The Maze Runner (2014)
Music By John Paesano Soundtrack Album Review
Sony Classical/21 Tracks/Disc Time: 63:08
“The Maze Runner” which is based on the hit series of novels by James Dashner stars MTV’s Teen Wolf Dylan O’Brien as Thomas who is deposited in a community of boys after his memory is erased, soon learning they’re all trapped in a maze that will require him to join forces with fellow “runners” for a shot at escape as well as the true purpose of the maze and what is waiting on the other side of it. The film was a hit at the box office which is part of a trilogy of books that will no doubt be adapted by Twentieth Century-Fox into two more sequels starting next year.
The film is an entertaining and engaging film with a young cast, a composer was needed to help guide the terrific visuals as well as drive the storyline of these survivors. Composer John Paesano turned out to be the right choice for the film despite being an unknown. I had heard of him via the direct to digital film, “S.W.A.T: Firefight” which featured a sensational score by him that was very fresh and original. This score is fresh and original reminds me an awful lot of the work of Graeme Revell (a composer sorely missed and deserves more work) and his brilliant score to the 1994 film, “No Escape” starring Ray Liotta. That score featured alot of percussion, brass, aggressive material and moments of tenderness at times that give the film the heart and soul it needed to go along with the brutal violence. Here Paesano also recreates some of that in his score and that’s why this score really works so well especially after seeing the film and listening to the score again.
From start to finish, this pretty much is a very aggressive score starting with the moody strains of the “The Maze Runner”, with it’s electronics and percussion. There are moments of mystery throughout behind the story of the Maze and it’s prisoners which are well scored by Paesano. These are highlighted by the tracks “Why Am I Here?”, “Into The Maze”, “Why Are We Different?”, “Trapped”, “WCKD Is Good”, “Thomas Remembers”, Goodbye” and “WCKD Lab” that feature some tense stringwork backed by percussion and harsh brass at times causes even more tension. Then the L.A. Musicians (who should be commended here) really go on a blazing run of great musicianship with the action material featured throughout the score in the tracks “Greiver!”, “Section 7”, “Griever Attack”, and “Final Fight” which really gives the percussion and horn section a real dynamic workout. “Finale” ends the score on a somewhat upbeat note with some light being brought out into the score for a brief moment as the film ends on a positive note or so it seems. Elegaic strings with a sweeping quality back up the surprise (which I won’t spoil) for you occurs at the end of the film.
Sony Classical’s album features a healthy amount of John Paesano’s score and features a great recording from the L.A. recording sessions. There’s plenty to like here over its’ hour plus running time which is plenty for a score such as this. Paesano’s music is very solid and balanced and shows off here in this fine album which caught me by surprise. “The Maze Runner” isn’t a perfect score, but a very solid one that works and thrills like it is supposed to do. Thumbs up.