Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

mazerunner2_2015_poster
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)
  • Time: 131 min
  • Genre: Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
  • Director: Wes Ball
  • Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kaya Scodelario

Storyline:

In this next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.

2 reviews

  • There are two ways movie reviews on book adaptations turn out: the critic compares the film to the book or the critic watches the film without reading (or having intentions of) the source material. When it comes to Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, second book in the five-book Maze Runner series by James Dashner, I must admit I did not read the source material. This does not mean I am not open to the idea but only and only if you tell me the book is better than the film in any degree because I am absolutely in love with the film series thus far.

    In this next chapter of the epic “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD’s vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.

    Last year’s The Maze Runner was by far my favorite book series adaption (not counting graphic novels guys) that came out last year which says a lot if you were high on Insurgent, Mockingly – Part One, or even The Giver. The Hunger Games started a huge trend of adapting book series that takes place in a dystopia setting. All four films that I mentioned above all follow this trend and The Maze Runner takes a different approach than the other films. You see, with the other films you know exactly what is happening because, well, they tell you. That isn’t really the case for The Maze Runner as the mystery is unveiling in the same pace for the audience and the characters. One might not be found of this as it is easy to get confused with all the hysteria but I am one that appreciates being kept on my toes and The Scorch Trials does not fail at that. This does not mean it does not have its negative effects but we will touch on that later.

    The setting of the film helps director Wes Ball as it should. Ball went from a director constricted into a small space within the maze for the first film to basically having the whole abandoned world as his playground. If took a second just to look at the stills that were released over time then you could quickly see that Ball is more than pleased that his imagination could run wild out of that claustrophobic setting. There are so many scenes filled with imagination and vision that you will never get bored watching this film.

    Did you know there were going to be zombies? Yeah, it caught me off guard as well and the way these zombies were revealed was masterfully done. As the group enters an abandoned mall to seek refuge, they decide to split up to see if they could find any resources. The build up is very slow but it leads to a ghastly reveal which caught me fully off guard. Granted, if you have read the book you would of been more prepared.

    My biggest problem with the first film is the mystery that surrounds Teresa. Very little was told about her in the first film and even less is revealed in the second film which is a major problem seeing how she means a lot to our main protagonist. That is an overall problem with the film, the lack of exploration of character relationships and the list of unanswered questions. Thomas clearly cares about his team but you rarely get the sense of how much his teams cares about him or how much they care about each other and we still don’t know why WCKD cared for Thomas and Teresa so much. Then there is the whole thing on why we STILL don’t know how the maze was supposed to benefit anyone. Which is a huge disappointment since that is what the first film is ALL about. Ball decides to reveal things to us in the same pace as he does to his characters which I enjoyed for the most part but there are something that should of been straight up told to us by now. If the third installment of the franchise is to come out next year then it would of taken two years to find out who exactly Teresa and the maze is so important. Outlandish.

    Don’t get me wrong, The Scorch trials is a good film, just not a WCKD good film.

  • Containing no mazes and very little scorch, this sequel to last year’s The Maze Runner is a fitfully serviceable but generally dispiriting slog. Featuring plenty of running, the film is remarkable for its lack of narrative momentum and a certain seeping sedation despite all its urgently executed goings-oin.

    Picking up minutes after the first film ended, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his fellow Gladers, newly escaped from the experimental world of mazes and monster machines designed by the mysterious WKCD organisation, are herded into a fortified outpost run by Janson (Aiden Gillen). There they learn that theirs was not the only maze and that they are not the only survivors. Janson provides them all with food and temporary shelter, the compound serving as a halfway home before they begin their new lives in a supposedly better world.

    Thomas senses something amiss, his suspicions confirmed when one of the other boys, Aris (Jacob Lofland), sneaks into his bunk and leads him through the air vents to a restricted section. Thomas discovers that Janson is in cahoots with Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson), WCKD’s pristinely garbed leader. It seems the teenagers are not being prepped for their new lives, but rather strung up in a laboratory to be drained of their invaluable immunity fluids. (Remember that the Gladers were found to be unaffected by “the flare,” a zombie-like virus that has allegedly overtaken much of the population.)

    Thomas stages a daring escape and the gang find themselves out in the Scorch, a vast expanse of desert they hope to survive in order to reach the mountains where a resistance group called the Right Hand is rumoured to dwell. Along the way, they encounter a vicious zombie horde called the “Cranks,” lose one of their brethren, find out that they may not be as immune as they believed, and cross paths with Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and his surrogate daughter Brenda (Rosa Salazar), who may lead them to the Right Hand or sell them back to WCKD for a price.

    Oh, and there’s running, lots of running. In case the characters decide to break for expository purposes, Thomas is on hand to shout at them to keep moving, take cover, and get out of wherever they all happen to be at the time. Screenwriter T.S. Nowlin, who apparently has made significant changes to the source material, peppers the screenplay with variations of the same question – What are we doing here? What the hell is this? What’s happening? What’s going on? What? – and offers asinine answers that purport to clarify whilst simultaneously deepening the mystery of the overall story.

    The actors function as little more than window dressing, which means the emotional stakes are pretty non-existent. Production design is so derivative that it becomes almost shamelessly plagiaristic. Its crumbled cityscape, in particular, is so straight out of The Divergent Series: Insurgent that one half-expects to be told that all of the events were merely part of one of Tris Prior’s simulations.

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