Action and strategy never looked so good.
To be honest, I’d heard of the book, knew many loved it, but not been particularly interested in reading it until I saw the movie trailer. Not long after I ran out and purchased it, intent on completing the novel before viewing the movie. Both were better than I had anticipated.
I liked the story of the movie better though. In the novel there were a few convenient aspects to how the boys lived in The Glade that didn’t sit well with me. And each of these had been addressed in the movie, so I guess it ended up making much more sense to me. In contrast, the interpersonal relationships and politics between the characters were much more intense in the book: distrust, accusations of being a spy – this element of the plot was heavily watered down in the film.
The setting of the novel, although epic in itself, was kicked to the curb with the special effects and dynamic layers of the big screen version. The Maze itself came to life with added features not present in the book.
I had a problem with the Grievers: they did not feel as threatening as they could have been, the description kept me dreaming up some bizarre robot wars reject with a gelatinous carapace around the ‘body’ section. These creepy crawlies re-invented on the screen where much more menacing, but still lacked a touch of realism for me. The whole reason of what they were doing there – the purpose for how they looked was lost on me. Animals have evolved and are a certain way because it’s how they live; and that aspect fell short with the Grievers.
One more note about these beasties, is that I prefer the reveal in the movie some much better than the book. The movie built up to use as much impact as possible for their unveiling, whereas in the book you got a glimpse of them far too early.
The storyline is easily predictable, I mean you’re in a maze and you want out… hello! But I was left with so many questions on the world building and what the hell was going on with the story. As the book is first part of a trilogy you don’t get everything tied up in a pretty bow. And this is mirrored in the film.
I can’t say that James Dashner’s style was anything that wowed me, it didn’t blow me out of the water, but then again I wasn’t pulled from the narrative, or re-reading sentences to make sense of the words; so I guess it sat in the middle for me. I did read the entire book in one sitting, so the pace and tension are compelling enough to drive the story forward.
One of my favourite young actors at the moment is Dylan O’Brien, who plays Thomas to perfection. Where in the book I was a little frustrated at times about Thomas’ behaviour, Dylan gave every action the correct motivation and I never once questioned by he behaved the way he did.
In comparing the film to the novel, and as to which I prefer – it urks me to say it’s a tie. Both have equal amounts of redeeming qualities, and ones that didn’t quite hit the mark. Out of my reading and viewing experience so fare this year – both of these rank in my top 10 and I highly recommend you indulge.
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