The Maze Runner

Musical Score By: John Paesano

Distributed by: Sony Classical

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Based on the 2009 James Dashner novel (the first in a trilogy), The Maze Runner stars Dylan O'Brien as Thomas, a sixteen year old who wakes up inside a rusty old elevator that opens upon a grassy clearing known as The Glade.  Unable to remember anything, he relies on those within The Glade to educate him on the ways of the land.  Apparently, one cannot leave The Glade without entering The Maze, an ever-changing labyrinth filled with monsters known as Grievers.  Will Thomas be able to figure out the mystery of The Maze?  He'd better figure it out one survives the maze after nightfall.

                The musical score of The Maze Runner was created by American composer John Paesano.  Initially studying classical music at the Conservatoire of Paris, Paesano traveled to Boston in 1996 to study musical composition and film scoring at the Berklee College of Music.  After graduating and working in minor roles with some of the music industry's composing giants (John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Hans Zimmer, to name a few), Paesano went solo and eventually won an Annie Award in 2012 for his musical score for Dreamworks Dragons: Riders of Berks.  Since then, Paesano has created musical score for a number of television and movie projects such as Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas, Crisis, When the Game Stands Tall and more.

                The musical score of The Maze Runner was designed to reflect not only the mystery behind the maze and its inhabitants, but the mystery surrounding Thomas, who can't remember who he is at first.  As his memories return, his theme becomes that much more complex.  The first track, The Maze Runner, brings us into the mystery of the maze, offering an orchestral sound mixed with electronic noise.  As we meet Thomas, and in tracks thereafter, we are offered lighter bits of score, featuring piano and acoustic guitar solos backed by a lighter orchestral sound.

                But every venture into the maze becomes more and more complex, the action expressed via loud percussion and horns, the mystery, fear and trepidation expressed by fast paced strings.  As the maze changes, electronic sound is introduced.  And the Grievers...based on their theme, the creepy high orchestral tones, mixed with the fast-paced strings, low registry horns, well, I wouldn't want to have to meet them anytime soon.  Especially since the theme makes the hair on the back of my neck rise.

                The Maze Runner Soundtrack is one of those albums that start off slow and stark, but matures as each track passes, becoming more complex and dramatic until you reach the climax and ultimate revelation.  The score is dramatic enough that it tells a very complete story without the visuals, making this a great stand alone album and, not having seen the movie, I can only image that Paesano has perfectly captured the fear, action, intensity and extreme emotion that encompasses surviving the maze.


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