Movie review by David Blackwell
131 minutes, rated PG-13
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox/ Temple Hill Entertainment/ Gotham Group
Theatrical RELEASE DATE: 9-18-2015
THE SCORCH TRIALS is an exciting action packed sequel better than THE MAZE RUNNER. It picks and chooses what elements from the book it wants to have this movie that very loosely follows the second novel in the THE MAZE RUNNER series. Even though the narrative in the book makes more sense, I like the movie better than book (where I still think the novel of THE MAZE RUNNER is still better than the movie). It is always challenging to adapt a novel into a two hour movie and by giving more of a face to the bad guys of Wicked (WCKD), it helps the narrative of the movie as Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends from the maze must brave the scorch to get to the mountains while running from the disease transformed Cranks and the soldiers of WCKD led by Mr. Janson (Aidan Gillen) that hunt the ones immune to the Flare. THE SCORCH TRIALS is a successful adaptation even though it doesn’t follow many parts of the novel while having some scenes and characters that fans of the book will recognize, but the screenwriter must condense any novel when turning it into a screenplay as is the case with THE MAZE RUNNER and the scorch trials. If you want movies that follow the books closer, THE HUNGER GAMES series and the DIVERGENT trilogy follow the material more successful than THE MAZE RUNNER movies do. Many of the changes in the movies improve on the source material even though a little longer movie could have fleshed out the new characters that have very little character development (Brenda, Jorge, the Right Arm group).
THE SCORCH TRIALS has some nice visuals and special effects along with great casting and a sweeping sci-fi music score. The landscape of New Mexico lends itself as a character to this sequel as much as Georgia did to THE MAZE RUNNER. I can’t wait for the final movie (which 20th Century Fox wisely decided not to split up the final book into two movies) even though the ending deviates from the book ending, but I think THE MAZE RUNNER movies have to be treated as their own separate thing from the novels.
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