Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

Director: Wes Ball

Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong Lee, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Rosa Salazar, Lily Taylor

The whole kids versus ‘the system’ thing has run its course in my book. But you know Hollywood, they’ll keep pumping out movies based on the latest young adult hit novel until the whole things been bled to death. The Hunger Game movies are a huge bore for me; all they do is talk, talk, and then talk some more and it’s not even good dialog. For example Insurgent (2015), the latest sequel from the Divergent series was such a letdown of a film! Nothing happens! Worst part is that I actually enjoyed the first one! Even worse is that Naomi Watts and Kate Winslet were on this thing! Which brings me to the problem with some of these franchises: Hollywood will do a good first film to kick the franchise of and then follow it with watered down, less than stellar sequel. When it comes to franchises, sometimes Hollywood doesn’t pay much attention to sequels because they figure we’ll see whatever they pump out, because they’ve already got us hooked. They figure we’ll pay for a shitty sequel because we just gotta know how it ends. Well, I got news for you Hollywood, I’m not gonna fall for it! I’m not seeing the next Divergent film! That franchise is dead in my book. I’m sick of Hollywood stretching out films with unnecessary dialog just so they can pump out another extra sequel! What’s this sucky new trend where they turn the last film in the franchise into two films? Its bullshit I tell ya! So of course, I went into Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015) with extremely low expectations. Was this to be another stretched out, shitty sequel?

In the first film, Thomas and his crew of misfits managed to escape the maze in which they were living in, yet the question remained, who is running the show? Why where they placed in this maze in the first place and what comes after you escape it? As we soon discover, the kids haven’t escaped the clutches of ‘Wicked’ just yet, which by the way is the name that they have for the government on this series of films. That’s right my friends, the government on these films is so evil that it’s called ‘Wicked’. So anyhow, the kids have to run yet again and escape into the wild and crazy scorched earth; a post apocalyptic waste land filled with infected zombie like ex-humans. You see humanity has been infected by a deadly virus for which there is apparently no cure. The government is trying to find it, but with no success! Apparently Thomas’s blood is what can save humanity! Will the wicked government ever capture Thomas and manage to harvest his blood?

The good thing about these Maze Runner movies is that they are not boring, as opposed to The Hunger Games and Divergent films. Sure they got their expository dialog, but it’s quickly followed by action and interesting visuals. This movie has some pretty nifty action sequences, and staying true to its title, they actually do run for most of the film, this is without a doubt a chase film. So in this sense you can rest easy, the film won’t bore you to tears. And another good thing it has going for it is that it’s visually interesting. There’s this moment where the kids are running away from a thunder storm which I thought was pretty cool from a visual standpoint. There’s another sequence where they have to run away from a zombie horde while running through a series of toppled down buildings which was fun.  So while the whole theme of young kids versus the system is getting pretty old by now, The Maze Runner series is keeping things interesting by telling their tale with an emphasis on action. So kudos to the filmmakers for that!

The thing with this series of films is that there’s a shroud of mystery throughout the whole series of films. We’ve yet to fully understand why these kids were put in that maze in the first place, the answers are alluded to, but never fully answered, which I think is a successful element in these films, they want to keep us guessing. Keep it a mystery and people will want to come back for the next film. A new addition to this film was the whole post apocalyptic angle. I love post apocalyptic films and the icing on the cake is that we also get zombies on this one, now there’s a surprise! So for a while there, this turns into a zombie flick. Sans the gore of course, because we gotta keep it ‘PG-13’, can’t forget our target audience here are teens. Still, it was a pretty intense and fast paced film. The characters were likable, I thought it was interesting how each of the rebels is from a different ethnicity as if to make sure kids from all over the world are represented on the film, which reminded me of Children of the Damned (1964), which did a similar thing. This is probably done to give teens from all parts of the world a character they can identify with. I liked that they made the Asian guy a kick ass character, but the black guy does next to nothing, so I guess Hollywood still has to deal with giving black characters more substantial roles. To me, each one of the kids should have their moment to shine, not just the white guy. This is director Wes Ball’s second film, his first was The Maze Runner (2014), so this guy has two for two in entertainment value in my book, let’s see if he can keep it up for the third one. I’m curious for Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2017), let’s hope they don’t stretch that one into two films.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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