The Morning After: Sep. 22, 2014

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

The Maze Runner

The onslaught of young adult adaptations continues unabated with this big screen version of James Dashner’s first in a series of four books titled The Maze Runner.

Deep at the heart of a brutal maze, a band of young men work to survive while sending daily teams into the maze in hopes of finding a way out. When a new arrival begins challenging the status quote, new avenues open, but animosity rises and no one is safe from the wrath of those who would keep them trapped, both within and without.

The story has promise, and there’s plenty of action to titillate young audiences, but the mystery is wound up too tightly at the end and the setup for subsequent films is a bit cheesy. The performances are about as you would expect in a film with dozens of young actors with minimal experience. Dylan O’Brien as the new arrival Thomas and Will Poulter as his chief rival Gally are the best of the bunch, but that’s giving them a bit too much credit. Only two women make an appearance in the film. Kaya Scodelario is as stone-faced and pointless as Kristen Stewart, adopting the same stiff, mouth-gaping performance style that made Stewart popular, but not capable. Oscar nominee Patricia Clarkson is the other and her performance is solid as always, though the material doesn’t give her any room to really stretch.

The effects are adequate and there’s enough engagement with the audience for the film to work as a piece of entertainment. However, as a film intended to motivate and inspire young minds, it lends itself towards machismo more than it does contemplation.

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