The Maze Runner (Movie Vs Book): 4 Pleasant Surprises & 4 Utter Disappointments

This was one of the harder Movie Vs Book articles to write. If you have read the book, you will find yourself loving and hating some of the things they changed in the movie. When it ends, you are left feeling really conflicted about whether or not you truly liked the movie.

On one hand the movie is just downright amazing, but on the other hand you are dumbfounded that they could leave out certain pieces from the book. The gist of the story was not lost though. Chuck is still one of the best characters, Minho was casted perfectly, and most of the cast (Thomas, Alby, and Newt) are way sexier than fans could have asked for.

After a lot of thought, these are the 4 ways the movie awesomely portrayed the story in the book, and 4 things that left you upset that they missed the mark.

Be forewarned that SPOILERS are definitely ahead for both the book and the movie.

Let’s start with 4 Pleasant Surprises:

4. The Grievers & Griever Massacre


Though the Grievers are a little different then depicted in the book, they definitely did NOT disappoint.

In the book, the Grievers are almost sluggish in the sense that they don’t have a distinct front or back, they are super slimy, and they curl up and roll to move quickly. When they move it sounds like knives are being dragged across the floor and their screeches give you immediate goose bumps.

In the movie, they almost take on more of a gooey spider form where they do have a distinct face, their legs are like knife-like gadgets, and their screams are spot on. Whenever you see a Griever in the movie, you are terrified and because of that, they hit the mark.

The real pleasant surprise though was the “Griever Massacre” that happened the first night the doors stayed open in the movie. The Grievers get into the Glade and they take out half of the Gladers including Alby. Then the remaining Gladers have to decide if they want to fight, go to the Griever Hole, and try to escape, or if they should stick around another night to see if it happens again.

Now in the book, the first night that the doors don’t close, the grievers come in but only take one Glader and that Glader was Gally. But before Gally gets taken, he tells them that they will be taking one person a night until there is no one left. The massacre makes more sense because you know that W.I.C.K.E.D has triggered the end and they would want to speed up the process to take out anyone who they think doesn’t make the cut.

3. Alby Was The First Ever


In the book, there were others before Alby who were leaders. Just so happens that Thomas was the first Greenbean to come through the box when Alby became leader. Before it was a guy named Nick, but he died. Because Alby is the newest leader you can sense throughout the story that the other Keepers don’t necessarily respect him. This is probably because they have been there just a couple months less than Alby and know just as much as he does.

In the movie, Newt tells Thomas that Alby was the first one to come out of the box, which means that for one month he was in the Glade all by himself. This is a great twist because everyone genuinely respects Ably for enduring this isolation. He was there all by himself and had no one to relate to. There was no one to tell him that it was okay he didn’t remember anything and no one to tell him what those screeches were at night outside the walls. When you learn that Alby was the first one, you grow a whole new respect for him and realize he is the true leader of the Glade.

2. Minho Helped


When Alby and Minho venture out into the maze, Alby gets stung by a Griever. Minho drags him back to the Glade but just misses the doors before they close. Right before they closed though, Thomas made his way out to help them and be stuck in the maze with them.

Now in the book, Minho basically says he did all he could do and it is every man for himself, then books it (no pun intended). Thomas made sure Alby had the safest hiding place tangled in vines off the maze floor, then lured the grievers away from him.

In the Movie, Minho stuck around and helped get Alby to higher ground. Granted he ran off before they got him out of harm’s way, but he still decided to help Thomas until he heard a Griever coming. This made more sense because why would Minho put so much effort into trying to drag Alby to safety, get stuck in the maze, and then immediately book it once the doors closed? The movie version is more true to Minho’s character.

1. Tracking Device Leads Them To Exit


This idea was a new twist on how they could find a way out of the maze.

In the movie, after Thomas cleverly killed a griever, a group of guys went back to observe the body. Inside the griever they found a device that had the number 7 on it. Since they killed the Griever in section seven of the maze, they went back there and the device eventually leads them to “The Griever Hole.” It ended up being an exit and they used the code from the sections to get out. Since it was Section 7 of the maze the code then started with a 7.

You will find the book version in the utter disappointments section.

Now lets take a look at 4 things that were pretty disappointing:

4. What Do You Mean No One Had Been Stung Before Thomas Arrived?


How did the Grievers even get their name if no one had been stung? How did they know that the Grievers sting you? How do they know about “The Changing” then? Too many questions are left unanswered with them saying no one had been stung before Thomas arrived. In the book, even though the Grievers come out at night it doesn’t mean that they never come out during the day. It is very hard to believe that in all the two years they were there that no one had gotten stung yet.

In the movie “The Changing” is what happens when someone gets stung by a Griever and they get all zombie looking and then start to remember certain things about their past.

In the book “The Changing” happened after someone gets the Serum and they remember their past and why they are there. The serum makes their skin all bubbly and it is a very painful process. They call it “The Changing” because after they remember everything it’s never the same. It makes more sense for them to remember everything after “The Changing” because the reason why the Grievers got their name is because they’re infected are grieving and in pain.

3. The Cliff


In the book, the maze has a dead end that is a Cliff that falls off into the abyss.

As cool as the “Thomas killed a Griever scene” was in the movie, it was ten times cooler in the book. In the movie, Thomas is running away from a Griever until Minho grabs him and leads him down a passage way that is about to close. Thomas strategically waits for the Griever to catch up with him as the passage way gets smaller and smaller. Although it eventually allows Thomas to barely escape, it squishes the Griever and kills him.

