Maze Runner Review
Reviewed by T.M. Williams
This review contains spoilers:
Every once in a while a book comes along that makes me feel completely inadequate as an author. That book, recently, was The Maze Runner by James Dashner. The world building was so well done I could practically touch the stone walls and hanging ivy and the plot developed well enough that I was kept guessing throughout the entire story. There were some predictable elements, but nothing that throws off a reader.
Lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective) enough I was able to watch the movie in theaters less than 24 hours after reading the last page of the book and oddly enough, the last day the movie was in major theaters. The movie nailed it visually. It definitely captured the feel of the maze but I wasn't so sure about the Grievers. I pictured these evil animals as more slug-like which admittedly, isn't very evil appearing. I couldn't help it, that's just the picture Dashner painted for me.
Here's my recap of what you won't learn in the movies without reading the books:
Teresa and Thomas are able to communicate telepathically
Gally was mind controlled in the end of the book. He didn't want to kill Thomas, it was against his will.
Gally and Alby both sacrificed themselves to the Grievers to spare the lives of the Gladers. (Gally's intentions are more questionable)
There's of course a lot that's also left out of the movie for obvious reasons of time restraints, but I thought I'd share what I can remember off the top of my head.
Beetlebugs: These are the tiny lizard like creatures with the word WICKED written on them and they spy on everyone.
WICKED: In the book it's WICKED not WICKD like the movie
Ben: Ben doesn't get stung in the middle of the day. He gets stung on one of the runs.
The Serum: The Serum was always there for 'The Changing'. It wasn't introduced via Teresa toward the end as is described in the movie.
The Tower: There's no tower in the book (the one Teresa chucks rocks at boys from). In the book, she knees one of the med-jacks in the crotch to find Thomas.
Thomas: Teresa calls Thomas "Tom". He said when she first called him that, it felt like 'home'. It's a sweet sentiment that I wish would've made its way into the movie.
The building material in the book is wood and not hay/straw like in the movies.
Gally 'remembers' Thomas from the beginning because he was stung and went through The Changing. Gally hates Thomas from the get-go.
They find out that Thomas, Alby, etc are not their real names. They were orphaned early on and basically science experiments from the very beginning. They're named after famous scientists. Alby for Albert Einstein, Thomas for Thomas Edison, Newt for Isaac Newton and then Thomas guesses that Chuck is named after Charles Darwin. My personal guesses are: Gally is named after Galileo and Teresa as Gherty Theresa Corti (only thing I can think of in female) or Tesla. Ben is Benjamin Franklin. The rest I'm not sure.
By the way, I love when authors put in little things like this in a book to get their readers exploring.
The scene where Thomas gets attacked by Ben is really cool in the book and not sure why they did it the way they did. I won't explain it, you'll just have to read it.
One of the biggest changes is the maze and the Grievers entrance. In the book, it's basically a cliff that goes into nothing where it literally looks like it's going off into oblivion and there's a small section that is in the air that you can't see and they jump through. The maze is actually a code that they decipher via letters it forms. There's also no 'slicer' section in the book and you can't climb onto any different levels in the maze. Once they all get through the maze and through the grievers hole, they actually slide through this very long and slick tunnel.
They're taken by a bus (not by helicopter) who then runs over a woman with the Flare. It's pouring rain and not in the middle of the desert. However, I have to give it to the film on this one. The pouring rain wouldn't make sense if half the planet got scorched -- at least not in the first book. I have not read the other two yet so not sure if this gets explained later on.
Great job on the casting - they nailed it, especially with Teresa. Thomas kept talking about her vibrant large blue eyes and am glad they kept that element in casting.
All in all, I give both the book and the movie two thumbs up and can't wait for the rest of the series. (Which I will be happily diving into this weekend.)
T.M. Williams, The Accidental Writer
New movie coming soon this September
from Book 2 - Scorch Trials