Is ‘The Maze Runner’ Surprisingly Not Bad? (And 24 Other Urgent Questions)
This weekend, you now have a choice: You can continue to solve your favorite maze puzzles in the privacy of your own home or you can watch a movie about mazes. No matter how you break it down, this is a very exciting and difficult decision. Hopefully, that decision will become a little easier after we answer every question that you could possibly have about ‘The Maze Runner.’
Q: Is this movie about corn?
A: No, you’re thinking of maize.
Q: So there’s no corn in ‘The Maze Runner’?
A: It looks like there might be some corn – our heroes do grow their own food – but it’s unrelated to the title of the movie.
Q: Is the hero’s name Johnny Maze?
A: No, the hero is named Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), though we really don’t learn his last name, so it’s possible that his name is Thomas Maze.
Q: How do we meet Thomas Maze?
A: We meet Thomas as he wakes up in a freight elevator, with no memory, on his way up to a plot of land called The Glade.
Q: The Glade sounds nice.
A: It is kind of nice! And the group of all males who live on The Glade seem relatively happy, although they’re trapped there.
Q: There’s no way out?
A: Well, there is a highly complex series of mazes that surround The Glade. The fellas think there may be a way out through the maze, though, after three years, no one has found a way out.
Q: How has no one found a way out?
A: The maze is very large and it changes every night.
Q: Why is there a large maze?
Q: Seriously, this seems very elaborate. Who has the time or money to build a gigantic, ever-changing maze?
Q: Do all the boys want to leave The Glade?
A: Most of the boys, including their leader, Alby (Aml Ameen), do seem to want to find a way out. Every day a team of “maze runners” explore the maze looking for a way out.
Q: Can the “maze runners” stay in the maze indefinitely?
A: No. Every night, the door to the maze closes and creatures called Grievers patrol the maze. No One Has Ever Survived A Night In The Maze! (We are told this many times over the first 45 minutes of ‘The Maze Runner.’)
Q: Are the Grievers nice? They sound nice.
A: The Grievers are not nice.
Q: Do the Grievers at least grieve for the people they kill?
A: It’s possible that, when not on camera, the Grievers take some time for quiet reflection, but there’s so specific evidence.
Q: I want a Griever as a pet.
Q: Maybe it would be best just to live on The Glade and not mess with the maze?
A: That’s the idea that Gally (Will Poulter) has, and he’s kind of mean about his opinion and tends to shove people who disagree with him. But, all of this changes when Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) shows up at The Glade.
Q: Who is Teresa?
A: Teresa is the first female to be sent up to The Glade and, according to the note she has with her, the last person who will ever be sent up. (Up until this point, a new person and fresh supplies were sent up to The Glade once a month.) It’s at this point the rules about the maze seem to change.
Q: How do the rules change?
A: The doors to the maze stop closing and the Grievers become a lot more prolific and aggressive.
Q: If the group would have taken my advice and befriended the Grievers, perhaps making them pets, maybe this wouldn’t have happened?
A: It all makes sense to me.
Q: My grandfather likes mazes, will he like ‘The Maze Runner'?
A: Probably not. I’m not sure your grandfather is the target demographic, no matter how much he likes mazes.
Q: Will I like ‘The Maze Runner’?
A: You know … it’s not bad!
Q: If you’re going to be blurbed in this weekend’s commercials for ‘The Maze Runner,’ what quote do you hope is used?
A: “It’s not bad!” – Mike Ryan, ScreenCrush.com
Q: How is that possible?
A: The acting is pretty OK and the maze has enough mysteries surrounding it that I was genuinely curious to find out more about it – which is really all you can ask from a movie like this.
Q: Is there a lot of action in ‘The Maze Runner’?
A: ‘The Maze Runner’ is surprisingly on the low end of the action scale – and I mean this as a compliment. The first act of the movie actually takes its time to set up this world that Thomas Maze has been literally thrust into. There is action, mostly involving the aforementioned Grievers, but the story seems to focus on the mystery of the maze, which is smart.
Q: Does ‘The Maze Runner’ set up a sequel?
A: Yes. To be fair, this movie is based on a trilogy of books.
Q: is there any chance the sequel will be titled ‘The Maize Runner’?
A: No. And stop.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ. He is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.