In the book, there are a bunch of Grievers chasing him and he charges at them and at the last second dodges them and they roll past him. Minho sees it and has the Grievers chase them to the Cliff where they dodge them again and the Grievers fall off the edge.

It turns out that just over the Cliff there is an invisible hole that is “The Griever Hole” and that is how they exit the maze in the book.

2. All The Plans Of The Maze To Figure Out The Code.


As said before, in the movie they found a device inside a Grievers head that lead them to “The Griever Hole” for their escape.

Now in the book it was completely different. All the maps that the runners drew throughout the years spelled out words when organized correctly. Thomas had this great idea that the maps for each day from each section of the maze had to be laid over each other to portray a message. It turns out that the maze formed a letter each day. And every night when the walls moved, it formed into another letter. It ended up spelling out 6 words:

  • PUSH

Now these words ended up being the code words that they had to enter to get through the exit in the griever hole, but the “PUSH” word wasn’t part of the code. It ended up being an action that they had to push the red button to end the maze. This was really cool because it added a layer or intelligence to the whole thing. If the guys didn’t venture out into the maze everyday to try and figure it out and find an exit then what was all that work for. The book version gives it more of an intellectual level of thinking.

 1. No Telepathy


It is unbelievable that the telepathy between Theresa and Thomas was not in the movie! The fact that Thomas and Theresa were telepathic made them such key characters to this story. Not only did they help make the maze, but they helped with the experiment up until they were put in the maze themselves. The telepathy was a distinct way of showing that Theresa and Thomas are a bit more special than the other people currently in the maze. The telepathy was also really important in the book because while she was in her coma she still remembered a lot and used her telepathy to tell Thomas what she remembered; like how Wicked is good, that she triggered the end, and how they know each other.

It seemed like the movie was trying to be as “realistic” as possible. Almost making viewers think this situation could actually happen. But the telepathy plays such a huge part in the rest of the books, and it’s also is such a cool feature to the story. It’s a huge disappointment that this was not in the movie. Hopefully they figure out a way for them to miraculously have telepathy in the second movie.


Honorary Pleasant Surprise:

Nobody Had Been Stung

Though viewers might be conflicted with this idea at first, it actually seems like W.I.C.K.E.D. would try to avoid getting The Gladers stung at all cost because they didn’t want their memory to come back. This would then make sense that no one would get stung until Thomas’s arrival when they wanted to speed things up and keep the test’s momentum going.

 Honorary Disappointment:

 Beatle Blades

Throughout the Glade and Maze, there are Beatle Blades. Beatle Blades are these metal insect looking cameras that let the Gladers know that they were being watched. It was clever because they moved around and allowed W.I.C.K.E.D. to get close ups on what is going on inside the Glade and to help the Grievers find people who are out in the Maze.

These were nowhere to be found in the movie. Right at the end of the movie when they are in W.I.C.K.E.D.’s lab do viewers finally see a surveillance screen and someone mentions; “Oh, so they have been watching us.”

Want to get caught up? Buy The Maze Runner Series Here!

8 thoughts on “The Maze Runner (Movie Vs Book): 4 Pleasant Surprises & 4 Utter Disappointments”

  1. Was it not Telepathy that is shown after Thomas stung himself with the Griever’s needle? Whenever he was remembering everything it went to a scene where Thomas and Teresa were on either sides of a computer panel, made eye contact and you hear Thomas say “Teresa, why are we doing this?”. That might be a hint that there will be more telepathy in the second movie or it was the directors way to secretly incorporate it into the movie.

    1. Xavier, I entirely AGREE. They hinted it in the flashback, and I think they added it to insure that if they really needed to, they would add it to the second movie. I think they used it as a backup, and if they didn’t, the movie might be destroyed, if somehow the telepathy plays a huge role in later books. Of course, I have read the books, but if they absolutely needed to incorporate the telepathy in later movies, they have the chance by making this hint in the first movie.
      Also, coming soon is the new “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” in theatres this year. I hope they add the telepathy in %100 in this movie.

  2. One thing I think the movie did way better and that was touched upon here is the characterization. I do admit I watched the movie before I read the book, so I was kind of disappointed when I read the book and no one was really likeable except Newt. In the movie I liked everyone, even Gally, but in the book everyone was kind of an ass. In the movies I really like Alby a lot, and reading the books was a big disappointment in his regard.

    1. I have to disagree. I have also read the books after the first movie, and the characters are very likable in the books. I actually like the books 2 to 1.

  3. If the movie had not been based off a book I would have loved it. However, it was SO different from the book it seems like the director stole the idea of the maze then made up his own story. HOPING The Scorch Trials movie represents the book.

  4. I just have one question about the movie. Why is it, that in the book the acronym is W.I.C.K.E.D, but is only W.C.K.D in the movie? This seems like such an easy thing to get right… why spell it wrong? What could possibly be the motive behind this error?

  5. It annoyed me that it rained. Also they kept saying 3 years when it was 2 (why change it), the W.C.K.D thing is stupid as WICKED is an acronym. Leaving out the cliff/griever hole was a huge mistake also.

  6. The movie was great the book a-maze-ing The movie left out the great parts of the book but yet of was good
    The moral: Books are always better than the movies

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *