Friday, September 25, 2015

Review: The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials

Great Special Effects, Not So Great Story

2 stars

Mini Review:

If you haven't seen The Maze Runner, you'll find yourself going, 'Whaaa?' at different points of the movie, and rolling your eyes when you realise what they're talking about. The story lets down the super special effects. 

Main Review:

For some strange reason, I don't remember having seen The Maze Runner on the big screen, so I watched it before I went in for the screening of The Scorch Trials. In short, The Maze Runner is about a strange place called the Glade, where young boys are held virtual prisoners (they grow their own food, they live in a self-made shelter and self-created rules) between four walls. There are Runners among them who manage to run out when the walls open in the morning in order to find a way out, but have to return at sundown because there are these scary Grievers who roam the maze. An impatient boy Thomas refuses to live by rules and breaches the maze with the help of a band of boys (and a girl). 

Now Like The Hunger Games, the enemy is scary. The Grievers are giant cyborg spiders that take your breath away and not in a nice way. But the big difference between the two series is that the kids in The Hunger Games know exactly why they are in that situation. Here, the kids have no memory of why they are here and barely even manage to remember their names. But you are drawn to the similarities in the stories.

The Scorch Trials has the same problem as the second part of The Hunger Games. The story makes you say, 'just get on with it!'

And although the special effects are superb, the camaraderie between the 'good' characters is shown growing in an nice organic way, the bad characters are conflicted, the whole thing is so predictable, you start mentally ticking off 'who dies next'.

With the Scorch Trials, when you realise what it is that the kids are immune against, you just groan. This is what the whole fight is for? You've seen too many movies about starring what this movie calls 'the Flare' and even when the sequence of fighting the victims of the flare in what seems like an abandoned mall, is very well made, the novelty wears off soon.

The story seems to go nowhere after that, until there is betrayal. And even though the people who made the film think they're doing something dramatic, the audience has guessed it already. Sigh. 

And even though there's no Jennifer Lawrence to add a 'star' quality to the Maze Runner series, it stands on its own. 

You know there is part three to the tale because the story does not end and you throw up your hands saying, 'Why make this stop-gap movie?' But The Hunger Games does the same damned thing, and the kids loved those movies...

The Maze Runner has a creepy advantage (in my head) over The Hunger Games, because the kids don't know what they're doing in the maze, who is playing them or why. And that is a bigger challenge over The Hunger Games where you know who the bad guys are, and why the kids are in that 'game'. 

The two stars are earned by the special effects and the camaraderie between the characters.

See it for the big scenes and special effects if you wish, but you could just as happily watch it on dvd...

P.S. Every time I see air vents, I am reminded of this brilliant list:



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