The Maze Runner is a simple story – albeit, resting on a pretty absurd premise, but I’m OK with that. After all. I thought the cube was modestly good and that film lacked a premise altogether. At least one that exists outside of the cube.
The basic idea is that kids are trapped in this maze that shifts every night and contains horrifying monsters. No one knows why they’re there, and no one knows anything about their past.
All they know is that kids keep showing up once a month and they have sufficient supplies and electricity to get by. They’ve been there two years now and everyone is disappointed that they don’t know much more now than the first kids did when they showed up. What’s worse – the maze walls move at night, leading the kids to believe that there is something to be learned from tracking and mapping these changes every night. (This is the work of the Maze Runners – lots of other kids just hang out in the center ‘glade’ supporting the runners and keeping everyone alive)
In terms of plot, this is not very different from The Cube. People show up in a strange place. Another maze, this time made up of 14′ x 14′ cubes each with an exit in the center to another neighboring cube. Every once in a while these cubes move as well, leading the people to believe that there is something to be learned from the pattern of the movements. Huh. That sounds familiar.
In both films, there is a code that takes some ingenuity to decipher.
Because the victims of The Cube are adults, they very openly do not rust one another and are worried about how they can work together to solve the mystery and escape.
The victims of The Maze Runner are kids, so they are constantly thinking only of themselves and keep secrets when it would be better to work together, etc.
Perhaps there’s no reason to think that the age of the victims makes any difference. They’re all reverting to a state of nature: nasty, brutish, and short. I suppose that means that each film is as much Lord of the Flies as the other.
The thing that does stand out to me is how popular the genre of adolescent dystopian films is becoming.
The Maze Runner
The Giver (I don’t know anything about this one)
It’s like our kids don’t trust us! Have we not been good stewards of their world?!