The Maze Runner – a world building fail?

Before I get to what this post really is about, let me first state the following for the record: I actually quite enjoy “The Maze Runner” movie franchise.

Now I haven’t read the books, so my knowledge of the Maze Runner world is currently limited to what I have seen on the screen for both The Maze Runner and its sequel, The scorch trials. I did however read up a bit about the story to get insight from people who actually did read the books.

So the first movie was great. A bunch of kids caught in a maze with no idea who they really are or why they are there. There are monsters who haunt the maze and every now and again someone dies. The entire scenario is riddles with questions, but the most important of these is this one question: Why are they in a maze? What is the purpose of it?

The movie plays out, and at the end you learn that they were thrown in there by people who believe them to be special because they carry some sort of cure to a world wide plague… ok…. that’s nice… but still, why were they then put in a maze? Is it possible that there is some form of brain development that you can only get by running in a maze under extreme pressure? Can this special brain development cure a disease? Hmmm, doesn’t seem very plausible, does it?

But wait, then I realize that the maze changed later on in the story, letting the Grievers come into the glade and kill a lot of kids. And there were some cures to the griever poison and stuff, oh and there was one girl. This was all done to accelerate the process of what the maze was built for. The creators were under pressure so they put the kids under more fear and let them run around more, so that their brains can develop faster… wait, what? This does not answer the question, how the hell does running away from Grievers in a maze cure a disease? It still doesn’t make any sense!

The first movie ended leaving me slightly confused, but at least I was looking forward to the second movie where everything will be explained, and finally I will know why they were in that darn maze.

With great anticipation I watched the second movie, and it was… a post apocalyptic zombie movie? Wow, that escalated quickly. How did we go from a “stuck in a maze trying to figure stuff out movie” to a zombie movie? Anyway, that aside, I watched the whole movie to find my answers. Early in the movie the kids realize that they are special because they have a gene that makes them immune to the world wide plague called “the flare”. They also learn that the people holding them are going to kill them in order to harvest their genes to make a cure for the flare. Ah! Finally I understand what is going on, everything has been revealed. So that is why they were in the maze! Wait… what?

If they have a gene, and the gene can be harvested for a cure, why on earth were they thrown in a maze and were terrorized by mechanical monsters? Does running in a maze change your genetic makeup? Last time I checked, the way your brain develops has absolutely no impact on your genetics. So why on earth were they made to run around in a maze? If all of them die in the maze, doesn’t that lead to less special kids who can be harvested for a cure?

It is at this point that the story just goes off in a different direction. Now they are kids surviving in a post apocalyptic dessert plagued by zombies. The questions asked are never addressed, and everything is just assumed to be normal. It almost felt to me like the kind of trick you pull on a baby to get it away from something they should not be playing with, you distract them with something else. I must admit though that the story did great in this aspect: You get thrown with a whole action packed story and the world created is pretty awesome. But I was not distracted in entirety… at the end of the movie, I still wanted to know… why were they thrown in a maze?

I couldn’t let this go after watching The scorch trials. So I spent some time reading up online, obviously I was too dumb to understand the logic behind all of this. But my reading up online lead me to the same results. There was no deeper explanation, nothing happens in the next movie to explain it. That is it.

Where many people are satisfied with something like this, I am not. Not in the least. This can only be called a “world building fail”. I am sorry to say this, but I believe when James Dashner wrote the first book, his main goal was not to build an intricate world that made sense. His only goal was probably to keep the audience captivated by asking them heaps of questions that they wanted answers for. The only problem with this is that it seems he did not really think of the answers himself.

This is a lot like “Lost”, the TV series. In my opinion, Lost was the worst TV series every made in all time. The writers never even tried for one second to let things make sense, their only goal was to keep people guessing and ask more questions. The entire lost is littered with false clues and leads that lead no-where. Oh how the world was taken for a ride on that one!

So in summary: I really enjoyed the Maze runner movies, I loved the worlds that were created on screen, they are pretty awesome. But for all the coolness, I am severely disappointed in the substance behind the story. I am someone who enjoys good lore, good world building, and it is in this area where Maze runner just falls completely off the wagon.

Am I going to watch the next movie? Definitely! But by the third movie I will have readjusted my brain, and I will not try to see a deep substance filled world. Rather, I will watch it in the way you watch “Pacific Rim” or Fast and Furious 17 for that matter. Just switch off your brain and enjoy the ride.


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