Review: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

10012690_853331538082954_6547386367564230785_oDistributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: Wes Ball
Writers: T.S. Nowlin and James Dashner
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Genre: Science-Fiction Action Thriller
Rating: PG-13
Being a long-time fan of the Maze Runner novel series by James Dashner and having enjoyed the first film (See Our Review!), I was very excited to see its sequel, though I did have my hesitations. The trailer looked very different from the film. It still looked pretty cool with all the action and amazing visuals of the Scorch, but I was worried the plot would diverge too far from the book. Unfortunately, my worries came true.


Storyline

Thomas and the remaining Gladers may have escaped the Maze, but their journey is far from over. After discovering their rescuers are actually WCKD, they escape into the Scorch and seek out the rumored Right Arm, a resistance group against the tyrannical and cruel corporation. They must journey through the perilous Scorch, a barren land destroyed by sun flares, battle Cranks, people succumbed to the disease called the Flare, all the while evading WCKD to succeed.

scorch-trials-trailer-posterContent Guide

Violence/Scary Images: There is a good deal of violence in this film to the point it’s pushing the PG-13 rating. Many people are shot with a good deal of blood. Other people are electrocuted and seize on the ground. Some people get bite wounds from the cranks and another character had his stomach clawed open. There is a shot where his decaying insides are shown.
The Cranks (zombie-like people) are very scary. Even I was a bit freaked out by them. They run like zombies and are drooling black spit nearly constantly. A young girl Crank has her eyes gouged out. This is only shown for maybe a second, but it is disturbing. One crank rips the head off of a rat and proceeds to devour it. Luckily, the camera doesn’t hover on these grotesque beings too long, but they’re still unsettling.
Language/Crude Humor: Nearly every swear in the book is uttered at some point: b*****, sh**, d***, and h*** mostly. No f-bombs though. The bird is used once. Frypan briefly ogles Theresa while she’s changing and Thomas eyes some immodestly dressed girls.
Spiritual Content: Evolution is mentioned once.
Sexual Content: There is one kissing scene, but it’s brief. Some girls in a party scene are scantily clad with their bellies shown and their shirts low cut.
Drug/Alcohol Reference: To gain entrance to a party to search for their friends, Thomas and Brenda are forced to consume a drug by the club owner. This makes them hallucinate and stumble about.
Other Negative Content: Revenge is mention as an approved course of action at the end, contrary to the book.
Positive Content: There are many themes of loyalty, brotherhood, and hope. Thomas loves his comrades more than anyone in the world and will do anything for them, even if that means sacrificing himself.

scorch-trials-poster-6Presentation

From the first few minutes into the film, I knew this was going to be a very different experience than that of the book. The plot is drastically changed from searching for a cure for the Gladers to finding the Right Arm, so basically the plot is a combination of the Scorch Trials and the Death Cure with some outsider stuff thrown in.
Since I’ve read the entire series and enjoyed it, I was put off by this huge plot change. I mean it’s good, but it drastically changes the direction of movie adaption version of the series. The movie’s plot alluded to the original story in many sequences and did include some scenes directly from the book, but the tone was far different than that of the original novel’s. This is more of a zombie movie with heart and lots of jump scares. It’s more gritty and less trippy. More guns and explosions, less mystery and unnatural WCKD stuff. At least it’s still action-packed like the book.
The casting is good. All of the living characters are back from the previous film and everyone is perfect. Dylan O’Brien is Thomas. New members such as Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) were casted perfectly. I enjoyed Giancarlo’s performance as he perfectly suited Jorge’s loony character. Brenda I actually preferred more in the film than I did in the books. Aiden Gillen (Game of Thrones) did an excellent job in his role as
Jansen aka Ratman for all of you book fans. The baddies are in the movie a lot more than the book which I suppose can be a good thing because Jansen and Ava Paige have a bigger role, but it’s still very different. I did enjoy that they added more backstory into the movie which the book sorely lacked.
poster-scorch-trials-newtThe scenery is very beautiful with amazing visuals of the ruined city and the sandy wasteland. The scope of the world is breathtaking. Also a lot of the worldbuilding was changed like how the cranks work and how WCKD is going about getting the cure. I knew the cranks were going to be scary, but I believe they were taken a bit overboard in this film. I found them hard to look at and often dreaded scenes with them in it.
The costumes are cool especially Jorge’s. He has this mysterious Spaniard look. The score is lovely. I will probably end up buying it soon. It keeps in the theme of the old movie but with more elements of Spanish and Western tones to match the desert environment.

Conclusion

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is a pretty good movie, but will come to a shock for fans of the book. I’m very torn as a loyal fan and a movie critic. Because they have changed so much in this film, I’m not sure how they are going to proceed with the Death Cure. Novel loyalty aside, I found the new plot very interesting, action-packed and with characters you care about, but it had a few too many horror elements in it for my taste.

 

Positives

+ Casting is Done Well + Beautiful Scenic Visuals + Great Score

Negatives

- Plot Diverges Far Too Much from the Novel - Cranks are Highly Disturbing

The Bottom Line

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is a pretty good movie, but will come to a shock for fans of the book. I'm very torn as a loyal fan and a movie critic. Because they have changed so much in this film, I'm not sure how they are going to proceed with the Death Cure. Novel loyalty aside, I found the new plot very interesting, action-packed and with characters you care about, but it had a few too many horror elements in it for my taste.

 

7.5

Victoria Grace Howell

Victoria Grace Howell is an artist and aspiring speculative fiction writer. She received Teen Writer of the Year in 2014 at the Florida Christian Writers Conference , a conference she attended since 2010, and the Believers Trust Award in 2015. When she's not writing her books or articles, she enjoys drawing her characters, playing the piano and practicing Kung Fu.

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