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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Review

If you’re fifteen, you probably already know this, but Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials came out this past Thursday.  The movie tacks a sequel adventure to the surprisingly highly successful film adaption to the book The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  While the first film truthfully attempted to follow the book’s plot line and stay somewhat true to the original, the second deviates a great deal. Far more than I had expected. In fact, I’ve been saying that it is only inspired by James Dashner’s The Scorch Trials.

scorch trials hangYou could call myself a fan of James Dashner, I suppose.  I don’t really care for his writing style, but his story is truly captivating.  So watching the movie  hurt my heart as his plot was reduced to a mere attempt at a blockbuster teen horror/action/suspense/romance dystopian movie.  It took me about five minutes in to realize that the film makers were going to completely abandon Dashner’s plot. I was moderately upset, but expected as much since in the first film they left out some crucially important plot details for the sequel to actually work.  Something had to be done.  It’s almost as if the film makers were like, “WHAT!!!?? MAZE RUNNER ACTUALLY PULLED A PROFIT???? WE HAVE TO MAKE THE SCORCH TRIALS NOW???? ……crap.

They essentially shot themselves in the foot after they deviated in the first one.  Dashner’s story was simply impossible, so they made a movie simply inspired by his original story.  Honestly, if I view the film in this light it helps me enjoy it a little more…..but I’m still mad.

Let’s talk about what was done well.

  1. The Cranks were nearly perfect.  Although they changed how the virus was passed along (now it’s more or less transferred in old school zombie fashion….through the blood). So the humans in the Scorch are not all already infected.  In fact, neither Brenda nor Jorge are infected when the Gladers run into them. Unlike most deviations, this one makes more sense for a film audience.  It would have taken too long to explain the complex process of the virus contraction and how it’s processed in stages.  By making it a normal zombie infection, they essentially bought themselves more time for crappy action sequences.  And what’s a crappy teen movie without crappy action sequences? f1716018a2e15b616df341a3293d7fed377d1ed4f816fbe403651b4e0b2ba824_large
  2. Jorge. Giancarlo Espocito was the best choice for this role and he easily outshines each and every actor/actress on the screen.  I was very much a fan of his performance and I feel he was the only character who was really kept true to their alternate identity in the book canon.
  3. Brenda.  Once again, Rosa Salazar was an excellent choice for the new love interest.  She blows Kaya Scodelario, who plays Teresa, out of the water. She doesn’t rock a short hairdo as well as…well….Emma Watson, Natalie Portman, or Anne Hathaway, but her decent performance makes up for it.  As long as she’s not screaming.  Seriously her screams are really annoying throughout the entire film.
  4. Alan Tudyk.  Do you really need a reason? Ok ok ok, I’ll give you one.  He as high as a kite for his whole performance, and it’s wonderful.

The Bad is an extremely long list, unfortunately, so I’ve listed a few of what I’m calling the “unforgivables.”

screen-shot-2015-05-20-at-09-09-18

  1. Aidan Gillen’s American accent. It’s horrible.  Like really bad. I go into great detail here in the article I wrote for the trailers last month. It’s even worse in the film. It would make a great drinking game. Every time Aidan’s Irish accent peeps through, you get to take a drink! Finish your drink if there wasn’t even a hint of an attempt!
  2. Aidan Gillen’s character.  He plays an interpretation of who the Gladers ill-affectionately call Rat Man in the novel.  However, he isn’t graced with this name at all in the movie.  His character is poorly written in general and I was very disappointed with someone so highly respected in the acting community.scorch trials building
  3. The multiple mazes. FILM AND BOOK SPOILERS AHEAD: In the book they discover the existence of another maze. One other maze.  It is full of girls and one boy. Thomas’ maze, of course, contained the opposite. These two maze teams are set up as competitors in the trials. In the movie, however, they discover that there are multiple mazes. Probably around like five. This felt like an attempt to ‘one up’ Dashner. It didn’t sit well with me. END SPOILERS
  4. The final and perhaps greatest sin this movie put forth is the name. In the newly structured plot, the Gladers are not tested at all by WICKED. This made me wonder why they even kept the name Scorch Trials.  Why call attention to a trial when there isn’t one? Maze Runner: The Scorch probably would have been easier to bill anyway, and it sounds way cooler to me anyway.

In the end, this movie really isn’t worth the trip to the theater.  If you really want to see it, wait for Redbox.

