Thursday, September 10, 2015




In this next chapter of the epic "Maze Runner" saga, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD's vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all. (C) Fox


So this is when they've run from the helicopter and walk through those big metal doors and find no one. Weird, right? ©20th Century Fox

So a year later and we get the follow up to last years sleeper hit which was also not panned by critics...

Ok so I remember watching the first one last year and I also remember saying that it wasn't a horrible piece of cinema especially when you compare it to the other stuff in the same genre. It wasn't all about whiny teens trying to prove themselves to be special. It was basically a pretty much straight up action movie that had teenagers as the main actors and the focus. Usually that results in a so-so film but last years Maze Runner wasn't a horrible watch. So what about this new one? Well, let's begin with the story which means that FROM THIS POINT ON I WILL BE TRYING TO RECOLLECT WHAT I SAW WHICH ALSO MEANS SPOILERS!! YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN NOTICE!!

So the movie picks up immediately after the first one finishes, the kids are taken to a facility in the middle of a seemingly endless desert and arrive at night. As they disembark they are told to pick up the pace and make a run for the door. Yells are heard about Cranks heading their way. You see shapes in the distance and hear shrieks and growls. They make it inside.

Inside they are met by Janson (Aidan Gillen)the guy that runs the facility. He says they're safe for the moment that where they are is a sort of way station, that they'll be taken to another place where they will be safer later. Once they clean up and are done with their health check all of them head into the cafeteria where they meet other kids just like them, escapees from other Mazes. Except for Theresa (Kaya Scodelario) who is taken away to another room for extra tests. A couple of them fill them in on what goes on in there facility as best they can. They tell Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and the others that they've just been there a few days before they came and that the one that's been there the longest is Aris (Jacob Lofland) who's been there a week. While they talk Janson comes in and tells everyone that a new group will be selected to be taken to the safe zone. As the newly selected leave the cafeteria Thomas spots Teresa being escorted away through a window as well. He tries to get to her but is stopped by the guards.

So instead of an office or maybe meeting Thomas in another quiet place it's an interrogation room. That's not very nice of him is it? ©20th Century Fox

Later in the evening while in their quarters Thomas hears rustling under his bed. He checks it out and finds Aris in the air duct asking him to follow him. Aris takes him through the ducts until they reach an air vent over looking a locked door. Aris tells him to wait. Soon they see the doctor that Thomas met earlier at his health check followed by guards pushing beds with what appears to be bodies on them. Aris tells Thomas that he's seen them do this a few times and they repeat it like clockwork. He's tried to see what happens beyond the locked door but hasn't found a way in. He also tells Thomas that he sees the bodies go in but never coming out. Before they part Thomas asks Aris why did he come to him, Aris tells him that he knows Thomas doesn't believe everything they tell him.

The next day at the cafeteria the same scene plays out, Janson comes and selects another group to be taken to the other location. Thomas tries to slip in to the group as the file out of the cafeteria but again he is stopped and this time Janson comes to see to things, he instructs the guards to take them to their room. Back in their room the others question what Thomas was trying to do and Thomas shows him the keycard that he's managed to take from the guards. Just then Aris comes out of the air duct and asks Thomas if he's managed to get it, they both disappear into the air duct despite the others protests.

Thomas and Aris crawl back to the locked doors location and drop down. Checking to see if the coast is clear they let themselves into the locked room with the key card. Inside the walk through a clean room with hanging clean suits and then spot through a large plate glass window large tubes holding strange looking creatures similar to what they encountered in the maze. Past the clean room they find themselves in a larger room and in it row upon row of kids just like them hanging by wires from the ceiling with all sorts of tubes and paraphernalia attached to them. The tubes seem to be extracting a liquid from their body and their brain. Just then they hear voices heading their way. They hide.

Of course Thomas being Thomas he can't just sit quietly in one place waiting for things to happen. ©20th Century Fox

Janson and an assistant walk in. Janson has been summoned by Ava Paige () to answer for his inability to furnish her with what she needs. Janson works for W.C.K.D. and they are harvesting the liquids drawn from teenagers like Thomas and his friends. Janson promises to accelerate his activities and orders the newest batch of arrivals to be harvested. Thomas and Aris  rush back to their room to get the others. Back in the room Thomas tells the others what he's seen after being pressed for information. The others begin to panic but soon get it together and escape through the air duct just as Janson and his team show up.

