Originally published in The Oswegonian October 2015
If you are the type of person who likes to dissect the differences between books and the movies based on them, be prepared to be disappointed by “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials.” The reason for this is, aside from the title, characters, the basic concept and a few details, there is nothing from the book to compare.
“The Scorch Trials” opens up showing a flashback with Thomas’ mother turning him over to the World in Catastrophe Kill Zone Department (WICKD), then quickly goes into showing Thomas being brought back to the present as his fellow maze survivors yell at him to wake up as they are being unloaded from the helicopter they were put on when they were rescued from the initial facility on the other side of the maze. The group is rushed from the landing pad into the facility because the noise of the helicopter brings about a mad rush of cranks. Once inside the facility, there is a slowdown in the action as some additional characters are introduced while Thomas and his friends are lulled into a false sense of security thinking that once out of the maze, everything will be better.
Thomas cannot leave things alone and Aris, a survivor from another maze, discovers that they are in fact in a WICKD facility.
Once they discover that the head of their would-be rescuers is nothing more than a member of the WICKD chain of command, Thomas once again appoints himself as the leader of the group and decides they need to escape. Prior to learning that their ordeal is not yet over they learn that there is a resistance group in the mountains. Thomas decides trying to find them is the best choice and, not surprisingly, the group quickly agrees. They head off in that direction, meeting minimal resistance from the elements of the supposedly un-survivable, crank-infested, overrun scorch. After a few easily overcome obstacles they quickly meet some new allies and before long they make it to the resistance.
The movie is paced too quickly with very little time focusing on what it is that Thomas and Theresa had done when they were on the side of WICKD. Hollywood did what is always done and sacrificed elements of the story for action sequences. In doing so they made it so that “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” could function as a stand-alone movie, while at the same time leaving enough questions unanswered in order to guarantee that fans will be filing into the theaters the day the next installment is released.
One big complaint that was echoed by many filmgoers is that they made those who have fully succumbed to the effects of the Flare, too highly resemble what one would see if they had gone out to see a zombie movie.
As far as movies go, “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” is okay if you are looking for a decent movie. Cinematically, it meets everything one would look for in a Hollywood blockbuster. The action survives and the story apparently fell to the Flare.
Rating: 3 out of 5