Maze Runner: The Book Was Better
At this point in the history of Young Adult film adaptations of books it seems like a cliché to say that the movie doesn’t even come close to the quality of the book. That being said, it seems like a cliché because it has been proven true time and time again. James Dashner’s The Maze Runner is no exception to this time-tested rule, it is leaps and bounds more gripping than Wes Ball’s movie adaptation. As a director Ball does a good job with what he is given, and the movie would be very good, but only if I had not read the book first. The challenges of timeline and continuity that Ball has to face while making the adaptation are not easy ones to deal with, not to mention that the book is almost four-hundred pages long and the movie has a runtime of just one hour and fifty-three minutes.
In most cases any movie over ninety minutes is considered ‘long enough’ by movie critics and consumers, but in this case, it doesn’t allow for nearly enough tension or character development. Ball was given the task of developing a completely new world for the movie to take place in, a world that Dashner had four-hundred pages to flush out, and at the end of the day there just simply wasn’t enough time in the movie to answer all the necessary question. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy the movie adaptation, I actually liked it quite a bit. The acting for the most part is very well done, and the character development-considering the condensed timeline- is enough to at least make the audience feel for the Gladers.
I think that Dylan O’Brian portrayed an excellent Thomas, and Will Poulter actually turned Gally into what some people may consider an almost likable character. Ki Hong Lee, who played Minho also put on a commanding performance that lines up very well with Minho character in the book and being my favorite character in the book I was fully prepared to hate the way he was portrayed in the movie, and pleasantly surprised when Lee proved me otherwise. Not all of the acting was as well done as the previously mentioned three characters.
Kaya Scodelario who played Teressa in the Movie, was not given the best script to work with and I think she did the best with what she got, but simply put, Teressa in the movie is essentially a nothing character.
Sure, she comes with the serum for the grievers, she’s the first girl, and she has some very limited plot control, but Scodelario has nothing close to the emotional presence that Teressa has in the book. This is really too bad, because Teressa and Thomas’s love connection in the book is so tangible and develops slowly over the course of the book as she is a much more actively involved character. By the end of the book Teressa was one of the characters I was rooting for most, however, in the movie I found myself wishing that they had just worked around having her in the film at all. The Gladers as a whole have a very different presence in the book than in the adaptation, more bluntly put, the Gladers in the book are straight up mean and horrible to Thomas at the start of the novel. They bully and tease Thomas, alienate him, and inflict physical violence on him, and all for a significant amount of time after he is taken from the box, this is not the case in the movie. Not only does Thomas’s first day include a celebratory bond-fire/ party,
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