Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Wes Ball’s first instalment of the James Dashner young-adult novels, Maze Runner, proved to be an exciting film with character and plot development that matched the heat of Divergent and The Hunger Games franchises. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, a direct continuation, sets off on sturdy terms, promising an original undertaking and a pressing adventure, but quickly becomes remiss to everything other than impressive stunts and production design. Throughout, there is only one moment of character development, no storyline other than fictitious speculations, and a plot that serves only to drag the action through the desert from one episode to the next.
The teenage “Gladers” (the faces of Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster et al) have escaped the maze and now meet “the Scorch” of the dystopian desert, a setting with plenty of space for running, but a clear lack of maze. In fact, the group feel over-trained for this zombie-infested place, out-running “Cranks” (zombies) through burnt-out shopping malls without breaking a sweat. It is perhaps fun, but not frightening. The WCKD (the World Catastrophe Killzone Department – seriously?) are the pseudo-governmental agency who map the science and security to navigate this world. However, they repeatedly fail to recapture the Gladers who are immune to the virus and therefore key to a sustainable future. Why there is any conflict or outbreak remains a mystery and won’t be revealed until the next instalment, if anyone still gives a hoot.
O’Brien is fierce and knows how to play his part as the leader, but there is no extension from the previous film, which is the same account for all the repeat characters here. Giancarlo Esposito performs a welcome supporting role as Jorge, the good and/or bad guy who drives the second act in different directions. Scodelario is also successful and plays the only character with any depth or subtlety. Add in a couple of surprises along the way and well-crafted sequences, and 20th Century Fox have a passable film that will keep the imposed majority curious.
A chase amongst the collapsed tower blocks stands out, as does a post-apocalyptic rave scene, and even a musical turn for Patsy Cline on the soundtrack. But, really, it is clear that Ball is merely frolicking and the result is an entirely reactive film that wishes for better writing and more maturity.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is released nationwide on 10th September 2015.
Watch the trailer for Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials here: