Well as they say, there’s a day for everything. And today, for the first time ever I saw a movie without having read the book first! Just as well. Because when it comes to this series, the movies are definitely better than books. Yes you heard me right. When I read the first Maze Runner book, I did like the premise but everything else fell flat for me – the characterization, the pacing, everything. But the movie corrected a lot of those mistakes and actually turned out be quite fun. So when the sequel The Scorch Trials was announced, I was ready to watch it without reading the book as I had an inkling that this would surely be the superior experience out of the two.
Now I don’t know if I am right or not, but the movie was actually pretty good!
We pick up right where left off at the end of the first movie. After the maze trials, Thomas and his friends along with Teresa are brought on-board a safe-house run by a man called Jansen (the audience immediately recognized the actor, as he’s none other than Aiden Gillen who plays Petyr in GoT). He tells the kids that they’re in safe hands now and finally out of reach of W.C.K.D (that’s pronounced Wicked, an evil group that captures kids immune to the Flare virus to harvest the cure out of them). But nothing seems to be as it appears. A secret is discovered, which takes our protagonists out into the open. What is the Flare virus? Who is on whose side? And how do you tell the good people from the bad? This forms the crux of the film.
I am not sure what the Flare virus actually does to people, but this movie plays out like an episode right out of ‘The Walking Dead’. People affected by the virus behave like zombies and a bite will infect you as well. But with that aside, I have to say that the movie mostly succeeds in keeping you glued to your seat till the very end. There’s very little character development and people we already know from the first film don’t do anything that’s too surprising. But I welcomed the introduction of new characters, especially Giancarlo Esposito playing Jorge, a character that’s right up his alley. The new girl Brenda was quite good too and we actually spend quite a lot of time with her than Teresa.
Hollywood has now become a master of creating something out of nothing and making it seem like it’s all real so let’s just say that the Visual Effects are good! I mean, the maze did really look magnificent in the first movie and here it’s the city-in-ruins that gets special mention. Everything feels organic. The background score was okay too, and very good in some parts.
If I have a problem with the film it’s only that the emotional graph is not maintained very well. Now this may have been something that’s carried over from the books, but you never quite reach the emotional high in the climax as the action insists to jog back and forth. (Remember that final scene in Catching Fire where Katniss shoots an arrow into the dome? How electrifying (pun intended) was that!) Stuff like that goes sorely missing here but still it’s not too bad. The final scene does make you want to watch the next movie, so that’s good enough.
*Images sourced from foxmovies.com