As they escape they manage to find Teresa and all of them escape the facility with Janson and W.C.K.D. hot on their tail. But they manage to lose them anyway and trek through the night until they stumble upon a ruin in the dark. They enter it cautiously and inside begin to find all manner of things left by the previous tenants. Thomas instructs them to pack and take whatever they think may come in useful while he and Minho (Ki Hong Lee) check out the area. Their explorations take them to an open area where they find the corpse of a man with a plastic bag around his head, they also find that the place once had power and begin to trace back using a bunch of wires to where the power source might be. They end up in a room with a fence up area ahead of them. Arrayed near the fence are stuffed toys and pictures. Minho finds the generator and turn it on and the lights begin to come on and just as it does a young girl with her eyes gouged out rushes at them from the other side of the fence. Then slowly around them they hear moans and groans and begin to see movement. They make a run for it.

They run back to the others with the Cranks right behind them. They run through what was once a shopping mall and escape through an emergency exit but not all is well one of them, Winston (Alexander Flores) was caught just as he was going through the door and was scratched by the Cranks.

So in one room they have tubes filled with monsters and then a room filled with teenagers hanging around like meat in a cold room. W.C.K.D. really didn't expect outsiders to just walk in did they? And who puts monster experiments next to an extraction room? ©20th Century Fox

The group now find themselves walking among the ruins of a big city. Their destination is the mountains where they believe are a rebel group calling themselves the Right Arm. They walk out of the city and begin their trek across a wide desert expanse dragging behind them on a makeshift stretcher Winston. While taking refuge from a sandstorm Winston begins to behave unusually and tries to grab the gun. Trying to find out whats the matter, Thomas asks Winston. Winston just shows him his stomach and tells him that it's growing inside him. He asks them to kill him. No one is willing. Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) gets the gun and puts it in Winston's hand. The group leave Winston.

That evening while they rest in the open desert a storm looms in the distance. Woken by the storm's rumbling Thomas looks around and spots lights in the distance. He wakes everyone else and they begin to run towards the lights with the storm approaching them fast. It's an electrical storm. Lightning lights up the night sky and strike the desert floor around them. Just as they reach what appears to be an industrial complex a lightning strikes so close to them that Thomas and Minho are knocked off their feet. Thomas gets back on his feet immediately but Minho is still. They drag Minho's lifeless body inside.

Inside they manage to revive Minho but just as soon as he's up and they begin to flash their torches around to see where they are they find themselves surrounded by Cranks held back by chains. Then a door opens on the other side of the room and a young woman stands there. She walks towards the group with Cranks trying to claw and gnash at her from either side. She introduces herself as Brenda (Rosa Salazar) and tells them that Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) wants to meet them. When they meet Jorge he asks them where they came from, where they're going and who they are. Thomas tells him that they're heading to the Mountains to find Right Arm. For their trouble the group is tied by their feet and hung upside down. Meanwhile Jorge has a change of heart and plans to escape with the group towards Right Arm and the mountains but their quiet escape is disrupted by the arrival of Janson and W.C.K.D. Jorge leads them to a zip-line and one by one they zip across to the other building but Thomas and Brenda are left behind.

Just before they were interrupted by W.C.K.D. Jorge had begun to play a record which at the end of it would trigger a massive explosion. Knowing what was going to happen Brenda and Thomas look for another way out. They manage to escape down an elevator shaft just seconds before the whole structure came crashing down on them. They find themselves trapped in a storage room but soon find another way out through a grate in the floor which leads them into the sewers. As they search for an exit Brenda finds an unusual sight. The walls of the sewer seem covered with dark red roots. As they try to figure out what they're looking at a rat stumbles out of a small opening and stumbles towards the roots where a hand reaches out and grabs the rat. It's a Crank and as it begins to eat the rat more Cranks begin to come alive and pull themselves out of the root system. Before long the Cranks notice Thomas and Brenda and give chase. They run out of the sewer only to find themselves almost walking off the edge and into a steep drop. They escape up into the remnants of a fallen office block with the Cranks right at their heels.

I actually think this was from the first movie but there's a scene just like this in Scorch Trials too. Also Thomas goes from standing near the door to standing really far away when the door starts closing. ©20th Century Fox

With the Cranks gone they climb back down to street level and walk into an area where people are still living. They walk into a square and towards what appears to be a club. At the front they ask for Marcus the man Jorge believes can help them find Right Arm. They also ask if they've seen their friends. The only answer they get is that they might be inside but to get inside they must take a swig from the bottle. They both take a drink. Inside both begin to feel the effects of the drink but split ways to look for the others. Thomas walks towards a crowd circling a chained Crank, they taunt it then shoot it in the head. Then Brenda shows up and tells Thomas that no one's there and that they should leave, as she comes closer for a kiss Thomas begins to resist and as he pushes her away she turns into Teresa. Thomas panics and turns and sees Newt and Winston turned into Cranks. He falls on the floor and begins to crawl but soon loses consciousness.

