Having escaped the maze in the last movie the ‘gladers’ now find themselves in some sort of institution in which people are apparently being taken to a safe haven. But Dylan O’Brien – everyone’s third favourite YA dystopia lead – suspects something is up. And after closer inspection it turns out something in fact was up, so he escapes with all his pals and they then try to find some other god guys in the desert, sorry the ‘scorch’.
Scorch trials is your standard middle film. It details people going from one location to another location, with some obstacles. The obstacles being zombies (they aren’t zombies, but they are), other humans and it generally being kind of dry and warm. However despite it essentially being set up to be really dull, it’s not bad at all.
So I think by now we’ve all gathered that the Maze Runner series is just not as good as The Hunger Games. And as such Scorch Trials isn’t as good as Catching Fire. It’s less political, it’s less exciting and it has less engaging characters. But if you forget for about two hours that you could just watch Catching Fire again, I think there is enough in Scorch Trials to warrant viewing. There are some genuinely tense moments, there is a particular chase sequence that takes place inside a fallen skyscraper than has you on the edge of your seat. And the zombies are fairly well done. Although it does tend to lull when people aren’t running.
Unfortunately Dylan O’Brien just isn’t a very charismatic presence. And where in the first hunger games Will Poulter stepped in to pick up the slack, he isn’t present in this instalment. And so in the talking sections of the movie it does tend to be quite dull. Aiden Gillen and Giancarlo Esposito do step in to try and wake the audience up, but they don’t really have the screen time to be truly effective. Also as a general point about the series it just seems to lose out to other YA films. It suffers from being second of third best in every department, but you know what because of this I feel myself kind of rooting for it. It doesn’t make much sense, the leads are uninspiring and I’ve seen it all before. But it’s kind of charming.
Overall, Scorch Trials is the film for you if you liked Maze Runner and have seen The Hunger Games too many times but still kind of want to watch it again. Too long and a little bit dull, but there are parts that genuinely have you on the edge of your seat.