Book vs Movie: The Maze Runner

Usually for me the books are better than the movies, they just take longer to get through. The movie can’t include all the little details that make the book shine, it’s also tough to accurately portray character motivations onscreen without inner monologues, making it tougher to relate to characters. Sometimes there can be problems with casting and the actor doesn’t stay true with the character in the books. Movie soundtracks can really improve the story telling and it’s something that the books will never have. Surprisingly The Maze Runner movie adaption is a decent film, especially considering I was let down by the book.

The Maze Runner, well, it’s a teen dystopian story and the first of a trilogy, sound familiar? Hunger Games may have been the most successful of the genre, but it’s spawned countless other movie adaptions. If reading the book has taught me anything it’s that anyone can write a teen novel, they just have to sludge through their own garbage writing. Throw in a fantasy setting and some romance, boom, a best selling teen fiction novel. Also I swear every teen fiction protagonist believes they aren’t special but they totally are.
Teen fiction writers – “I can connect with teens, the world doesn’t understand me either!”
Maybe I should just stop reading teen fiction books, but then they should stop making movie adaptions of them.

The trailer got me interested and I rented the movie when it came out on Redbox. Luckily my teenage brother already owned the novel, allowing me access to both. I liked the idea of The Maze Runner, but it’s executed so poorly. The author didn’t creatively use his best idea when telling this story; the mysterious giant labyrinth unfortunately turns out to be pretty dull. The reason why the maze was created and mysteries about the maze is a huge let down.

The kids sent into the maze don’t have memories of their past, but memories can be regained by getting stabbed by the monsters aka grievers that patrol the maze. There’s no real connection here and it doesn’t make any sense, but it pushes the “plot” forward at times. No one’s able to survive a night trapped in the maze, but the protagonist’s innovative idea that allows him to live is to jump to the side at the last second to avoid being eaten…he was the first person to come up with this idea…I wish I were making this up. In the movie he tricks the griever monster into getting crushed by the changing maze walls, more believable.

The ending was just as unsatisfying as the story. They escape the maze to reveal…a bigger maze. This didn’t happen, but that’d be an awesome ending. Somehow surviving the maze means these kids are smart enough to save humanity…just…*sigh*. The book ending felt rushed, maybe the editor convinced the author to turn this book into a trilogy and we’re left with this very unsatisfying ending.

I don’t think the movie went into this expecting a sequel, but it got one. There’s a good chance this book trilogy gets turned into a 4-part movie trilogy, but I don’t think I’ll continue with the series. You don’t have to read the books to understand the movie and I’d rather watch the movie again than read the book.
maze runner
Positive Movie Details

Filmed at a great location, visually stimulating and great cinematography.
Decent soundtrack.
I think every character wears a Henley shirt, even the girl. I didn’t even know girls wore Henleys. I bought a Henley shirt after watching this movie.

There’s more humor in the books, but there were some interactions I liked.
Teresa – “Don’t let go.”
Chuck – “No shit.”

Teresa – “Why are you listening to him? He’s crazy!”
Gally – “Could you shut up?”
It’s a pretty dark movie, so I liked these moments.
Differences between Movie and Book side by side

Thomas and Theresa can’t read each other’s mind.
There are no insect cameras, meaning they don’t know they’re being watched.
The characters are named after famous people in history, but it’s not revealed in the movie. That’s one of the few things I liked about the book.
The code isn’t as stupid or overly complicated in the movie, they keep it simple.

There’s no griever hole they escape through, there’s a hole, but it’s not as mysterious or over a cliff. In the books they have 2 years and don’t really examine the one interesting point in the maze, but the main character Thomas figures out the secret in a couple hours. In the movie they need a to kill a griever to get to the secret room.

Serums aren’t readily available to save kids after being stabbed by grievers and Teresa brings 2 with her because it only needs to be used 2 times in the movie. The lost memories were a poorly worked out idea to begin with and having a limited supply of the serum to revive their memories after being stabbed by a monster is a tad better in the movies.

grieverIt was tough to see the grievers, but it’s probably better visually. They looked okay from what I saw of them, but I couldn’t see them half the time. Whoever did the special effects had a pretty unreasonable task and did a pretty good job, it’s just tough to tell what’s happening most the time. They make a big deal about being stung by a griever in broad daylight, but they can only enter the maze during the day and that’s where the monsters are…that’s literally the only time they can get stung.

