Saturday, 19 September 2015

Movie Review: Maze Runner: Scorch Trials

Maze Runner: Scorch Trials is a direct continuation of last year's 2014 Maze Runner. Based on James Dashner's The Scorch Trials, the film immediately picks up right where the first one ends where the Gladers, led by our main lead, Thomas, successfully escaped from the maze and rescued by a group led by Mr. Janson (it's important to watch The Maze Runner first). However, Thomas questions the true motives of Mr. Janson and convinces his group to escape from his facility and embark on a perilous journey in the deserted outside world which has been left ravaged by solar flares to find the resistance group called the Right Arm.

There are some strong solid performances by the cast and more worldbuilding this time around. The film showed what really happened to the world with its ruined cities and it finally reveals that the human population become infected by the Flare virus that turned them into fast-running zombies called Cranks. W.C.K.D (pronounced as wicked) is an organization that is desperately trying to find a cure for the disease by harvesting blood from kids who are immune to the virus and they're willing to do what it takes in order to achieve it.

The film managed to deliver some thrills and fast-paced action but not much story or character development. The film introduces many new characters in its second act but failed to provide any satisfying backstory to create a lasting impression. Audiences are simply expected to accept them just like how we get to know the Gladers in first film. The established characters in the film like Newt, Minho or Frypan takes a backseat and were given little screen time due to the new character introduction and relentless action to provide the thrills. Not to mention, characters managed to escape countless gunfire shots from everywhere unscathed. As a result, you don't feel sad or pity if any of them is in peril.

There are more running this time around, from W.C.K.D, Cranks, sandstorm and even lightning. The film starts to turn into a horror flick in the middle act where they need to constantly outrun the Cranks while preventing themselves being captured by W.C.K.D soldiers. The film includes a lot of typical horror clichés like walking through an incredibly dark sewer scene and a few jump scares in the second act. There are a few plot twists along the way to surprise the audience but the impact is minimal as you don't have any emotional attachment to the characters at all.

Although some of the question posed in the first film are finally answered in this sequel, some still left unanswered. Who is Thomas and Teresa? What's their position in W.C.K.D? Why he's the most 'promising' of them all? Why and how he lost his memories? What is the real intention of W.C.K.D by putting the kids in the Maze? Why the Maze needs to rearrange itself every night? What are the "Grievers" actually?

To be honest, this film series doesn't really grab my attention like the other well-known better Young-Adult book-to-film adaptations like The Hunger Games or Harry Potter. This sequel is an improvement over the first film but it lacks a compelling plot for the audience to maintain lasting interest for the series.

Rating: 6.5/10

Maze Runner Review: