Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
Director: Wes Ball
Cast: Dylan O ‘Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito
This sequel adaptation may have ‘novel’ origins, but doesn’t have the requisite thrills to make it shoot up the adrenaline
This young adult dystopian adventure constructed around unlikely skill-sets that could become the escape route for its young attractive looking players endangered by the gravest of peril is a bigger, longer, more complicated game rerun. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it more exciting or thrilling. This sequel adaptation may have ‘novel’ origins, but doesn’t have the requisite thrills to make it shoot up the adrenaline. It’s just far more convoluted and therefore, less engaging than the original.
You don’t expect a story for such franchise instalments, so you don’t get one. Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) and the rest of the surviving Gladers search for clues about WCKD, a powerful organisation in the Scorch — a bleak set-up filled with dangerous obstacles. And the Gladers have resistance fighters on their side, but the going is obviously not easy.
The mythology as such is dense and unbecoming. There are more supporting characters, back stories and motivations to run through, sourced from James Dashner’s second novel, which the returning director Wes Ball tries to cover quite faithfully. The characters are on the run, but appear to be going around in repetitive cycles. The episodic nature of the script by TS Nowlin (who co-wrote the first film) doesn’t allow for much variation in theme or change in tempo. So, after a point, it all seems excessive and pointless. The narrative appears derivative (The Hunger Games, Divergent, Dawn of the Dead) and the death knell is sounded by the weak characterisations and poor development. There’s nothing compelling here. The only reason you will think otherwise is if you are a young adult familiar.