First Hit: Possibilities existed but were wasted in a poorly written script with a lack of background to give the story context.
I get why the pre-teens and teenagers in the audience clapped at the end of the showing I attended. There was enough there that would appeal to a younger audience.
Young attractive actors, fighting against an unknown master, fear of the unknown, and kids their age being left to fend for themselves. There was a “Lord of the Flies” sense about it, yet where Lord focused on change and how it happens, here we have little substance and even less character development.
However, what I really struggled with was context. Even at the end when you get some context, and there wasn’t enough good information that would make me want to see the sequel (pointedly announced by the storyline). There is little information to make this story intellectually interesting and it doesn’t develop much in the way of curiosity.
There are moments where I could have been attentive but it faded away as lightweight fare with a weak script. From a filming standpoint, it also could have been more interesting by giving more in-depth views of the square area they lived in and I would have enjoyed more maze scenes where the boys were figuring out the maze.
Dylan O’Brien (as Thomas) was a reasonable main character but the script and story wasn’t there for development. Aml Ameen (as Alby) was the leader of this community because he was the first person sent to the area and as such commanded respect. He carried this load fairly well. Ki Hong Lee (as a runner) was OK, but again I think the story line was too weak to support good acting. Blake Cooper (as the youngish Chuck) was one of the better characters in the entire film – there was a realness to him that made it work. Thomas Brodie-Sangster (as Newt) was good, but again more could have been done to create a character. Will Poulter (as Gally) was the most dynamic person in the film but his role was predictable. Lastly, Kaya Scodelario (as Teresa) - the only girl, had a limited role and was OK. She brought some fun to the film at her arrival. Noah Oppenheim and Grant Pierce Myers wrote this poorly conceived and executed script. Wes Ball did a poor job of directing this poorly imagined film.
Overall: It was bored most of the time although there were moments of interest when the maze was featured.