Movie Review: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Brennan Griffin, Assistant Features Editor of Reviews

The second young adult book to film adaption of this year has arrived. Before beginning this review I need to address some of the issues I had with the first Maze Runner movie. I did enjoy the acting and the majority of the first act of that movie, however, at a point it stoppedscorch-trials-movie-poster everything and began setting up for the sequel and left with a very disappointing ending. It was pointed out to me that this was actually very true to the book. The film became hard to follow at a certain point because information that was in the books was nowhere to be found in the film. Now, one year later, we have The Scorch Trials, and it does the exact same thing the first one did.

The Scorch Trials picks up right where the first one left off with Thomas and the Gladers being brought into a facility by the people that rescued them. They soon find themselves in the wasteland referred to as “The Scorch” where devastating storms occur frequently and zombie like creatures referred to as Cranks roam. The surviving cast from the first film all return with new additions of Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad).

I did not hate this film. All the returning actors were fantastic. Dylan O’Brian was again great as Thomas and the returning characters of Newt and Mihno (Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Kim Hong Lee respectively) are still personal favorites. The action sequences in the first half of this movie were very exciting. However the action was not anything new. There were many scenes which I, after leaving the theater, realized were incredibly similar to scenes in other films. The film does not really do a good job at clarifying the ending of the first movie with a 30 second briefing by Aidan Gillen’s character Jansen. The plot of The Scorch Trials is very minimal. The majority of the film consists of them running between setpeices. While the chemistry between the main characters was still fantastic and made them a very believable group of friends, there is not much dialogue outside of those characters that is not them just screaming “Run!” or “Thomas!”. This film does introduce a large amount of characters, however, there is no reason to care about them. All they really do is take away from the screen time of the other characters you do want to see more of, such as Newt, Teresa, and Mihno. The new introductions were often very over the top or unnecessary. There is one scene in particular involving a party that could have been left out completely as it served no purpose in the film. The notable exception to this being Giancarlo Esposito’s Jorge who was very interesting and allowed for one of the films more creative set peices to occur. While many of the now inclusions in this film left more to be desired, the same cannot be said about the Cranks. These zombie-like creatures who were created by the Flare virus, were done with fantastic practical effects and makeup. They were truly horrifying. The first time you get a good look at them and they begin running it immediately feels like Mad Max mixed with 28 Days Later. This film actually contained some horror elements in the scenes involving the Cranks and made it more interesting and stand out a little more compared to other young adult movies.

I did have an issue when they switched the practical makeup for CGI Cranks, but that was because they just looked better with practical. The film was a little too obvious with many things and any reveals were easily seen from early on (WCKD as the name for an evil corporation?). Then there is the second half of this movie. The first half was a fun science fiction film with some horror elements, but the second half went the way of the first film. They stopped everything and began setting up for the final installment. If you, like myself and many others, had a problem with the direction the first film went, you will definitely have a problem with The Scorch Trials. In terms of adapting the book to the film, those who read the book told me it was very different and did not have certain elements included. It seems as though even those who read the books will have issues with this film. The Scorch Trials is definitely better than Insurgent when it comes to young adult movie adaptions, but that is not saying much. The acting was great, the returning characters were still fun and enjoyable, and the Cranks took the film in an enjoyable direction. However the movie suffers from again not really providing any closure and instead just setting up for the sequel. There were questions I had from the end of the first movie that still remain unanswered. If you really don’t mind a shallow plot and just want to see an action movie, you will have fun with this film. If you need character development, subtlety, and a plot that provides answers and finishes the film rather than set up for a sequel, you most likely will not enjoy this film and should wait for a better film to come out. I had fun in this film, but would I see it again? No.

Rating: You don’t have to run from this film… but, it wouldn’t hurt.