When Thomas wakes he sees Teresa and the others in the same room but in the middle of the room he sees Jorge torturing the same man he met at the front of the club. Jorge is torturing Marcus, Marcus eventually gives up and tells them what he knows. The group leave the city in Bertha, Marcus's truck.

They head towards the mountains and as they drive on a road with cliffs on either side their progress comes to a stop when the road ahead of them is full of abandoned cars. The group leave the car and begin on foot but before long and just as Thomas notices that the cars have bullet holes in them they are under fire from unseen snipers. They hit the ground and take cover behind the cars. Jorge decides that they need a distraction and hands Thomas a bomb with instructions to throw it when he says so. Just as they're about to toss the bomb two of the snipers show up behind them. As the two round up Thomas and the others one of the snipers recognizes Aris. Turns out that the two snipers that came down to round the group up were from the same maze as Aris and that the two snipers are now part of Right Arm. The group are taken to the Right Arm campsite.

This is them hiding from W.C.K.D. search helicopters. Nothing really interesting really. Nice scenery though. ©20th Century Fox

At the campsite they meet with Vince (Barry Pepper) the leader of the group. Vince checks them up and notices that something is wrong with Brenda. Brenda collapses in Jorge's arms. Vince spots a bandage on Brenda's leg and pulls it apart. He sees the marks left by the Crank when they were escaping from them in the ruins of the office building. Vince is furious at them for risking the lives of everyone at the campsite and is about to shoot Brenda when Thomas steps in. Thomas begs for him to spare Brenda's life and he's helped by an approaching woman. The woman knows who Thomas is and tells them all that there is something they can do to help Brenda. They take Brenda to her tent. The woman is Mary Cooper (Lili Taylor)she used to work with W.C.K.D. up till the moment when she met Thomas who told her that he couldn't watch kids being killed anymore and then when he gave her the codes and locations of all of W.C.K.D. facilities. At the tent she extracts from Thomas's blood the thing that W.C.K.D., Ava Paige and Janson have been taking from the young and injects it into Brenda. The extract doesn't cure but delays the onset of symptoms that eventually turn humans into Cranks.

Later Thomas, Newt, Minho and Frypan (Dexter Darden) gather but Thomas notices that Teresa is not with them. Newt tells him that she's alone up on the rocks, Thomas heads on over to see her. When he finds her she tells him about her mother about how her mother slowly succumbed to the infection, about how she kept her locked up in a room in her home till one day her mother stopped screaming and howling and when she checks in on her she finds the room covered in blood and her mother had gouged her own eyes out. She then begs Thomas to understand why she's done what she's done. In the distance Thomas spots lights hovering in the night sky and before long he hears the sound of the rotors. Teresa has contacted Janson and told them the Right Arm's location.

The attack throws the campsite into panic and disarray and in the midst of the chaos the soldiers begin to capture everyone. Vince and a handful of the others attempt a retaliation but fail when a soldier throws a stun bomb paralyzing everyone. Thomas, Brenda and Jorge manage to evade the soldiers but instead of running Thomas decides to stay telling the other two to leave. When they leave he spots Jorge's bag with his bomb and trigger inside it.

The abandoned and decaying city scenes were pretty cool and so was this. Can anyone tell me what bridge this is? ©20th Century Fox

When the W.C.K.D. have captured all of the Right Arm, Thomas nonchalantly shows up and gives himself up, just then Ava Paige arrives. As Ava approaches them W.C.K.D. soldiers escort Teresa towards her and everyone is shocked when Thomas tells them that Teresa was the one that betrayed them. When Mary begins to confront Ava she's shot in the stomach by Janson. In the commotion Janson instructs the soldiers to take Thomas but Thomas pulls out the bomb and trigger threatening to kill himself and destroy the cure that's in his blood, the others decide to go down with him, then suddenly Jorge shows up in a huge truck and begins to ram everything in sight including a helicopter. In the chaos the Right Arm soldiers take advantage and arm themselves. Vince rushes for a .50mm machine gun and begins to mow down all the W.C.K.D. soldiers. In the ensuing battle Janson is killed but Ava Paige manages to escape taking Teresa with her as well as Minho.

