The Maze Runner
Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”
This is the kind of movie that doesn't make a lick of sense on a logical level, falling apart as soon as you begin to question the world it has built, but that works surprisingly well on an emotional level if you give up and go with the flow. Unlike most other dystopian YA adaptations, it drops the romantic subplot and drops the moodiness, and goes more or less straight for the adventure. It's refreshingly brisk, and uncompromising about the life-or-death stakes and how outmatched the kid heroes are, and it's fun in spite of the grim stakes. Even if some of the green-screen effects look fake, the movie does surprisingly well with a tiny budget ($34 million is paltry for building a giant fantasy world like this), and the art design team deserves a ton of credit for making do.
To its detriment, the film does possess an annoying naysaying villain whose sole function is to doubt the hero loudly at every turn in spite of all evidence, and it frustratingly perpetuates a sense of teenaged-hero exceptionalism. (Like Ender's Game, I get annoyed with stories where the teen hero is The Special One because it plays into the cocksure arrogance of some teens who semi-secretly believe they're better than everyone else; I was one of those jerks.) But I was too entertained to complain too much about these or various other nitpicks. Go in with lowered expectations and a little more suspension of disbelief than usual and you'll enjoy it just fine.
Scott Hardie: more by Scott