The great casting? All the little things they changed? The overall creepy feel of the movie? The extreme scary factor of the Grievers?
It’s hard to determine whether or not I liked this movie. Objectively, it was alright. As compared to the book, they were miles apart. I was so excited that this might actually be a great movie adaptation because Dashner himself loved it. I, however, was somewhat disappointed with all the little bits that were altered to make way for a more Hollywood-esque version of a completely brilliant and complex book.
Okay, so let me first tell you what I did love about it. The casting was amazing. Dylan O’Brien was a great pick for Thomas. I really felt like he was connecting with that character and becoming him. His curiosity, running, and logic were dead on for how I pictured Thomas. Will Poulter, who I have loved since he performed in The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, was an absolute standout. Gally is a royal jackass with underlying fears and doubts and I couldn’t look away whenever Poulter was on the screen. Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Blake Cooper were also fantastic as Minho, Newt, and Chuck respectively. Although Chuck was a little younger than I pictured.
The set was phenomenal. You truly got the sense of being trapped in the maze with them. The huge, towering walls with the bright green space in the center was dead on. Not to mention the pan out at the end, spectacular. The Grievers weren’t quite what I imagined but just as horrifying as they made me feel while reading the book. Part beast, part machine, and every bit hide-behind-your-hands-while-they-are-near.
The only casting I didn’t care for was Kaya Scodelario as Teresa. It’s not that she did a poor job, she was actually pretty good, but something about the character felt off with her in the role. Maybe as we see more of her in the next films, my opinion will change.
There were a bunch of little things in the movie that had been altered that you would only notice if you’ve read the book and some of them really bothered me. Only having one doorway, WCKD abbreviation, the plot line with Gally at the end, and the interactions between Thomas and Teresa. I think as a movie, it was good, entertaining, heart-pounding, jaw-dropping, and intense. But I liked the progression of the book better. It felt like they had to simplify it too much in order to appeal to the masses. They explained some underlining themes too openly and didn’t leave enough mystery.
Overall, I’d say it only achieves 3 stars. I hope the next one is better.