Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

 

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Now they’re out of the maze, Thomas and his fellow fugitives are still running for their lives in an eye-catching dystopian world.
 

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

 

Part of the intrigue of the Maze Runner saga is that we, the viewers, are just as baffled as the characters trapped in the labyrinthine plot. What the hell is going on? Or, to quote one baffled kid, “Where the hell are we?” Actually, there’s a lot of rhetorical tautology, dialogue placed into the mouths of the cast members just to fill out a page of script. When the ‘kids’ are running for their lives from a very ferocious – and speedy – predator, it’s simply dumb to stop and shout “keep going!” And, in a world of gun-wielding strangers, the catchphrase “trust me” would seem to be perverse. Everybody has an agenda. However, unlike the first film based on James Dashner’s literary series – in which the characters were trapped in an Arcadian pasture surrounded by a moveable maze of stone and iron monoliths – The Scorch Trials is a far more pictorial pleasure, dotted with fantastic dystopian landscapes. Of course, it would be much more exciting if it weren’t so stupid. No sooner have our young escapees found their way into a darkened, underground building than they all whip out a torch. When and where did they all get a torch? And, for such resourceful survivors, they are a pretty dumb lot, constantly questioning the common sense of Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), their default leader. Listen to him guys! And run! Naturally, the film ends on a cliffhanger, the better to lure us to the next chapter, Maze Runner: The Death Cure. I’m so not excited. Still, it’s a good deal more absorbing and eye-catching than the similarly themed Divergent franchise.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Lili Taylor, Patricia Clarkson, Jacob Lofland, Rosa Salazar, Nathalie Emmanuel, Alan Tudyk.

 

Dir Wes Ball, Pro Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Lee Stollman and Joe Hartwick Jr, Screenplay T.S. Nowlin, Ph Gyula Pados, Pro Des Daniel T. Dorrance, Ed Dan Zimmerman, Music John Paesano, Costumes Sanja Milkovic Hays.

 

Gotham Group/Temple Hill Entertainment/TSG Entertainment-20th Century Fox.

130 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 11 September 2015. Cert. 12A.