into a group of adolescent amnesiacs (and made one himself), Thomas and the Funky Bunch must find a way out of an impossible maze as danger and intrigue squeeze them ever tighter in coils of dead-ends and betrayal. So basically like any family dinner I’ve ever been to. Faced with confronting a truth uglier than Lindsay Lohan’s “O” face, will Thomas lead his intrepid band to freedom? Will he overcome odds seemingly more impossible than a clean sobriety test from Charlie Sheen? Will squirrels water-skiing ever not be totes adorbs? No, the answer to that last one is no.
The Maze Runner is a stunning achievement in the novel-to-film adaptation arena and earns my rare “Better Than The Book” merit badge by elevating juvenile (if interesting) source material into something I didn’t actually hate myself for buying a ticket to. The slick visuals and plot tweaks took a childish intermediate story and turned it into two hours of intrigue and edge-of-your-seat action. There was enough pathos and genuine angst here to keep a hipster fed for a year, not to mention solid acting chops from lead Dylan O’Brien and assorted collabo cast. Nods to Aml Ameen’s “Alby”, Ki Hong Lee’s “Min-Ho” and Thomas Brodie-Sangster’s “Newt”.
The stellar ensemble cast made better by the lack of a mind-numbingly, soul-suckingly trite, love triangle *cough* TWILIGHT *cough* took the source material and ran with it, literally, at a breakneck pace made even more refreshing by the lack of agonizingly slow flashback exposition. Seriously. I will french-fucking-kiss the genius behind that editing detail. Pushing the PG-13 envelope to its limit, and doing it to Chris Hemsworth’s abs, I mean Channing Tatum’s ass, I mean perfection, The Maze Runner doesn’t waste a death and makes the most out of every *puts on sunglasses* KILLER opportunity. It’s not gonna be the best movie you’ve ever seen, but in the young adult arena, The Maze Runner is King.
The plot is overly simplistic and the key reveal lacks punch, making the most interesting thing about The Maze Runner it’s mystery. And much like virginity, once it’s gone, you can’t get that shit back. The score and sound design are also about as subtle as Ke$ha’s stage makeup and detract from several key scenes. There was also Will Poulter’s “Gally” who killed, nay, SLAYED in 2013’s We’re The Millers and flopped equally as hard as a hardass villain set to foil Dylan O’Brien’s quester “Thomas” in The Maze Runner. Srrsly. I’ve seen more terrifying acting from white girls at the end of Pumpkin Spice Latte season.
Despite a flurry of minor flaws, The Maze Runner managed to excel in the young adult arena and deliver a solid two hours of entertainment that satisfied. So in terms of decisions I’ve made, this movie falls somewhere in-between the time I tried to do a keg stand sans underwear and my sister convincing me in 2001 that “bangs were coming back”. If you’re fifteen and trying to get to second base, this is the film for you, hell, if you’re thirty and trying to get to second base, The Maze Runner is the movie for you.
The Maze Runner’s a one-night-stand you’re not gonna take home to mom and dad, but you’ll throw this bitch a morning bone and some cab fare for sure.