REVIEW: “MAZE RUNNER: SCORCH TRIALS” (2015) 20th Century Fox

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mazerunner
Assuming that you have a good enough memory to remember where the first film finished as before reading my own review from the first one, the only thing I truly remembered was the main characters Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Minho (Ki Hong Lee) & Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and along with the fact one of my fav. characters Gally (Will Poulter) died.
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Here in Scorch Trials we’re thrust straight away into Thomas and company’s bust from the World Catastrophe Killzone Department aka WCKD; (side note: seemingly no one realized the connotations of the acronym until after the business cards had been made *eyeroll). Missing his memories and suspicious of anyone over the age of 21, before we can even blink an eye..Thomas is once again leading a breakout from the complex he and his buds are being held in after being rescued from the maze. This includes newcomer to the group Aris (Jacob Lofland) and a new mean guy Janson (Aiden Gillen) who is up to something, but before we can find out any answers as to why kids are being “harvested” and what the purpose of the maze was and Thomas’s role in it, poof!! they’re out into ‘The Scorch’, a desolate wasteland and busted-up city that uses must have used the leftover sets from Insurgent – hey..I’m all for budget saving. 🙂
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As noted in my review of the original Maze Runner, this one too borrows heavily from not only other popular YA films (think Twilight, Insurgent etc), but also every other popular trope lying around. Suddenly we’ve got Walking Dead type zombies – we’ve got running up buildings – we’ve got a political resistance with no clear aim – And we’ve got more questions asked than a 3 year old at the playground. Despite the bum-numbing (ouch!) running time, as again with all this type of genre film they could easily cut out 30-40 minutes from each one, every new character Thomas and his nameless mates encounter exclaim, “There’s no time to explain, we have to go!” to the point of where you just want to scream “WHERE ARE YOU GOING?”
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There’s also little time given to reintroducing some of the characters that barely made it from the first film. We know Thomas and Teresa, and that guy from Game Of Thrones, but the supporting cast are essentially just there to be dispensed with to provide some sense of jeopardy. At one point, the boys reminisce about their fallen numbers; “Aww, do you remember Chuck? And Winston? They were definitely here.” No, I do not remember them; I don’t even remember what my life was like before I started watching this film. At one point, Theresa tells Thomas a story about her mother slowly turning mad to the point she plucked out her own eyeballs. After two hours and 11 minutes, I think I felt her pain..

Which is a huge shame because the first installment was so promising I truly thought that the second would be better. And it almost was for a bit..sadly it didn’t remain moving in that right direction. Though I will cough up to the fact that O’Brien is a fairly charismatic lead when all he had to do was jump around the maze, but now he’s given precious little to do other than run around with that chicken head cut-off syndrome.
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Teresa who when in the maze, set the whole chain of events into motion, is literally carried throughout by the boys and her relationship with Thomas, both before and after the maze, is not ever really touched on. A brief flirtation between Thomas and resistance fighter/soon-to-be-zombie Brenda (Rosa Salazar) has little consequence; same with what her father figure Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) who I’m still not sure if he is the ‘Right Arm’ they were so desperately trying to find or not. Throw in Vince (Barry Pepper) or Mary (Lili Taylor) as possible Right Arm leaders also and truthfully I was just a bit confused or maybe tired by that point. The whole film, while not bad, made me wonder if you would be any the wiser if you read the books as early on director Wes Ball dispenses with the original story and gives us a sadly DSAPPNTNG ending to this second installment of the sage.

Grade: D
@pegsatthemovies

Screening: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 – Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Nationwide release: Friday, September 18, 2015

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Review: “THE MAZE RUNNER” (2014) 20th Century Fox

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maze runner

Add this movie onto the list of post-apocalyptic teen romps that see’s a ‘rebel’ hero fight back against whatever system is denying him/her, except that this one is no where near as good as say the “Hunger Games” or even “Divergent” series.. It’s along the lines of a bad “Twilight” movie – wait..were any of those really good..ok..you have your answer. ha!  Let’s just say unless your in the median of 11-15yrs of age, you might end up feeling like I did..which was..”Why did I spend money on this movie when there are soooo many other films that have got to be better, to be seen. 😀

 

 

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To be fair, it’s not all horrible. Really it isn’t. It, like all the others, is also based on a book, from which I gather is A LOT better than the movie and that happens with all sorts of book-to-film projects.  My beef with this one was it just all happened so fast, you could see it all coming and it wasn’t as near as suspenseful as it could have been.  The movie follows “Thomas” (Dylan O’Brien) who finds himself transported and trapped into the Glade, an all-boys encampment of sorts, fending for themselves, where every month someone new is ‘delivered’ along with supplies.  No one has any memory of how they got there, why they are there etc. Except we know that there is a big maze which according to leader of the pack, “Alby” (Aml Ameen) goes furthers than we can possibly imagine, moves and changes every night and he has a group of the some of the boys he designated as ‘runners’ to try and map out the maze.  One problem..there is also creatures that live in the maze called “Grievers”  which is a cross between a spider & scorpion, that of course kill anyone that tries and are some of the worst movies creatures I’ve seen in quite some time.. You know the dumdedumdum roll when they announce, ‘no one has ever made it over night in the maze’  because of course that means that Thomas, our hero, is going to have to get the job done!!. ZZZZZzzzzzzz   There is the usual rumblings when he tries and then when the first girl they’ve ever had, “Teresa” (Kaya Scodelario) shows up in the transport and actually knows the name Thomas..well then everyone goes into an uproar.  This is where they could’ve really taken the film some place intriguing but failed to.

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So as not to give the entire plot away..because if you’re watching the movie and you don’t see it coming, it’s because you’re under 18.. ha! Seriously, not making that much fun of it because I like some of these movies just fine..hey I even read/saw all the Twilight books/movies..(I know I know..there were points that it was reeeally hard to do), And I find the acting by a lot of this cast to be pretty good…I especially liked “Gally” (Will Poulter), “Minho” (Ki Hong Lee), “Newt” (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and of course “Chuck” (Blake Cooper) who provided the bit of comic relief needed in this tale.  I would have probably loved this movie much more had there been maybe a more “Lord of the Flies’ element to it. I mean they tried a little to do it, but it just didn’t come off as scary, thrilling or creepy and it certainly could have used that aspect to jazz it up some.

Grade: C- if you liked Twilight you will like this  ha!   D  for all others 😀

(see grading scale)

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