Did you see Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials? What did you think? Do you agree? Leave your comments below.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Review

Scorch Trials – Worse Than Maze Runner?

A few weeks ago 20th Century Fox released a second trailer for it’s new teeny bopper, summer wanna be Hunger Games sequel. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. However this does classify as nerdy material. So I feel the necessity to address it.

scorchtrialsMaze Runner actually did pretty well in the box office, and many of my high school students quoted it as their “favorite movie ever!” It’s no surprise why.  It’s targeted at youthful teenagers who don’t know good cinematic gold. Perhaps it’s that I’m getting old and crotchety, but the movie was absolute garbage. Mostly because it failed to address some very important and clarifying parts from the book– namely Teresa and Thomas being able to communicate telepathically.  Seriously, this is an extremely important plot point.  Like picture a Spider-Man movie where he can’t climb walls. It also had multiple plot holes and poor story telling technique.  Here’s a great video if you’d like an in-depth dissection of it’s flaws.

Let’s be honest for a moment though, it can’t be held to a crazy high standard. I mean James Dashner, the author of the YA series, is no Hemingway.  In all honestly, he’s a pretty crumby writer, but the story is actually very interesting and captivating.  He has a good way with characters and drags you into it nonetheless…so maybe he is a good writer?? Regardless, this series is far from being a classic, so it’s hard to rip into too much.

With the new addition to the film series coming out this September, I have been very interested how the filmmakers are going to adapt the text.  So let’s look into what they’ve shown us so far. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t look good. Have a look for yourself first though:

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – Trailer 1

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – Trailer 2

The Bad

  • I’ve never watched Game of Thrones (go ahead, stone me) but everyone keeps telling me that Aidan Gillen is some god of acting ability and plays a debonair sly fox on the show, but I’m really not seeing that in this trailer.  In fact, I’m seeing the exact opposite. This is most likely due to the fact that his American accent is atrocious. Seriously, if you missed it the first time, watch it again and laugh till you’re blue. It’s really bad, like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins bad. I feel like Doc Brown asking, “Does everyone talk like an American Irish hybrid in the future? Or is that just you?”  Not to mention that he looks nothing like Ratman is described in the book.  Maybe that’s unfair, but it bothers me.
  • What’s with the scene with Thomas and the rest of Gladers escaping into the Scorch…. In the book they are sent by Ratman as the second phase of their testing hence the title Scorch Trials. There isn’t a whole action sequence with a man with a hybrid American Irish accent screaming, “You’ll never survive in the Scorch!!” I hate it when movies add completely unnecessary action to try and spice up the film. Whatever happened to allowing the plot to be the selling point of your story? Citizen Kane anyone???
  • This last point is the most annoying to me because it completely destroys the most integral plot point of the book. Teresa is freaking with them!! What the crap!!?? This completely destroys the whole “There was another maze” plot point as well as the way WICKED toys with Thomas at the end of the book. I’m trying to address this as spoiler free as possible so if you haven’t read the book, trust me, It’s really important. There has to be another Maze though, because they bring it up in the trailer and Aris and several other integral characters are in the cast. Adding Teresa to the main group just ruins the whole plot. The only possible reason that I can think of including her with the rest of the guys is that they failed to bring in the telepathy part into the first film. Wow, that’s really destroying this entire series isn’t it?

The Good

Well there isn’t much, but there are a few things that I found somewhat exciting.

TST_Brenda

  • The Scorch looks perfect! In fact pretty much every setting in the trailer looks really awesome! They didn’t spare any expense on detail for sure (maybe they should have gotten some better actors, but hey it’s a kids movie).
  • The little bit we see of Brenda is pretty good.  She at least looks well cast.  She fits the description pretty perfectly.  Really the Cranks look pretty good in general.  I’m excited to see what they do with the rest of the Crank characters and hope that they’re developed well.  Especially Brenda, but I have low expectations because Teresa is there….but moving on.
  • The second trailer appears to follow the book better than the first.  So maybe they learned their lesson from the first film…most likely not though.

 

Overall, Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials looks substandard.  I have very low expectations for this film, and don’t worry, I’ll be reviewing it here for sure.  Keep your eye out for it! But until then, What do you think? Am I off my rocker, do you agree with my student that The Maze Runner is the best movie ever and see the second having success? Let me know in the comments.

Scorch Trials – Worse Than Maze Runner?