Events happen a lot faster in the movie, most movies speed things up, but things flowed easier.

The maze was collapsing and there was countdown to doomsday in the books, that’s why everyone was so desperate to escape. In the movies the main character wants to escape since he first arrives. Besides grievers coming to kill everyone in the middle of the night, there shouldn’t have been a reason to leave. They had no memories of their past lives and they’re basically in paradise, why did they want to leave again?

I don’t remember Chuck giving Thomas something to give his parents in the books, but the movie heavily hints at his death in this scene. “Hey in case I die can you give this thing to my parents?”
I wonder if he’ll die!
Actually the whole scene is pretty funny.
Chuck – “My parents gave it to me.”
Thomas – “You remember your parents?”
Chuck – “No.”
What?! They have no memories of their past life… Their half-assed attempt to give Chuck more screen time and trigger an emotional response when he dies doesn’t work.

Dropping a single girl into a horde of savage teenage boys seems like a recipe for disaster, especially when she’s gorgeous, but nothing bad happens. I’m a little upset Teresa only seems to be inserted in the books as a love interest for the main character. maze runner gal

I hate made up slang or words in books, but it didn’t seem too bad here.
Greenie = newbie.
Shuck = Fuck.
Shank = Fuck
They got that PG 13 rating easily.

The main character is the isn’t special but is special cliché.
Alby – “You’re not like the others.“
Creator – “You may not realize but you’re all very important.”
Just incase we forgot this was based on a teen novel.

The movie handles the introduction of the creators group, the people that put them in the maze, a little more efficiently by having the masterminds behind the maze die in a video recording instead of faking a coup d’état and having them killed in front of the gang. I mean it’s ridiculous both ways, but the ending is a little less hectic and confusing in the movie.

Gally somehow gets to the exit that the group just risked their lives to get to, and getting there had 3 concrete maze walls close behind them after they escape. Gally didn’t want to leave the maze, but somehow escapes right after them. The creators in the books somehow controlled him, but in the movie he just sort of goes crazy because… “I belong to the maze.” This line doesn’t help explain why he left the maze or why he’s shooting them…

Actor and Character Reaction
maze running cast
The acting is pretty…well it’s not the best.

Newt’s role is beefed up a bit and I never realized how good of an actor Jojen Reed Newt was until I saw this movie, next to everyone else he’s amazing.

I don’t know if the main character was the best actor but he was certainly the best looking in the group. The main character and the girl are much more attractive than everyone else and that’s how they take charge so quickly. Thomas is forgettable. He’s good enough that I can’t really complain about him though, but I can’t remember any point I liked about him either.

Teresa doesn’t get too much screen time, she’s not really developed in the books either, but the actress couldn’t really hide her British accent. I don’t know why she tried using an American accent, but if she had more speaking lines it may have been noticeable. She was in the good version of Skins.

Alby did okay with the few lines he was given, but his role diminished drastically from the books. As a result, Alby doesn’t go as crazy and is more likable in the movie. The actor did an okay job for the 5 lines he got, most of them featured in the trailer, but if I didn’t read the books I wouldn’t have remembered his name.

Minho isn’t as cool in the movie, in the books he’s kind of a douche in the beginning, but the actor couldn’t capture that sarcastic but likable book persona. Newt’s a better friend to Thomas than Minho in the movie.

The actor that plays Gally isn’t a convincing jerk. He was the kid in Meet the Millers, a painfully bad movie but has Jennifer Aniston as a stripper in it, so maybe I just can’t see him as a jerk. Gally’s reasoning for disliking Thomas is more understandable in the movies. In the books Gally is an asshole for the sake of being an asshole, a staple character in most teen books, but it’s a little easier to relate to Gally in the movies. He doesn’t want to leave the maze because he sees it as his new home and blames Thomas for the negative changes.

Chuck’s role is diminished and it was slightly more surprising he died in the books. The kid playing Chuck isn’t the best, but then again the main character is just as bad.

Overall Rating

If people want to watch the movie with you, sure, but if they liked the book they may be 14.
Decent watch.
Movie > Book
maze runner 2


One thought on “Book vs Movie: The Maze Runner

  1. I love strong visuals, and the vast majority of people are visual learners. And this might be why people prefer movies over books. Though movies do not go over with the little details, and mostly on the suspense and thrill part. I do like books. Sometimes books are better than the one being made into films (like this for example: ). Great books that are turned into horrible movies.

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