The high concept: what if your YA dystopia actually felt more like a utopia? What if, instead of sterile, mechanized conformity or brutal, desperate want, you lived in an idyllic glade whose civilizational contours you had forged yourself? What if your overlords kept you well supplied, but otherwise, left you and your brothers alone? Sure, there's a giant concrete maze holding you in place, and it's full of nasty monsters, but is staying put really so bad? Especially considering the possible alternatives? Heck yes, says handsome newbie Thomas (Dylan O'Brien). Heck no, says big bully Gally (Will Poulter). Squeee, say the cyborg critters in the maze. Everything looks great, from the cast to the setting to the beasties, and the pacing gives the characters room to live and breathe. But director Wes Ball flattens a few emotional dynamics and muffles a few dramatic climaxes, especially at the end, when he has to steer the proceedings toward the inevitable sequel. (2014) — Matthew Lickona
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