Lionsgate/Summit will be reminding everyone that teenagers are important people too when Divergent hits theaters this weekend, and our own Brent will selflessly be falling on that grenade. Chances are he’ll be wishing that movie was something more akin to Fox’s The Maze Runner, which just released its gigantic first trailer and became the first flick in this new wave of young adult adaptations to actually tickle my fancy and earn my anticipation. It could be that my love of mazes is blinding me on this one, but I’m fine with pretending this is going to be the best movie of the summer…that isn’t Godzilla, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Jupiter Ascending, and Step Up All In. Wait, why are you all looking at me like that?
Adapted from the best-selling 2009 James Dashner novel, The Maze Runner is the debut feature from director Wes Ball, and is Fox’s attempt to cash in on the crowd that the Hunger Games franchise tractor-beamed into theaters. But this one adheres closer to the things that make for a great sci-fi thriller. We’ve got an interesting and seemingly unexplainable central location, characters that are malleable to the plot, mysterious creatures, and a really huge fucking stone maze surrounding all of it. I dare say Avatar would have been a more interesting movie to me if Pandora was surrounded by a looming concrete labyrinth.
The film stars Dylan O’Brien as Thomas, a teen who wakes up on an elevator that takes him to the Glades, a grassy expanse that sits in the middle of the titular maze, through which mysterious beasts wander and hunt for prey. Thomas has no idea of who or where he is, but there is a large group of other boys who teach him the way of the land, or at least what they can glean from it. All of a sudden, the boys’ “normal” way of life is disrupted by the appearance of a girl (Kaya Scodelario) on the elevator. Can she unlock the mysteries to escaping the maze, or is the entire thing hopeless? How amazing would it be if everyone died at the end of this? Talk about a refreshing take on the subject matter. But no, I’m assuming our leads make it home okay.
The trailer is filled with cool, admittedly samey imagery, such as the giant maze walls and the hints at what lurks around after nightfall. We see characters going through some rough things and a lot of fate questioning. And below is the most interesting image to me, as it shows off a possible diagram of the entire maze surrounding the Glades. Not sure how this would have all been mapped, but it’s a stunning thing to consider. If people are still having trouble understanding why Stonehenge exists, this maze would blow their minds.
You can walk aimlessly among the walls when The Maze Runner elevates into theaters on September 19. Check out the recently released poster, which isn’t daunting in the least.