The Maze Runner Movie Review

November 14, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Chatterbox, Features


While reading the book and then watching the movie worked well in the case of Gone Girl, it really fell flat in The Maze Runner for me. Although I didn’t particularly love the book, to me the movie really went off track to what the book was about.

Firstly, the book was what I found to be an intelligent read with heavy world building, especially in the form of the slang. These Gladers who live far away from human civilization have learnt to describe words and people in different ways, and this came out in the form of 2 words in the actual movie. I also found the book to be quite clever in the way Thomas solved the secrets of the maze, and the mystery and intricate world building around it.


Unfortunately instead of communicating essentially what I felt was the core part of the book, the movie cut out most of the boring parts or the parts that would take too long to explain, and made it full of action. That’s not a bad thing in any case, but it just felt like the book and the movie were two separate entities which are based off each other.

Want to know why there is a maze? How did they find their way out so easily? Why is there a mysterious girl and what are the secrets of the maze? Well you’ll be left hanging, because the movie felt like such a condensed version of the book that it doesn’t answer any of these questions as all.

Instead of attempting to demonstrate how Thomas solves the maze, his connection with the mysterious girl, or why people go crazy when they’re stung, they just decided to put that in the “too hard basket” and just go with the easy convenient explanation. Everything just felt so darn easy and it was full of loopholes and unexplained answers.


The actors did pretty well and for the most part, all the visuals of the maze captured the dark and foreboding feeling of being trapped in the maze. It was full of action and it was great to see on screen how the Runners had to be really fit to navigate the maze and how scary the Grievers were in person.

The Maze Runner movie is one where you’ll have to leave your brain at the door and not think too much about it. I think those who haven’t read the book (or read it a while ago) would probably enjoy it, because you don’t really know what you’re missing and you’ll see an action movie set in a maze. If you read the book a long time ago and don’t remember the specifics, you can enjoy it as an action movie too. But for me, I just felt like it changed the element of the book and ending up feeling like just another action flick.

Verdict: See it or leave it. 

What did you think of the Maze Runner movie? 

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.


49 responses to “The Maze Runner Movie Review

  1. Joy

    I think the book was better… but I did love the movie, mostly because I left my expectations at home. You are right, the movie was basically action, there wasn't much thinking involved, unlike with the book.

    • Yeah, if you go in prepared to accept that everything is going to be convenient and it's mostly an action flick, you'd probably enjoy it more. I went in thinking it was going to be like the book, but it wasn't. AND YES DYLAN O'BRIEN. I need to watch Teen Wolf!

  2. I've honestly been putting off watching this movie because of the reasons you've mentioned. While I want to see whether the adaptation is decent, I've had a streak of good luck with book-to-movie adapts this year and I don't want to break that haha. It sucks that all the important details are left out for convenience's sake. Those were the parts that made the book what it is. I don't think I will be watching this any time soon…thanks for the honest review Jeann! xx

    • Haha sounds like you're picking and choosing what YA adaptations you are watching, because there were so many out this year! It's like the market is getting saturated and now quality is lower 😛 but then again there were some fantastic ones that were out as well. No problems Joy!

  3. thesepaperhearts

    My sister felt the same way when she watched the movie. I didn't read the book so it was better for me. Seems like this movie is more of an ignorance is bliss type of movie.
    My recent post Review: Earth & Sky

    • Yeah, I think just accepting that it's going to be one of those typical action flicks but with a maze sounds about right.

  4. I have to admit to loving the movie and hating the book. I know a lot of people loved the book, but it just never worked for me. I felt like the explanations that Dashner gave weren't intelligent at all and most didn't make sense. The movie might have contained a lot more action, but that was something I found lacking in the book. I also felt like I got to know the characters in the film but didn't in the book. But, like I said, I didn't like the book. So I can see why someone who liked the book wouldn't enjoy the movie, they pretty much change everything but the most basic plot points.

    • Yeah, to me it felt like a bare bones type of book where they change everything else. So it was more an 'inspired by' movie you know? Actually, I was the same with the characters, I couldn't really get attached to them in the book because I was trying to get around the language and get used to everything. The movie definitely gave them more characterisations. It's weird how both book and movie were completely different!

    • The book was really hard to read wasn't it? It was so different to what I usually read, with a really rich language and world. I think I'd enjoy it more if I hadn't read the book lol.

  5. I liked this movie. I didn't like the book. So that might be why. I liked that it was all action. I did see it in IMAX and sometimes I think I enjoy movies in there more then in a normal theater because it is so in my face what else can I do??? LOL!!!

  6. I still have yet to read and watch Maze Runner, but yeah I feel like most of these movies, if they aren't well made like The Hunger Games, it will mostly focus on the action rather than the explaining part. 😛

    • LOL I guess not every movie can be as awesome as THG but at least it makes us look forward to that one a lot more XD YAY for Mockingjay, I just can't wait!

    • I think it was good that they cut back on it cos it was hard to pick up in the book, but I didn't expect it to be cut back so much you know? Ah wells! Thanks Sharon 🙂

  7. I haven't watched the Maze Runner movie, nor have I read the book. But I have the same kind of relationship with movies based on books as you have, it's really hard for me to watch a movie if I really loved the book, and at the same time, I want to watch it 🙂
    Great review, Jean. I hope you're enjoying your weekend.

