SPOILER // SPOILER // SPOILER // SPOILER // SPOILER // SPOILERI had to read the book first, which took awhile to convince myself to do. But I did so, eventually, and then dived headlong into the movie literally a couple of hours later.
Which turned out to be a completely different experience from the book, with ton of key elements changed. Before we move on to the in-depth study of said changes, I'd like to put something out there:
I LOVED THE MOVIE. Way more than I did the book, even though I will mostly complain about said changes. I felt tension, excitement and fear. I was swallowed into this crazed world. I enjoyed all the characters. I thought it looked stunningly haunting and there wasn't a dull moment.
All of which are things I didn't exactly feel in the book (as you can read in my review).
In order to talk about the changes I'm going to use the (-)(+)(-/+) system, in which (-) equals a change I thought wasn't good, (+) a change I loved and (-/+) a change that was kind of... both?
But I also felt like his entire reason for existing was changed. In the book, he was this leader coming undone by knowledge. This person who was meant to lead everyone out... until he believed there wasn't an "out" worth living in. His was one of the more interesting and powerful character transformations, right up to his suicide. In the movie, he stays noble and righteous until the very end, and his "rule" is given to Gally instead.
(-/+) Gally - I don't know about you, but I found Gally's character so much more relate-able in the movie! I mean, Gally was really okay. Not the douche he is in the book. He even saves Thomas a few times. But much like Alby, this also means his entire reason for existing in the plot to begin with changes drastically.
At the end, they had to (unsuccessfully try to) backtrack from the changes to make the whole ending sequence believable...
(+) NEWT - I am weirdly attracted to Thomas Brodie-Sangster who plays Newt and completely in love with his voice. Especially cause it was not the voice I expected would come out of this baby-faced, eternally-young, possibly-an-actual-living-vampire-who-solved-the-issue-of-sunlight actor. Anyways, while I loved Newt in the book, the combination of Newt and Thomas Brodie made him five times better.
(-) Newt and Alby's friendship - in the book, one of my favorite parts was how much it was apparent that Newt and Alby were best friends, and to a degree Minho as well. But especially Newt and Alby's friendship (even though I read more into it on Newt's side, but this just may be my imagination). In the movie, Newt and Alby aren't often seen together and are missing that connection that I loved so much in the book.
(-) Theresa: in the book, Theresa is a key element. She remembers important bits. She gives Thomas clues. She is smarter and more collected than she is in the movie--which is ridiculous considering the movie introduced her (awake) much earlier than the book, and yet she feels like such an empty character because the important things she brings to the table (like the memory fragments) are given to Thomas instead.
Also, I wish she'd call him Tom like in the book. It brought intimacy to the relationship between these two.
(-) The Cure and the lack of One at a time plotline - in the movie, Theresa brings the cure to the Glade. Before it, everyone who went through the Changing turned psychotic and there was no escaping it. This change leads to some problems: first, there is no established "they get some of their memories back after the changing" thing, which in turn makes it harder to understand Thomas's choice to prick himself.
It also makes it impossible for Gally to be stung prior to Thomas's arrival and to know all those things that made him paranoid and eventually come back with the "They're going to pick you off one at a time". Which was, in the book, one of the more nerve-wrecking, horrifying situations that I would have personally loved to see in the move.
Also, it was the reason Gally's character changed so much.
(-) No telepathy - I'm basing this point on the assumption this part is important in the next books, which I have not yet read. But I mean; it is the reason Theresa and Thomas are supposedly different than the rest. In the movie, their connection is really brittle down to... nothing.
(-) Solving the maze: this is probably the point I'm most sour about. In the book - the "solution to the maze" ends up relaying on the intelligence of the Gladers and not their physical abilities. It is something that has always been right in front of them, but none of them ever think outside the box long enough to figure it out. Even Thomas had to get a clue from Theresa in order to "solve it".
In the movie, it ends up being summed up to WICKED allowing them to escape by opening the new section to the maze all of the sudden and the door is just... right... there. Sure they had to kill a Griever to get the "key" but it all relays on luck, coincidence and the mercy of their captors. A big no-no for me.
(-) Thomas: Ah, yes. The main character who loses a lot of the knowledge he gains in the book in order for all of it to be shared through the scientists of WICKED instead. What is the point of that?
(+/-) The scientists: the good - they share way more info at the end! I felt like the people watching the movie would actually understand a lot more about the past of this dystopian world than those reading the book.
BUT... they were "dead" when the Gladers came into the labs. What is the point to this change? It makes the whole premise of we didn't figure out it was a ploy and they're alive a lot less believable. In the book it was absolute mayhem. The kids had just seen everyone murdered in front of their eyes. The killers are urging them to hurry, asking if they're alright. They are forced to run, etc etc etc.
In the movie though? It's all calm and quiet for long enough for someone to notice a rising chest or check for pulse for god's sake! How am I supposed to believe this shit?
(+) ACTION - Yes, all-caps. I mean, the book kind of bored me. I felt it was really dull (partly because of the narration) and was kind of meh about it. But the movie version had a ton of action and something was always happening.
(+) Fast paced - it's not boom.... boom.... boom.... like the book. It's boomboombooomboomboom.
(+) Fear factor - I got scared y'all!
That's it! While I realize there are a lot of (-), I stand by what I said in the beginning - I enjoyed the movie far more than I did the book!