Monday, 28 September 2015
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials film review
Went to see this film with the family yesterday at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon.
IMDB says: After having escaped the Maze, the Gladers now face a new set of challenges on the open roads of a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles.
In this Wes Ball (The Maze Runner, Beginners) directed film, taken from the novel by James Dashner and screenplay written by T. S. Nowlin, that is the sequel to 2014 movie The Maze Runner, Dylan O'Brien (The Internship, Teen Wolf) once again stars as Thomas, with his fellow Gladers Minho (Ki Hong Lee, Maze Runner, The Stanford Prison Experiment), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Love Actually, Game of Thrones) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario, Moon, The Truth About Emmanuel).
In one of the first scenes, we see them rushed into a facility under armed guard, almost overwhelmed by armed enemies and wait, what was that ridiculous shadow person on the hill.....(no it can't be surely? There was no hint to this stupid possibility in the previous film)
Free from the maze, they are now in a facility with other Maze Runners (that's right, there were other mazes and suddenly your interest in them is gone because not only are there tons of survivors, they aren't even the best because they took longer to get there than the rest), where they make friends with Frypan (Dexter Darden, Cadillac Records, Joyful Noise) and Winston (Alexander Flores, Delivery Man, The Whackness) (one of whom, you just know is wearing a red Star Trek uniform) and are given food, water and a place to sleep by the leader of the facility Jansen (Aidan Gillan, Game of Thrones, The Dark Knight Rises), who you know immediately is a bad guy and not just because he is Littlefinger from Game of Thrones.
Of the original ones, Thomas is the only one that is suspicious, mostly because they have separated Teresa from him (though we are secretly quite pleased because she's not a great character and only seems there to give Thomas something to save that might have a link to his past) but he is not alone, enigmatic Aris Jones (Jacob Lofland, Mud, Justified) who we are suspicious of because he is the only one with a last name - this MUST have some significance that will be revealed later right? Aris sneaks in to Thomas' room while the others are asleep (quietest grate removal ever) and leads him through the air vents to show him the doctors shipping in bodies in monitored containers. Intrigued because every day several teenagers are taken to 'start new lives', Thomas decides he wants to know more and steals a name card (whilst making Jansen suspicious that he might be a bit more savvy to what is really going on - bad move) and he and Aris go exploring once more, this time managing to gain access to the high-security room they are keeping the drugged and being drained teenagers in (we see some kind of floating, giant, curled-up prawn thing in water, but we don't stop to investigate that, or in fact make reference to them again throughout the movie). Hiding behind some convenient pillars because Jensen and another man arrive, they get to witness that Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson, The Green Mile, Friends with Benefits) head of WCKD, is still alive and planning to speed up the process and, horror of horror, he and his friends are going to be next. Luckily, not only do they go unseen by all of them, they manage to get back to the room and warn his roommates, block access to the room and be ready for off, all before Jansen and his security get there (oh and we've got the two new guys - be useful that red uniform - and Teresa of course, mustn't forget her).
Jansen warns them that they won't survive long in the Scorch, but they want to get to the Red Arm (handily mentioned by Ava in her conversation with Jansen, who should know all about them) in the mountains.
They make it to a ruined and abandoned building where they wander through the sand and debris until they find a power source (because they find a tied-up skeleton with a lamp aimed at it, you know all like we've been tortured to death, we decide that the main thing to think about is finding the power) and turn it on. This is where all hope for the franchise dies, if you will excuse the pun, because out come the zombies. Yes, that's right, zombies.
Now I have not read the books (I know, unusual for me) so I don't know how true the film is to the novels, but why would you put the fantastic grievers into the first one (at worst a WKD-trained killing machine, at best an alien) and then ruin it all with zombies in the second. You have built your audience up for one thing, and got them excited by the prospect, only to rip away what could be a great arc to build on and ruin a perfectly good franchise with the injection (again, excuse the pun) of unbelievable zombies.
I know the film is a 12 (why when there are zombies and drug scenes?) so maybe they deliberately made them hilarious so as not to frighten too much, but seriously? Thank goodness I had a 2 for £8 cinema voucher but that is 132 minutes of my life I won't get back.
Giancarlo Esposito (best known for the excellent Breaking Bad) then makes an appearance as Jorge and Rosa Salazar (Insurgent, Epic) as Brenda, and after first appearing to not want to help, change their minds and decide to follow them to something they only a little while ago, thought was a myth.
Enough spoilers, needless to say none of the loose ends are tied up (another movie to come, but by now, you don't care anyway because you won't want to see any more) and we are not given mentions of the alien looking things, the reason why Aris has a surname or why Teresa is there (unless as a plot device - if you see the film, you will know why).
Again, I have not read the books but I suspect the following, the aliens are the reason for the virus, Ava Paige is Thomas' mother and they are all probably in a 'Matrix' type situation any way. I hope I am wrong and Teresa has a purpose, Aris having a surname has a vital reason and that the prawns do too. But, my family and I won't be finding out by watching the third film.
This film is listed as a action, sci-fi, thriller but seriously, it should be a comedy or better still, The Scorch Trials: Example of how to ruin a movie franchise.
5/10 (would be a 2, but some of the acting was superb considering the script they had to work with)