By Zachary Driver
The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)
Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Dexter Darden, Alexander Flores
Director: Wes Ball
Although throngs of young teenage girls will be swooning over O’Brien’s performance in the Scorch Trials for months to come, it falls short of its predecessor and just doesn’t deliver the performance that many have waited to see. Director and screenwriter Wes Ball begins the story abruptly, and behind, and due to its quick tempo, throughout its 132 minutes of often pointless action, it just never seems to catch up on itself.
However, the end leaves enough with enough of a cliffhanger to reel in the avid fan back for what will be a third chapter.
Based on the book series, “The Maze Runner,” by James Dashner, the movie follows the journey of an adolescent hero, Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brian, as he defies the organization that scooped him and the gladers, actors Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee, Thomas Sangster, Alexander Flores, and took them from their homes in a post-Armageddon society. The team is swept up into WIcd inc.’s headquarters at the beginning, and through a tag-teamed effort they futilely attempt to escape its bounds.
Thomas, the teenage hero, was taken from his mother at a young age by the human controlling agency Wicd. Inc, and placed in confinement with other teenagers so that they could find the cure to the disease in their blood that plagued the world into Armageddon. The agency, however, is using the lives of thousands to do so. In this movie, we find Thomas and his friends in a mad dash to escape Wicd. The gladers travel through the scorch, and find unlikely allies along the way, Brenda (Rosa Salazar), and Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito), who guide them in their attempt to find safe haven, and an army of rebels called the right hand. The story is so quick, and so fast-paced that by the time Thomas and his team do reach the right hand, you are so confused you don’t even care.
Ball directs a film that is all action, yet with little story line. The actors, besides a decently strong performance by O’Brian, fall short as well. In the only emotional scene, we find O’Brian and his team having to witness the death of Winston, but with so little substance, character background, or emotional depth developed by then, I just didn’t care.
There is, perhaps, a light at the end of the tunnel. When Thomas’s crew stand up to ward off Wicd in the final moments, we are led to believe that the movie is over. Wicd left, and the rebels are safe for now. But then, true to the fashion of his character, Thomas decides that they will not be running anymore, and leaves us with the known fact that the final battle now lies just ahead. This simple cliffhanger does just enough to hook the fans back and waiting for a third installment of the Maze Runner series, and serves what seems to be the movie’s main purpose, keeping the franchise alive.
onal, and perhaps a massive failure. It weaves a quickened story of Armageddon and loss that causes the reader to just not care, and is a constant barrage of visual imagery and no textual background. The movie itself is a failure. However, at the very end it hooks us into the inevitable fate of its third franchise, and for that it serves its purpose.
The Scorch trial succeeds, but it just doesn’t doesn’t deliver.