Honest Trailer for The Maze Runner Skewers YA Adaptation Cliches
Screen Junkies took on the anemic YA adaptation The Maze Runner, and the results are wickedly hilarious:
The primary complaint, and it's a good one, is that The Maze Runner was an entirely generic adaptation that followed all the YA genre cliches to a tee. Dylan O'Brien is a whitebread, generically handsome man (playing a boy) who looks just like The Giver's Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scoledario is a slightly waify yet "tough-looking" female lead who looks suspiciously like Twilight's Kristen Stewart, Patricia Clarkson is a white-clad, scenery-chewing villainess a la Kate Winslet in Divergent and Meryl Streep in The Giver, and Chuck is the adorable and innocent child who is killed off in order to provide motivation for and "depth" to the protagonist, much like Rue in The Hunger Games, and the entire plot hinges on the teenage protagonists being "special" in some borderline metaphysical way, similar to- every single YA franchise ever.
As Screen Junkies said, the only thing missing is the obligatory love triangle. One would think this is a positive thing, and it is on its own, but unfortunately the love triangle is replaced by the implicit assertion that women don't matter very much at all. All of the Gladers (ugh, we'll get to the names in a minute) are male, except for Teresa, who "adds so little to the plot, she could be replaced by a house plant." I'm sure the filmmakers thought they were being progressive by not sexualizing the character, and to some extent that's true, but the answer isn't to pretend that sexuality doesn't exist. The boys are uninterested in Teresa to an unrealistic extent, which may be better than turning her into solely a sexual object, but is still bad writing. If one girl was stranded with thirty boys, then sexuality would definitely be an issue in some way, and as long as she was humanized and shown to have agency, it wouldn't have been sexist. But, on the other hand, the writers clearly weren't interested in humanizing her or affording her with agency, so they probably would have handled a storyline involving romance or sexuality terribly anyway.
And then there's the naming. As we said in our original review of The Maze Runner, naming things is not world-building, and capitalizing banal English words like "Blades," "Glade," "Grievers," and most egregiously, "Changing," is the dumbest method of "naming" known to man. I mean seriously, they named a plague caused by a solar flare "The Flare." Why even bother??
-"One good actor"
-LOVED the reference to Will Poulter's "resting bitch face." Perfect.
-("Seriously, that guys eyebrows are so distracting! Is he surprised? Confused? Angry? WHAT IS YOUR FACE DUDE?!")