First it was Vampires, now it’s dystopian apocalyptic futures and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is right in the thick of it. You might expect something along the lines of mysteriously distant authority figures, exceptionally strong non-specific aged teenagers and a whole lot of choreographed violence and that’s what you’re going to get, in abundance.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is the second instalment in the Maze Runner series, based on the books by James Dashner and directed by Wes Ball. After having escaped the Maze, the survivors face even bigger obstacles in their fight for freedom. They’re on the run in the Scorch, a desolate plain of mammoth proportions and one hope – find the Right Arm. Sounds a little cryptic, well it is, there is a lot going on this film but here is a run down of the good, the bad and the pretty faces.
The storyline is complicated by the addition of so many new elements – there are rebel armies, theses zombie-like Kranks, desert-dwelling gangs and a whole host of WCKD affiliates. Not having read the books previously, there was a lot of second-guessing of plot points and unexpected twists but looking back not a whole lot happens. Yes, there are a copious number of hurdles but there is little progression.
When your main characters come up against so much and never achieve anything, they never quite get free, they are constantly on the run, the audience disconnects a little. Give them a break! Let them win this one! We thought as we struggled to find hope in ourselves for their freedom. There is probably a psychological thesis to be written here, but leaving your audience in a puddle of frustration and defeat does not lend itself to good storytelling. But as you find with any good series, there are bends and turns towards the end that grab a hold of you and make the next two years of yearning bore a hole in your stomach.
Returning to their roles and continuing their awesomeness were Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee and Patricia Clarkson. Maze Runner newcomers or Greenies, if you will, include Aiden Gillan, Giancario Esposito and Rosa Salazar. They have a knack for the visuals in this series and the casting is no exception. Perfectly grubbed up faces and dramatically teary eyes make for some great watching, not to mention the alluring performances.
Besides seeming like one never-ending chase scene, this film looks amazing. There is a real art to the imagery and colours that the desert landscape has to offer. The CGI lines are so well blurred in to the live action that there is little to criticise in this area, if nothing at all. Kudos also goes to Sanja Milkovic Hays (Costume) and the extensive make-up team for decorating a world of utter chaos and making it seem so natural and yet kind of scary at times.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials may not quite live up to its predecessor, but it offers up a host of goodies whilst lacking in just a few small areas. It won’t be an award winner in the story sense but sure as heck looks the part and plays an important role in the series. Good news is, a this point, they haven’t followed the trend and split the final chapter in to two, but bad news is we have to wait till 2017 for the finale. Till then, we keep on running.
They’re on the run, everyone’s chasing, it’s sandy and they have no idea where they are going – meet The Scorch Trials.