It’s the basic storyline behind “The Hunger Games” franchise and “The Giver,” and shadings of it can be seen in the recent hit “Divergent.”
“The Maze Runner,” based on the young adult novel by James Dashner, also rails against statism, the kind that keeps a populace satisfied but clamps down on freedom.
The new film follows a teen named Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) who finds himself in a land where an unseen body provides the bare necessities. A titanic set of walls surrounds Thomas and his fellow villagers, fellow young males who learned to survive by not asking questions or breaking the rules. Yet Thomas isn’t satisfied with the status quo. He yearns for freedom, even if it means risking his life to earn it.
“The Hunger Games” serves up a downtrodden populace clad in muted shades of gray. They’re kept at bay by the titular games while the government ensures no signs of rebellion erupt.
“The Giver” describes a “Nanny State” gone wild, with a Council of Elders dictating the jobs people take, the moods they experience and even their mating choices.
While “The Giver” under-achieved at the box office, the other films in this genre sparked big-ticket franchises. We’ll soon see if “The Maze Runner” does the same. If so, will movie goers make any connections between these dystopian nightmares and modern headlines?
DID YOU KNOW: James Dashner says both “The Lord of the Flies” and “Ender’s Game” influenced the creation of “The Maze Runner.”