‘The Scorch Trials’ movie review
By Lauren Paulsen, Senior Columnist
When James Dashner’s The Maze Runner first came out, I was in my teens. When I started reading the novel, I had no idea how hooked on the story I would become. I finished it the same day that I got it from the library. As we know from watching the movie adaptation directed by Wes Ball, The Maze Runner ends in a cliffhanger. I waited obsessively for the sequel to come out. When I finally got my hands on it, I devoured it. The same has been true for the movie adaptations, despite the movie plot only loosely following the novel’s plot.
I’ll start with a peeve that I had with The Scorch Trials: some of the characters were not as fleshed-out as they were in the books. I spent the entire movie unable to remember one character’s name because he was always in the background, yet, after looking up what his name was, I remembered he played a bigger role in the book. I do understand that time constraints for a movie make it impossible to have everything from the book in it, so I do forgive this transgression.
However, one thing that I wish the director had done is at least delve deeper into Thomas’s relationship with Teresa. I couldn’t feel the same connection that I did when I was reading the novel because so much was glossed over with their relationship. I feel that this was too important to cut down, and that choice lessened the impact of certain events. I felt this in the first movie as well.
That being said, I still absolutely loved The Scorch Trials. The suspense was done really well—I could feel my heart racing during certain scenes, and one jump scare actually made me let out a little scream because I was so engrossed in the movie. The actors brought the characters to life wonderfully, particularly Dylan O’Brien, who played the protagonist, Thomas. I can’t imagine anyone playing this role better than he did. My emotions were definitely toyed with, and I found myself teary-eyed more than once.
There’s something about putting kids through terrible trials over and over that just gets to me. We all know another famous dystopian that has done this, so it’s not a new concept. But it is still very engaging, as we empathizewith characters that we feel a connection with. I definitely felt that here, though less so with the characters who were pushed to the background.
I predict that it is going to be inevitable that people will compare The Scorch Trials’ plotline with other zombie media. It definitely has that zombie apocalypse vibe going on with The Flare infecting people and turning them into mindless cannibals. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dashner pulled some of his ideas from zombie lore, especially since the novel came out when zombies were starting to gain popularity. However, the movie adaptation felt closer to a zombie flick than I remember the novel being. I do concede that may have to do with the fact that I have seen zombies in the media for much longer now than when I first read the novel. I may just have to read the novel again to find out.
I would definitely recommend seeing The Scorch Trials whether you read the novels or not. I do warn those whom have read the novel that they should not expect the movie to follow the same plotline. I hadn’t been expecting that, but found that I actually liked the changes because they kept me wondering what would happen next, something that I don’t always get to experience when I’ve read the novel and then watched the movie adaptation. I feel that Ball managed to pull it off well. I am definitely looking forward to finding out how this story ends in the final movie.