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The Maze Runner Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by on Dec 22, 2014
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Thomas has lost his memory and “wakes up” trapped in a glade by ginormous walls that lead to a maze no one can escape….until now. Kidzworld reviews The Maze Runner Blu-ray.

By: Lynn Barker

Young director Wes Ball describes The Maze Runner as “Lord of the Flies” meets “Lost”. Okay, a group of trapped survivors build their own flawed society. We can dig that description. Will the relationships, futuristic story and action make you want to add the Blu-ray/DVD to your collection or gift it this holiday season?

The gang is ready to take on the mazeThe gang is ready to take on the maze

Story Goes

Thomas (“Teen Wolf’s” Dylan O’Brien) comes to consciousness in a green glade peopled by a lot of other young guys. He remembers nothing. He tries to run then notices that a ginormous metal wall surrounds the glade on all sides. Leader of the “Gladers”, Gally (Will Poulter) tells him it’s a maze and the guys have been trying to escape for at least three years. Gally sees Thomas as a threat and doesn’t like him but Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) leader Alby (Aml Ameen) and youngest kid Chuck (Blake Cooper) like him fine and sense that he’s a born leader.

Minho shows Thomas the maze mapMinho shows Thomas the maze map

He’s told that “Runners” enter the maze every day to find a way out. They almost never return and creepy creatures called Grievers who live inside the maze, sting them which results in a destructive madness. Thomas is attacked by Griever-mad Ben whom the guys banish into the maze and certain death. Thomas has flashbacks and remembers a strange computer room and a girl he evidently knew there. Minho and Thomas go into the maze, encounter Grievers and bring back Alby. Thomas is made a Runner.

Dylan O'Brien as ThomasDylan O'Brien as Thomas

Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), the first girl to join the group, is brought in. She has no memory but seems to recognize Thomas right away. After Minho shows Thomas a secret model of the entire maze and the fact that it rotates in sequence, the two go back in to find a new path through. The guys do track a new escape route but have to run back to the glade or die. Teresa brought with her a syringe with blue fluid that the gang decides to inject into Alby who is dying from his Griever sting. It works.

Thomas talks to Teresa (Kaya Scodelario)Thomas talks to Teresa (Kaya Scodelario)

For the first time, the doors to the maze stay open at night letting in many Grievers. Many Gladers die fighting them and Thomas, Teresa, Chuck, Newt and others decide this is it! They are going back into the maze to find the escape route or die trying. Will they learn the secret of the Maze and their imprisonment there?

The elevator that brings victims to the GladeThe elevator that brings victims to the Glade

Special Features

Prequel Comic Book – The Blu-ray/DVD set contains a cool comic book with two short stories that pre-date Thomas’s arrival in the Glade. Fun and well-illustrated.

Deleted Scenes- There are quite a few and they add to the story but you can see why they weren’t really needed.

Navigating the Maze: The Making of The Maze Runner – this multi-part “making of” featurette is really complete. Novel author James Dashner raves on about how thrilled he is that young director Wes Ball did such a great job adapting his work to film. Dashner is on set as he joins us in learning about design and construction of the maze and how the guys shot on a real farm surrounded by trees that helped them envision the giant maze wall. 

All the major actors comment on the process and their characters and experiences and we learn why each was cast in his or her, in Kaya’s case, role. The entire gang endured a “camp out” in the farmland that would be the Glade and got soggy in a massive rainstorm along with facing bug and snake attacks that bonded the group, especially Dylan and Will who play enemies in the movie.

Will Poulter as GallyWill Poulter as Gally

CGI work is covered as we see stunt actors in blue from head to toe, portraying the attacking Grievers. It looks hilarious but helps the actors do their work. The blue guys are replaced by CGI Grievers later. Overall, one of the most complete “making of” extras I’ve seen lately.

The Chuck Diaries – All about 12-year-old actor Blake Cooper who plays Chuck. He campaigned like crazy for the role, bugging director Ball on Twitter until he got an audition and nailed it. He becomes the little bro for all the other actors. A cute feature especially if you want to be an actor. You can identify with Blake’s joy!

Gag Reel – No flubbed lines but tons of impromptu dancing on set along with falling, giggling, dropping stuff, Will Poulter running like a girlie-girl, the guys messing up on wires etc.  Provides a good chuckle.

Visual Effects Reels – this featurette goes into more details on the massive amount of computer effects done on the film.. from creation of the elevator, the giant doors (part of which were actually on set), portable blue screen walls, styrofoam blocks, etc. Cool to watch with director Wes Ball’s description since he started in the biz as a visual effects artist. Informative extra.

The huge MazeThe huge Maze

Ruin – the director’s short film that got him the job to direct The Maze Runner. The all CGI short film is really impressive from the post-apocalypse ruins of a big city to the sound and music. We watch a young man struggle to escape from a flying metal menace and drones along vine-covered ancient freeways. You can see why Wes was chosen as director and actually want to see more of the character he created for this.  

Audio Commentary – by director Wes Ball and his co-screenwriter pal T.S. Nowlin is chatty and very informative. It’s like sitting down with two buddies as we learn how they made a movie. Worth a listen after watching the film.

Wrapping Up

With impressive visual effects, a good basic story, good acting and fun action, The Maze Runner is entertaining but, as I said in my initial film review, “the film’s ending isn’t very satisfying and is way more of a “Say what?” than an “Oh, I get it” with a lot of explanations that make zero logical sense (to go into them would create spoilers so I won’t). Just suffice it to say that you might be asking “Well, it they needed to do…blank.. did they really need to create….blank?”… stuff like that”.

Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and Newt (Thomas Brodie/Sangster)Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and Newt (Thomas Brodie/Sangster)

Despite The Maze Runner's “iffy” ending, the film’s sequel The Scorch Trials is now filming in Albuquerque, New Mexico so we will get more movies on the saga of the Runners.  This home entertainment offering (we got the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital combo set) is very complete with some fun and interesting extras. Because of story confusion that might cause “newbies” to scratch their heads, we went 3 stars on the film but this Blu-ray, with a complete array of extras, rates 4.

The Maze Runner Blu-ray Rating:4

The Maze Runner Blu-ray CoverThe Maze Runner Blu-ray Cover

The Maze Runner is now available on Blu-ray + DVD!