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Sunday, September 21, 2014

James Dashner's book The Maze Runner tops box office sales



Movie Title:  Maze Runner
PG-13, 1 hour 54 minutes

Grade:  B+

In a Nutshell:   I’m so thrilled for my friend, James Dashner, who is the author of The Maze Runner Series (Maze Runner) that this film is based on!  I first met him when he and I were doing a book signing at the same store.  People were lined up to meet him, of course, while I sat and twiddled my thumbs.  Ha ha  I have a hard time picturing my books being made into movies since I write non-fiction!

He and I are both members of the same author group and he is considered our resident rock star.  I’m so happy that his book was made into a movie!  That’s so unbelievably awesome!  Here is a picture of the two of us at a recent writers’ conference:

The story is a bit of a dystopian Lord of the Flies , as teenage boys try to figure out how they ended up on the edge of a killer maze and who put them there.  I haven’t had time to read the book, so I’m not sure what we might be missing in this suspenseful flick, but James said that the “tone and spirit and vision” of what he wrote in the book is totally in the movie.

Uplifting theme: 
Learning how to work for the benefit of others, these teenage boys also demonstrate courage, sacrifice, and teamwork.

Things I liked:
  • As a mother of 4 sons, I thought it was funny and definitely true-to-life that the boys generally spent their evenings wrestling each other.  Ha ha
  • The scary noises reminded me of the creepy alien sounds in Tom Cruise's movie The War of the Worlds .
  • The movie starts fast and throws us into the action without dilly-dallying..  I always like that!
  • All of the young actors did a great job, although I wish there had been time for more character development.

Things I didn’t like:
  • There were some plot holes that bugged me.  I’m assuming the sequel will fill them?
  • The runners wore these leathered, strappy things, but I couldn’t see what purpose they served.  They weren’t quite backpacks, so what were they for?
  • They say “W.K.D. is good.”  Really?  No, I don’t want kids thinking wicked is good.
  • Despite being trapped in a camping set-up, the boys are able to concoct some form of alcohol for partying at night.

Interesting lines:
  • “You’re not like the others; you’re curious.”  - Alby
  • “It’s not a prison; it’s a test.”  - Thomas
  • “You’ll get your name in a day or two.  That’s one thing they let us keep.”  - Alby
  • “You don’t get it.  We’re already dead.” – Minho

Funny lines:
  • “I don’t know if he’s brave or stupid.  Whatever it is, we need more of it.”  - Minho
  • (SPOILER ALERT)   “Seriously?”  - Jeff, when he sees the “Exit” sign.
  • “I thought you had the chops to be a runner…until you face-planted.” – Newt

Fun Facts about James Dashner:
  • He and I both graduated from BYU.  He majored in accounting, which seems like such a boring profession for such a creative guy!  He said “My heart bleeds for accountants.  I don’t miss it even in the slightest, tiniest, little bit.”  Ha ha
  • James is a movie buff like me and confessed that movies like “Star Wars”, Alien , The Terminator and The Matrix influenced his writing.  It was the maze in the movie The Shining that got him thinking about writing his own novel that would feature one.
  • Now that his book has been turned into a movie, he’s interested in screenwriting.  Go James!

Tips for parents:   Mild profanity, deaths, scary noises, violence.  Small children may be frightened by the “grievers” (robotic monstors that chase and kill the “gladers”).