It’s rare when a reader finds the movie of an adapted book better than the original printed text version. Normally us readers read the book first before settling down with a bowl of popcorn and watching what could be a really great book come to life in front of our eyes. And normally, in these cases, the movie is often disliked and put in the category of not being anything like the book. Or it might be liked if we separate the idea of the movie apparently having originated from a book. A lot of the time the question of “did they even read the book?” is brought to mind.
However, something strange happened for me.
First, I watched the movie before I had even cracked the spine of the novel. I loved it the first time I watched it – the suspense, mystery and adventure of the entire film had me captured throughout the whole way. But then I read the book. I thought my view on the movie might change once I had read the book, once I had noticed all of the flaws which the directors and the writers of the script had failed to include or had warped so badly that it was almost unrecognisable. But this wasn’t the case. For once, I had found a movie which had been adapted from a book to be better. Gasp! Shock! The horror!!
The Maze Runner by James Dashner follows the protagonist, Thomas who finds himself deposited into an area which is surrounded by towering walls and no way of escaping. Children and teenagers have been forced to live in these situations for three years with any hope of ever escaping dwindling. But suddenly Thomas becomes the second last one to arrive and no one knows why. The moment Thomas finds himself in this new environment, with no memories of his former life or even about himself (aside from his name), he already knows that he’s meant to an exit of what is called the maze and the Glade. And with his arrival, everything begins to change with the Glade and in some ways, many things go wrong as soon as Thomas arrives in the maze.
In a way, the Maze Runner is fairly similar to the Hunger Games in that they are put in a situation which is like the arena from the Hunger Games and forced to live and survive on their own. The only thing missing is that it’s not a game determined to kill children straight up. Death, though, is certainly included in the Maze Runner.
One of the problems I had with the book was the dialogue spoken by most of the characters. I found it sort of hard to read and this made it slightly hard for me to connect to the characters. The dialogue was fairly hostile and a little bit stagnant. I found this to be a result of the characters and their personalities and how they all seemed to be angry, all of the time.
Thomas was also another issue of mine. In the book, he is a bit of a whiner and complains a lot. From the moment Thomas arrives in the maze, he complains about his situations, the people he’s with and pretty much everything else in between. In the movie, however, he puts more of a brave face on which makes his character a little bit more tolerable. Also it’s Dylan O’Brien…. hello…
James Dashner also manages to bring another element into the story – a really unexpected element. He incorporates the ability of telepathy which forms between Thomas and the new girl, Teresa. While this is an interesting twist, I wonder what place it has within the book, aside from being another way in which Thomas and Teresa can communicate. For me, the telepathy addition is slightly out of place and weird. It doesn’t quite fit with the rest of the book and it’s themes.
One thing the movie had which completely captured me was the suspense and the anticipation of answers. From the moment the movie begins, we’re wondering where the character is, what’s happening and who he is. And then once he’s found his way into the Glade, the next question is his name. Constantly throughout the movie, questions are raised. But they don’t answer them straight away which I love. Whereas, with the book, you read about Thomas having a question which is never really given much room to expand and become something which the reader is just dying to know the answer of. The book only gives about a page or so before the answer is revealed and then the rest of the story progresses.
For me, one of the reasons why I found the movie to be better was because some things were easier to imagine. For example, the Grievers and the exit route to escape the maze. In the book, we learn about the Griever Hole which is a hole which is invisible to the naked eye but is somehow still there, floating in suspense, in mid-air. But the movie presents the exit route in the form of numbers, connected to the Grievers themselves, which match up to doors which lead the way out. The Griever Hole within the book was hard to imagine and picture inside my head. How am I meant to imagine something that is there when the characters themselves can’t entirely see it?
One thing which definitely made the entire book better alone was the character Newt. I loved him in the book and loved him in the movie, particularly his accent! Just his presence made up for the whiny character of Thomas.
This book definitely got better as it progressed, as the adventure increased and more suspension and anticipation was added. Overall, I would give this book 3 out of 5 stars.It wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t love it either.
I think my english brain kicked in… This is what school does to you!