The Scorch Trials

"Weak"

The Scorch Trials Review


After the rather lacklustre teen-dystopia adventure The Maze Runner, the action continues in this equally gimmicky sequel. It's the middle episode in novelist James Dashner's trilogy, so it lacks a proper narrative structure, building through a series of action sequences that put our heroes into jeopardy. But the film never develops any suspense because writer T.S. Nowlin and director Wes Ball never bother to properly develop the characters or find an original approach to the action.

After escaping from the Maze, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his friends (including Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee and Dexter Darden) find themselves in the Scorch, a wasteland created by some sort of environmental catastrophe. They're rescued by Janson (Aidan Gillen) and taken into a sort of halfway house for lost teens, where Thomas meets Aris (Jacob Lofland), a loner who knows something nefarious is going on. Sure enough, the monolithic corporation WCKD, run by Ava (Patricia Clarkson), is using these kids because they are immune to the disease that's turning people into Cranks who maraud across the landscape. To avoid this fate, Thomas and crew plot an escape, fleeing into a devastated city, where they meet Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and feisty teen Brenda (Rosa Salazar). Pursued by WCKD, they travel on into the mountains in search of a safe haven.

Yes, this has essentially become a zombie thriller now, as the Cranks chase the kids even more relentlessly than Janson and WCKD do. The problem is that everything about this film feels familiar, from crowds of The Walking Dead to The Day After Tomorrow's abandoned shopping mall to Transformers 3's tilting skyscraper. As with the first film, the dialogue overflows with corny mythology in which everything given an ominous, cool-sounding name. It's all so constructed that it sounds utterly artificial. And the derivative action sequences are directed without even a hint of realism.

All of that said, the movie will appeal to its target audience mainly because of its bright young cast. These rising-star actors do their best with the limited roles they're given, managing to be intriguing and likeable even without much detail. And the veteran actors have a lot of fun chomping on the scenery around them. Still, after two films it's difficult to see this franchise as anything beyond a series of tests for our plucky young heroes (the title is a giveaway). Perhaps the final chapter, The Death Cure, will bring a sense of storytelling to this series. Until then, this is essentially a videogame that we watch but can't play along with.

Watch the trailer for The Scorch Trials here:

Rich Cline



The Scorch Trials

Facts and Figures

Genre: Sci fi/Fantasy

In Theaters: Friday 18th September 2015

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Gotham Group, Temple Hill Entertainment, TSG Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Wes Ball

Producer: Marty Bowen, Eddie Gamarra, , Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Joe Hartwick Jr., Lee Stollman

Starring: as Thomas, Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, as Teresa, as Minho, as Jorge, as Janson, as Ava Paige, as Mary Cooper, as Sonya, as Harriet, Alisha Heng as Rachel, as Vince, Lora Martinez-Cunningham as Thomas' Mother, Rosa Salazar as Brenda, as Joe, as Aris Jones, as Frypan, Keith Jardine as Scavenger Guard (Jim), as Ponytail, Bryce Romero as Jack

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