‘Maze Runner’ film adaptation ensnares avid fans

Kim Rooney

Senior Jaclyn Shin plans to finish reading the book before seeing her favorite characters in the theater opening weekend.

By Kim Rooney, Production Editor

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Mazes are good for the mind and a fun way to pass the time unless you live in the world of James Dashner’s The Maze Runner where the Glade sits as the only safe haven in an enormous maze filled with lethal monsters.

All the while, the amnesiac teenage boys who inhabit it are challenged to survive and solve the puzzle to escape.

Ever since a film adaptation was announced in January 2011, fans have been awaiting the movie of the New York Times and USA Today bestseller The Maze Runner, which premiered Sept. 19.

“I like how the whole environment is interesting and unique and how the author puts in a lot of detail,” senior Jaclyn Shin said. “The characters all have really different personalities—some contrast each other and make them stand out.”

The book, which was published in October 2007, has received awards such as the 2009 Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Books and the ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and many fans agree that the book is deserving of its praise.

“I liked how you don’t know everything from the get-go,” senior Kelly Ervin said. “There’s no exposition or anything. You just jump in.”

However, some wish that the book kept up its pace after the initial introductions to the characters and setting.

“For a while, at the beginning, it was really exciting, but it didn’t seem to be going anywhere for a while,” said Ervin, who plans on finishing the book before the movie comes out. “I didn’t have time to read it, so I stopped.”

Others took issue with the characterization. With a male-dominated cast of characters, Teresa, the one female in the Glade, stands out, but some do not find much substance beyond her singular position.

“I didn’t really like the girl,” sophomore Sara Miller said. “It felt like she was just there.”

Nonetheless, with two trailers, a movie clip and an exclusive featurette with the author, fans have a general idea of the Glade and its inhabitants. Teen Wolf star Dylan O’Brien is starring as the protagonist Thomas; Will Poulter (The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader) is playing Gally; Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Game of Thrones) is playing Newt, and Kaya Scodelario (Skins) is starring as Teresa.

“From what I’ve seen so far, they seemed to portray their characters well,” Shin said. “I think it could work well, especially because they’re all recognized—most of them were familiar faces.”

The trailers are stirring up excitement in fans, giving them glimpses of the Glade and the surrounding maze. However, the monstrous Grievers, whose stingers kill or induce painful flashbacks, have been purposefully excluded to increase fear and suspense for the audience. While some find that the trailers reveal the Maze as they imagined it, others are surprised by its intensity.

“In my head, when I pictured things, everything was really cutesy and cartoony, and when I saw the trailer, I was like ‘whoa,’” Ervin said.

After disappointments from other book-to-movie adaptations, fans are concerned about The Maze Runner’s ability to stay true to its source while maintaining the necessary pacing of a big-screen movie.

“I hope they don’t stray away from the original story,” Shin said. “It’s unfair to the readers.”

On the other hand, some are excited about the attention The Maze Runner has been receiving since the movie was announced.

“I really like [book-to-movie adaptations] because anything that generates interest in a book is a good thing,” Media Specialist Paige Pagley said.

While many prefer books to movies, fans are still optimistic about The Maze Runner and hold out hope for the movie.

“I always have hope that they do it justice,” Pagley said. “Sometimes they do it better than others.”