The Maze Runner – The Scorch Trials
The second of the Maze Runner novels by James Dashner brought to the screen by director Wes Ball Staring Pretty much the same ensemble cast (Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster) as the first, with two or three notables additions: Rosa Salazar (Insurgent) , Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), and Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones.)
Having escaped the tribulations of the first movie here comes the Trials.
Harry Potter, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV), probably started the whole ‘ Teen Scifi/Fantasy ‘ genre, where angst and fantasy are combined to attract not only the boys but also their less easily, impressed girlfriends. When both of the couple want to go and see it , it makes for a big box office.
Done well as in Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight (less for the boys) it can make a good movie, but done badly it can be very dull (Jupiter Rising). The first movie ‘Maze Runner’ surprised me. It was a lot better than just another me too, but sadly, ’Trials’ did not live up to it’s prequel.
Without spoilers it is difficult to describe why it fails but, I will try. It is one cliché filled chase after another interspersed with tiny bits of narrative to drag the story on a bit. There is nothing wrong with the acting, or the dystopian scenery, but most of the action is contrived to look good in 3D.
I don’t like 3D ( personal preference ) so I saw it in 2D. I don’t think 3D works for most films. For me it is mostly a distraction, but In this film, sadly, the chases are designed to show how good it all looks in, what I call, ‘3D swirly-vision’. 2D makes ‘3D swirly-vision’ look very odd indeed, so the whole movie looked rather peculiar. If you go see it you will have to try 3D. This, however, was not the biggest problem.
Firstly, (MINOR SPOILER ALERT!!!!) there are so many false dawns followed by betrayals, that when the next one comes…. Well, you knew it was coming.
Secondly, I’ve not read the books so I don’t know if the script adheres to the story. What I do know is this film is three of four hefty lumps crammed into 91 minutes. There is too much action and not enough acting. It would have been a better film if the chases were shorter, or if there were bigger breaks between them. It could have been two films, or better still the whole trilogy could have been made as a Netflix Original Series, giving time to develop the characters.
The Trilogy as a format, although very popular these days (with movie executives), is very difficult. I’m guessing that the final movie will be better so for completeness you will have to watch this, but don’t worry if there is anything better to do this week, it will be out on Blu-ray soon enough.
GUEST REVIEW BY ManInTheBlackHat. Star Rating 2
iCare Rating (Out of 9): 3
iEnjoy Rating (10+ is good): 5
Overall (Out of 10): 4
Take three leading characters and decide if you care about what happens to them. It does not matter if you want them to live happily ever after, or if you want them to die a horrible death. All that matters is that you care. Add the three scores together to get the rating.
0= I couldn’t care less.
1= I care somewhat.
2= I care.
3= I care a lot.
+2 for every time I jumped.
+1 for every time I smiled.
+2 for every time I laughed.
+3 for every time I cried.
+5 for every surprise.
-1 for every time I looked at my watch (or thought about leaving).