The next morning the Right Arm pick up the pieces of what's left and begin plans to head towards the sanctuary but Thomas decides to go back towards W.C.K.D. to try and rescue Minho. After a short discussion the others begin to understand why Thomas is doing what he's doing and decide to help him.

The end.

You come looking for help but instead you get strung up by your legs. ©20th Century Fox

So was the Scorch Trials scorchingly good fun? Or was it a trial to sit through?...

It was a bit of both. As sequels go it's I guess a perfect follow-up to the first movie. I was very happy in fact that they didn't do a re-cap of any sort at the beginning of the film to try and get those that may not have seen the first film up to speed. And actually throughout the entire film there is hardly any reference to the first film other than of course trying to remember who Ava Paige is and what she's done. Any other references to the first movie isn't there to help the story move along but merely help to establish the character's personality or motives. In terms of the story in this sequel it's primarily about Thomas and his ragtag group of friends trying to escape W.C.K.D. and get in touch with the Right Arm group and along the way they find out more about what's going on. Humans were somehow infected with something that turned them into zombies and that a corporation rose up out of the ashes and began research and trials towards finding a cure which they discovered may lie in the bodies of the young which lead them to creating the maze to whittle out the strongest and that take those that survive to places like those run by Janson to extract the possible cure from them. Simple, right?

Anyway, besides the story being fairly decent to move things along it doesn't move things along an an interesting pace that ended in a climactic and satisfying end, and yes I know this is only the second of a three part franchise. The pace was fine for the first 30 minutes or so but then began to lose a little something which then picked up again for a while before losing it again up till the end. That's what I felt watching it. The momentum was uneven up to a point where I was even a little bored.

So right after this a Zombie comes crashing down and they fight on that glass surface which doesn't break until Thomas hits it with a steel rod. Just before all that it was cracking just from her trying to get up. ©20th Century Fox

On to the performance of the actors. It's not bad to be honest. Everyone did pretty well though no one did anything really special with their roles or their delivery of their lines. Dylan O'Brien did a pretty good job in the main role improving on his performance in the first. Also he looks less whiny and pathetic in this one. I did though enjoy somewhat Aidan Gillen's performance some of the time.

Next up the visuals. The most impressive visuals were of the cities or what's left of them and of course the remnants of the bridge and the dried up sea or was it lake. I was pretty impressed with what I saw. Some of it didn't make sense but I was still impressed. Other than that it was fairly good work done by the CGI team. The only thing that didn't make sense and this will probably occur to you too at some point is that how does a city and a large body of water get abandoned and turned into a desert but somehow get over the mountains and is business as usual? The global change or whatever planetary catastrophe happen just to the cities and whatever's near them? Weird. Doesn't make sense.

Right after this scene is a club scene where both of them begin to hallucinate. I didn't think the club scene was all that necessary or good. ©20th Century Fox

All in all it was a decent follow-up to the first film. The story continues on nicely enough and the main cast have settled in quite nicely in their roles. The action is pretty good moving things along at a pretty fast pace which unfortunately does seem to slow down at times.

If you've seen the first movie by all means watch this one and I'm sure you'll like this one too. If you haven't seen the first film you don't really have to watch the first if you're intuitive enough but if you're not at least get someone to fill you in on what's happened before you watch it. No one likes to sit next to a person who constantly has to be told what's going on or what happened before. If you're looking for a time waster or something to watch this weekend this isn't a bad choice if you've watched everything else.

So the cities look like a giant sand trap filled with zombies but the mountains still look pretty good. Why the hell doesn't W.C.K.D. have their headquarters here instead? ©20th Century Fox

So I'm going to give Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials a 3 out of 5. I don't remember what I gave the first one. Have a look at the trailer below and see if it looks interesting enough.




  1. Thomas is always whiny and annoying and pathetic. Honestly. So... no Thomas/Teresa kiss? Well, I really wanted to see Dylan and Kaya kiss, given that they are the most beautiful people in the world, but whatever #TewtFTW

    1. Hi there Fmellark! Yeah, he is but he's less so this time around. Or at least that's how I feel. The kiss happened during a hallucination so maybe they didn't kiss. Dylan and Kaya huh? Are they from the book? I don't remember them in any of the movies. Anyway, go check it out when it comes out and tell me what you think. Have a great weekend!