Man, what is up with teens and dystopian futures? Nearly all the YA adaptations we've seen lately take place in a dark world where kids live under the totalitarian rule. The new trailer for The Maze Runner seems to fortify that worldview, with the young protagonist thrust into a world not of his own making, where he must survive with only the help of his new, mysterious friends and his own wits. Unlike The Giver, however, he doesn't have wise old Jeff Bridges to help him out.
This is actually a pretty great trailer, building the suspense and mystery and leading into some diverse, well-shot action sequences. Obviously there's someone out there posing a menace, but also there's the maze itself, which offers the illusion of escape. Late in the trailer, the money shot seems to be the whole environment rising and re-shaping itself as if it were a giant machine, or even if it had a mind of its own. There are some shades of the recent horror film The Signal, which also trapped its attractive young stars in some sort of nightmarish thought experiment.
James Dashner wrote the books this is based on, and yes it's a trilogy, because obviously. Penning the screenplay for this adaptation is Noah Oppenheim, who was recently poached for the Divergent series, as if these guys weren't already all stealing from each other. Interesting that this looks like a lower budgeted offering, since the director is effects-guy Wes Ball, making his feature-length directorial debut. Visually, the colors look a bit drab, befitting a post-apocalyptic thriller. But the CGI and action sequences look strong from here, and maybe the greens and browns of the setting pop on the big screen moreso than they do on your computer at home.
The lead is Dylan O'Brien, who plays the amnesiac Thomas. He's basically a newcomer, his most significant experience coming from Teen Wolf on MTV. The actors surrounding him have a bit more credits to their name, however. Will Poulter is everywhere lately, having stolen We're The Millers, and he's got a number of big movies coming, like Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's The Revenant. Thomas Brodie-Sangster found his biggest role as a child actor in Love, Actually, and has since showed up in Nanny McPhee and Game of Thrones. And the gorgeous Kaya Scodelario is a veteran of the BBC's Skins, and has previously shown up in Clash of The Titans and The Truth About Emanuel. She's most heartbreaking, however, in the recent adaptation of Wuthering Heights, a must-see for any Bronte enthusiast. The Maze Runner opens September 19th, though this being the UK trailer, they list the release date of October 24th. Oh, you Brits!