Friday, 4 August 2017
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)
This sequel to 2014's The Maze Runner begins with the teenage protagonists apparently being rescued from the clutches of WCKD. Because yes, the books were the kind of fiction where the bad guys' name is "Wicked". Of course, this is YA dystopia, so the apparent deliverance is nothing of the sort, and these "rescuers" are merely the next stage of their captivity.
Thanks to the aid of another teen, our heroes pretty quickly work out that things aren't on the up and up, and bust out of the facility where they're being held. Their plans beyond that point are in theory pretty simple: head for the mountains and find an organisation called "The Right Arm", which is reputed to be at odds with WCKD. Of course, WCKD isn't likely to just let them go, and there's also the minor issue that the whole planet's descending into a fast zombie apocalypse, to complicate matters. Plus, can they really trust all of their number?
The novel The Scorch Trials is one of the (presumably unintentionally) silliest books I can recall reading, and significant props must go to screenwriter T S Nowlin for turning in a script that eschews the most contrived and arbitrary parts of the original work while still maintaining the same basic "shape" to the narrative. The resulting story might be more conventional in its details than the source material, but it's also a lot better constructed and delivers satisfying action/drama antics.
Production of the third Maze Runner film was delayed due to the main actor suffering an injury during filming, but I'm pleased to see that both the writer and director of this film are returning: I'll be quite interested to see their adaptation of the trilogy's final chapter. In the mean time, if this is your sort of thing, check it out.