There have been so many young adult book-to-screen adaptations that it’s difficult distinguishing between them. Each seems to blend into the other with a story’s uniqueness often lost. Whilst feeling very familiar, ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ gains some interest. A riff on the successful ‘Hunger Games’ series, the second in James Dashner’s book trilogy dazzles as its heroes tackle a myriad of murderous escapades.
Having survived a deadly maze, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) faces a new challenge. Along with friends including Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Thomas has to uncover WCKD’s dastardly plan. An evil organisation hell-bent on crushing its citizen’s spirits, WCKD meets fierce opposition. Travelling to an obstacle-ridden landscape called the Scorch, Thomas and his group take the dangerous journey with the aim of destroying their wicked oppressors.
‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ is a stronger film than its predecessor. Further establishing its own mythology, the sequel generally discards the leaden pacing holding down its initial effort. Moving briskly towards each deadly obstacle, the narrative uses its characters well. Thomas becomes a strong hero without seeming too indestructible. He makes mistakes like any person would but has the necessary conviction to make him a watchable lead. O’Brien plays the hero well with his co-stars making their characters reasonably memorable.
Wes Ball’s direction shows flair in crafting ever new deadly ways to entrap his heroes. Infusing an intriguing mix of horror, drama and explosive action, Ball knows how to handle these elements. Although the screenplay adheres to a certain formula, it differentiates itself from others due to its energetic spark. Anything can and does happen with some genuine twists maintaining interest.
Whilst ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ isn’t the eye-popping spectacle it wants to be, it still offers diverting viewing. There have been worse recent film franchises, with the sequel building enough intrigue to warrant further adventures into the diabolical labyrinth.
Rating out of 10: 6
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
Agree with Patrick's Movie Review? Then please use the comment box.
Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.