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September 19th, 2014

Movie Review - The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

Starring: Dylan O'Brien, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Will Poulter, Kaya Scodelario, Dexter Darden, Chris Sheffield, Patricia Clarkson, and more.

Directed by: Wes Ball Screenplay by: Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, and T.S. Nowlin Based on the Novel by: James Dashner. Cinematography by: Enrique Chediak Music by: John Paesano

Premise: A young man's first recollections are waking on a rising elevator and being greeted by a bunch of eager boys. He doesn't remember who he is, but the rest tell him not to worry - they don't remember who they are either. Their home is the Glade. And surrounding it are giant walls with only one way out. The way leading to the Maze. And in three years, they've yet to find a way out of it. (Rated PG-13)


1)  Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Dylan O'Brien does a fantastic job as the terrified and later curious newcomer to the Glade. Aml Ameen had great presence as the Glade's leader Alby. Ki Hong Lee was a lot of fun as well in his role as Minho. Kaya Scodelario brought a nice bit of zest to the all male Glade. Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Blake Cooper added a lot of heart with their great performances. And kudos to Will Poulter, who played Gally, a bad guy who really wasn't a bad guy, just protecting the tribe in his own way. Nice change from the typical bully. Well done!

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: Sound is the first effect used, sound and darkness - and it was a great intro into the film, grabbing the audience immediately and shooting directly into the story without making us wait.

The maze itself is super cool. From the giant walls, to the closing, creaking giant doors, to the moving walls. As if that weren't enough, there's the huge cyborg spiders who hunt the hallways of the maze at night - super creepy.

Loved, loved, loved the scan and alarm sequence and the consequences thereof. Especially the giant panels breaking the concrete and rising upwards. Major thumbs up guys!

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I knew nothing about the movie before seeing it, aside from what I'd seen on previews, so can't say how faithful it is to the books. But I totally loved the way they went about it.

The movie begins immediately - grinding sounds amidst darkness, then a sliver of light as you realize there's a boy puking in a mesh elevator as it rise upwards. It instantly captures the audience's' attention. And as Thomas comes to learn of his situation, we, too, get to learn about the Glade and those living there.

I personally thought the plot had a good pace, giving us enough info to get us involved, and enough things happenings to keep it moving and highly interesting. The use of Thomas's weird dreams to show hints of things not yet remembered did much to intrigue.

Lots of ingenuity and plenty of surprises. Just when you think it's done, they throw out one more punch. And the punch after that one is even more unexpected. And this left the audience with even more questions and the promise of future trouble.  I think they did themselves a disservice by not adding a teaser to the credits! (Yes, "The Scorch Trials" (Book 2) is already in production. Sweet!)

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Maze running, climbing, leaping, squeezing through quickly tightening spaces - lots of physical stuff. Add in crazed cyborg spiders and you get frenzied running, bodies flying through the air, and combat. Oh yeah!

5) Locations/Cinematography: The place chosen as to represent the walled in glade was perfect. The cinematography did a great job in making the walls of the maze seem immense and the size of the entire thing daunting. The whole shifting view for the sequence for the section 7 alarm was almost mind blowing.

And the final view of the the entirety of the maze at the end - priceless!

Conclusion: "The Maze Runner" is totally worth going to see. It has cool effects, a mystery premise, and unexpected surprises. Looking forward to the next one!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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