The Scorch Trials
Release: September 18th, 2015
Dir. Wes Ball
Starring: Dylan O’Brien (Thomas), Ki Hong Lee (Minho), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Newt), Giancarlo Esposito (Jorge), Aidan Gillian (Janson), Kaya Scodelario (Theresa), Dexter Darden (Frypan), Rosa Salazar (Brenda), Jacob Lofland (Aris), Alexander Flores (Winston)
I walked into The Maze Runner last year and was so entirely thrilled I expected very little from that first movie, but I walked away hooked. There is no denying that The Scorch Trials is flawed, but at the end of the day I ended up really enjoying myself. Thus even if the movie could have been improved, it accomplished it’s main goal and that was to entertain. For a movie with a 2 hour and 9 minute run time, it didn’t feel that long because I was simply enjoying myself. I will give a warning to those who do not like horror, this may not be the movie for you because there are horror elements in a large chunk of the movie.
There’s no point in skirting the giant elephant in the room and that is what brings the movie down, and that is the character development. Honestly, there really wasn’t any. Unfortunately that held the entire movie back and lessened the impact of certain events that occurred in the novel. The movie relied heavily on the character dynamics that were established in the first movie. New characters got the opportunity to be properly introduced which I was amazed by, however we didn’t get to see their dynamic in relation to the entire group they got to know. We only saw how they related and interacted with Thomas. Ultimately, the lack of development felt like we didn’t get to know the characters any more despite delving further into this journey. This was my biggest qualm with the movie because not having character development and the chance to get to know these characters better meant that any enjoyment was too reliant on the last movie.
This was an action packed movie. There was so much going on constantly that the tensions were constantly high. My nerves felt palpable as movie went forward. It’s clear that Wes Ball is highly adept at directing action in such a way that things don’t become confusing yet the action stays high. Even just crawling through vents had me worried. I was quite thrilled with the book.
The movie introduced a few new characters to the world. I quite enjoyed their presence as they made things just a little bit more interesting, if only because it added some diversity to the cast. Instead of all teenage boys, we now have a teenage girl with knowledge of the world, an older man who can be a bit shady, a boy from an all girl maze, and a group of rebel like characters. Their introductions did work as you got a sense of who they were and their personalities pretty quickly.
Another thing this movie did really well was finally establish the world. As we moved from The Maze Runner to The Scorch Trials we went from a setting that was contained to the Maze, we now get the entire world. This could have ended up a big mess. Not all possible questions that you had about the world may have been answered, but it did give you a solid look at the world. It’s easy to understand the way that this world works. What I did not expect was the sudden turn to horror. Even still the world made sense and another thing that I ended up enjoying was that when the characters had questions about what was going on as long as they weren’t in immediate danger their questions were answered. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine when necessary information isn’t conveyed to the characters it pertains to. This movie gets total points for not falling down that common trope well and actually spoke to each other.
What I didn’t expect was the sudden turn to horror. The Maze Runner was so squarely in the dystopian genre. However The Scorch Trials established that this is not a dystopian world. It is an apocalyptic world. The horrible thins that we see done have a dystopian feel, but their society is so far gone that this is not the case. From what we’ve seen of the world this is definitely a world that is on the brink of losing all humanity. Our villains are willing to do anything prevent things getting worse in the world at the cost of innocents. However, the switch to horror was entirely surprising. In fact, it tupartially turned into a zombie movie. As a fan of zombie movies, I was not opposed. The only thing that truly stood out to me was that it heavily reminded me of The Last of Us, both in the way the creatures were, their effect, and even how the story progressed.
This movie was enjoyable. It was a lot of action and while during the breaks between the action the movie lulled out with little character development I gained are far better understanding of the world. The lack of character development was the biggest disappointment as you didn’t get any sense that the characters were growing or that their dynamics were evolving. Instead it relied on the dynamics established in The Maze Runner, resulting in the characters sometimes feeling like personalities with no depth. The action again was very well done, making those scenes particularly tense. However the movie still held on to various elements from numerous properties and styles of movies that made the movie deel derivative. Thankfully, derivative doesn’t bother me as long as I can be entertained and the movie did just that.
What did you think of the movie?