Quick Hit: Goofy, inventive, and watchable but not quite developed enough.
I first found out about this movie from a Cracked article from an inventive series about upcoming movies. I frankly had to watch a movie that included an entire maze built inside a man’s apartment that entirely consists of cardboard – including cardboard monsters. And while I was admittedly fairly entertained by the movie, I was also left wanting more in the terms of development and characterization – as those on film twitter are known to say, a great idea does not a great movie make. But in my opinion, decent movies can be made on that idea.
Dave Made A Maze has the simplest of plots – and I’ve literally described most of it already. The gist is that he gets lost in the maze and has to have his friends and girlfriend come and rescue him. What follows is what you expect, plus a few more goodies – one of Dave’s friends is making a documentary about the experience in the maze, and oh by the way, the monsters are real. What follows is some really inventive storytelling in visual fashion – the characters often encounter things that change them from live action to different things, like paper bags – that is extremely fun and amusing. There’re also some visual reminders of films like Raiders of the Lost Arc, which is a nice shout out to influences.
What’s unfortunate is that a film that gets all the visuals right gets a lot of other things wrong.
For instance, the story doesn’t really have much going for it. Dave is the epitome of all slackers in that he “gets really excited about things but doesn’t ever finish”. And while we’ve all felt that way about particular tasks (I for one feel that way with my fiction writing), giving him a complete blank slate doesn’t work here, because I think very few of us think we could build this maze in our apartment. A blank slate works because you can project your entire being on them, and Dave is only part of that. As far as the other characters, they’re pretty much all clichés, which limits their effectiveness as well.
I also think the film as a few asides, that, while entertaining, don’t really serve much purpose to the overall story. I like the discussion between Dave and Annie where they continue to switch costumes and looks, but I can’t say I really understand the reason for the conversation. Particularly when a movie runs a scant eighty minutes, you need to capitalize on each moment.
The music in this movie never really raises above fine, though, as mentioned previously, most of the effects are pretty good for what they are.
So when all things are considered, Dave Made a Maze is an amusing film that could have been better with more characterization. I’m going to give it a “C” grade.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"