    • Thanks Lexxie, it's weird because I didn't particularly love the book, but the movie was a completely different beast y'know? I wish I saw the movie beforehand, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

  8. I actually really liked the movie, although I have to admit that the world building was absolutely terrible, and the entire premise sort of didn't make sense. (Actually a lot of things didn't make much sense). I just liked it more so for the action, and for Dylan O'Brien 😉
    My recent post Sci-Fi Month: Top Sci-fi Reads of 2014

    • Actually the action was pretty cool, but yeah it was just like "What is happening?" I was so lost and I've read the book lol

  9. Kim

    Haven't read this or watched the movie yet. But after your review I think I'm definitely more inclined to read the book first. I think the movie would be fun to watch, especially if I think of it as only being loosely based on the book. However, I like that the book is more clever about figuring it all out. Good review, Jeann! 🙂
    My recent post Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

    • I think you'd still enjoy the movie without reading the book, in fact you'd probably enjoy it more. But I guess I read the book too close to the movie.

  10. cristinasbookreviews

    I skimmed your review because I will cave and eventually will watch it. 🙂

    I wanted to read the book but at the time I felt like I had read similar stories and then I opted not to. However, the trailer looked good but I wasn't drawn to it. Now I'm I'm bummed I didn't see it in the theatre. Oh well…I will just have to wait to see it when it's ON DEMAND. *wink*
    My recent post For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1) by Diana Peterfreund

    • Hehe fair enough, I think it's worth watching if you like action flicks but yeah, it doesn't really resemble the book much.

  11. LilysBookBlog

    I actually didn't read this series (I was advised against it because appearently the last book pissed off so many people since it didn't answer any questions) but decided to give this movie a chance for the hell of it.
    Big mistake. I wasn't a fan. I can certainly see the appeal if you "leave your brain at the door" like you so adequately put it but I just felt it was incredibly silly. I know a lot of people loved it though and most of them were people who had read the book but this one just didn't work for me.

    • Ah, it's good to hear another perspective especially because you hadn't read the book. Whether you'd enjoy it is if you like action flicks I think. I don't think I'd continue with the book series either because I haven't heard good things.

    • I think so Joy, most of my thoughts on it was because I have read the book. I would have probably liked it a bit more if I hadn't you know?

  12. Jillian

    I liked the trailer for this, though I have to admit I haven't read the books yet. I plan to, but AFTER I watch this move lol. Especially after reading this post. From personal experience, watching the movie first helps because when you read the book, it gives you so much more rather than reading the book and having the movie take it all away from you.

    I can't wait to see this movie.

    • Glad to hear you liked the trailer, it was definitely exciting. I do think in this one, you would actually enjoy the movie before the book which is interesting. I hope you enjoy it Jillian!

    • Yeah, I don't think I was too interested either but I wanted to see how it compared to the book. It really does depend if you like those sorts of movies I think. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. For the most part I liked what they did with the movie. I was actually really glad they cut way back on the Glader slang. I don't think that would have worked out as well on screen as in the book. I definitely wish it wasn't so rushed, though. I agree with when you say check your brain at the door and don't think too hard…especially about the ending.
    My recent post The Friday 56: The Silent Deal by Levi Stack

    • Yeah, I don't think the slang would have worked out well in the movie, but I was surprised with just how stripped down it was. It did feel so rushed and left so many of us going huh?

  14. Eugenia

    I went into the movie without reading the book, so I didn't have any preconceived ideas of what was meant to happen and ended up quite enjoying it. While I could sense that there was more to the story which they didn't include, it certainly delivered on the action. I'm looking forward to watching the second one after being left with such a cliffhanger!
    My recent post Dual Reviews: Dangerous Girls / Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed the movie, it definitely had a MAJOR cliffhanger and was really action oriented. I think I'd probably watch the movie for the rest of the series but not read the book given the disappointment (plus they were hard to get through).

  15. I think I enjoyed this a heck of a lot more BECAUSE I haven't read the books. It's why I think I liked TMI movie too, because I'd never read the books so had nothing to compare it to.

    So, I have to say, I really liked this one. Then again, Dylan O'Brien is in it. So, you know, OF COURSE I LIKED IT

    • Oh my gosh that TMI was terrible *shudders*. Even though I had read the book and it wasn't my favourite the movie was still bad for me lol. Hey, glad to hear you liked it though! Perhaps if I watched Teen Wolf I would appreciate him more 😉

  16. loonytuney

    Aww that's a shame. I really loved the movie! I thought they made better choices than were in the book, but that's just me (and I didn't particularly like the book so that's probably why). But I thought the graphics were fantastic as well 🙂

    • I think in the movie there wasn't enough time to develop some things, I kind of felt like everything was rushed and "let's just go with it" you know? The graphics were definitely great and I loved seeing the maze and the grievers come to life.
      My recent post The Maze Runner Movie Review

  17. karawrites15

    Hmm. I'm not so sure about this one, actually. I didn't have a chance to see it at the movies, though I know I'll probably end up renting it on DVD when it's out. 🙂 I wasn't a huge fan of the book, so I don't think this will be a "disappointment" for me, you know? Because I had very "meh" feelings for the book, I think I'll enjoy this, at the very least. Great review! 😀
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