Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Film Review
By Meredith Atkinson
Need a good movie to see this weekend? If you’re looking to see one more young adult film based around a corrupt, dictatorial government to add to the list, here’s my suggestion. Based on The Maze Runner book series,Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is the newest installment in yet another young-adult book-turned-movie series based on a dystopian society.
We follow the rag-tag team through the second phase of “tests” as they search for clues about the ominous W.C.K.D. government that wants to contain and monitor their every move. Only this time, the rebellious attitudes that led them to the reward of escaping from The Glade now seems to only hinder their quest for freedom.
While Scorch Trials offers a lot of the same features as its fellow sci-fi YA counterparts The Hunger Games and Divergent, including a confident outsider sent to make a change in their respective corrupted societies and a band of loyal (yet extremely doubtful) band of followers, this film also differs from its brother-films in its presentation of “good” and “bad.” Even our hero Thomas (Dylan O’Brian) has doubts about who the enemy of this film really is. As he leads his fellow Glade members and some new friends through their second test, The Scorch, Thomas seems to instill more and more doubt in his followers as he seems to only get further from the answers that they need.
As in many YA series, this film goes out of its way to convey over-the-top tension in the plot. There is never a moment when the characters are not suffering. If they aren’t running from monsters or sandstorms or being shot at by W.C.K.D. militants, they are suffering from heat exhaustion or mourning the losses of their friends. This overload of dramatic panic sometimes pulls the audience out of the story due to lack of realistic action. One can only expect so much realism in a science fiction dystopian young adult film where zombie-like creatures and a corrupt government are the leading antagonists.
What Scorch Trails lacks in believability, it makes up for in interesting character development. As the young men (and their lone female companion, Theresa) sprint their way across a desert, Thomas begins to get his memory back about who he is and what they are looking for. Theresa (Kaya Scodelario) also regains her memory, as she spends many scenes of the film isolating herself, gazing across the desert, and pondering if the team should really be running away or turning back. Theresa’s mysterious contemplation is at the forefront of this film’s diversion away from the clear path of the “good” and the “bad” present in other dystopian societies.
When you sit down to watch Maze Runner: The Scorch Trails, prepare to be exhausted from your journey alongside Thomas and his remaining Glade buddies as your allegiance to characters is tested and you too search to find out, how truly wicked is W.C.K.D.?