Bill Watterson’s Dave Made a Maze will receive comparisons to Dan Harmon’s TV show Community. Their quirky in similar ways, the characters are alike, and there’s an uncanny connection to pop culture in both. Most importantly, just like in Harmon’s cult hit, Dave Made a Maze is a story of misfits trying to define their self-worth while “adulting” by way of their own arrested development.
Dave (Nick Thune) is in a creative and existential rut. On the spur of the moment, he constructs a maze out of various cardboard. His girlfriend Annie (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) arrives home to find a cumbersome contraption spewing smoke and whirring in her living room. Dave – echoing from inside the fort – is lost, and he asks Annie to stay outside the brittle building for that very reason – and, because it isn’t finished. Without questioning much, Annie – with the help of a documentary crew and Dave’s best friend – prepares to enter Dave’s maze-slash-labyrinth.
Though the themes are relatable and the fantastical premise is outrageous, this comic-adventure still requires movie goers to suspend disbelief. The maze, of course, is plagued with booby traps that “kill” some of Dave’s rescue team. I’m apprehensive to definitively label any of the deaths in Dave Made a Maze as critical. People die, but they bleed…yarn and…streamers? But then, their bodies are a feast for the minotaur that stalks inside the maze. The causalities are never seen again, except if the maze requires their identity to trick others…? Or, something like that. It’s funny, but there are too many loose ends.
Then again, it’s best not to question too much of what goes on in Dave Made a Maze. The logic purposely functions at an adolescent level to develop a wild imagination for the audience to dive deep into. However, it’s also a film that gets too wrapped up in its own whimsical fantasy by investing more in silly jokes and set design than the heart of the the story.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie