“Scorch Trials” lets down expectations


Two hours of action, suspense, adrenaline and running — lots of running.

“Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” is an exciting sequel that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the movie. However, despite the action-packed scenes and constant sense of anticipation, I personally thought the film lacked enough substance in regards to plot to make a lasting impact.

In the film, the surviving Gladers are taken into a facility that claims to be a safe haven from WCKD, the organization responsible for finding the Flare virus (a global epidemic that turns infected humans into a zombie-like state) cure. After Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) reveals that the facility was in fact part of WCKD, he and the rest of the Gladers escape into the Scorch, a deserted landscape. Throughout the movie, the Gladers make their way across the Scorch while escaping zombies called Cranks, WCKD soldiers and other stray con men in hopes of reaching the mountains, where a rumored group called the Right Arm will lead survivors to the real safe haven.

This film focuses heavily on action scenes with the actors constantly running away from death or confinement. The convincing acting and suspense filled me with a sense of adrenaline throughout the entire movie as I was captivated to see what would happen next. All of the actors’ skills amazed me with the subtle and intricate details incorporated into the characters. Very rarely do I find myself taking note of compelling acting (I usually only notice unconvincing acting), but there were moments when I thought that the characters were portrayed well, especially that of Janson (Aiden Gillen). His chilling speech and threatening behavior of his character genuinely gave me goosebumps. Even the slightest reactions and expressions, down to the smallest smirk and twitch, added to the overall experience.

I really enjoyed the development of brotherhood among the Gladers. In the first movie, there wasn’t much brotherhood, especially with Thomas disrupting the humdrum of the Glade. However, “The Scorch Trials” allows for a stronger bond among the escapees. In every trap and trial, the young men work together to ensure everyone’s survival — there is no “every man for himself” attitude at all. The film showcases teamwork whenever a Glader fends off the Cranks while the others try to escape. The encouraging comments and moments when the Gladers risk their lives and physically carry each other to safety are truly heartwarming.

The use of camera angles and sound effects greatly enhances the feelings of uncertainty, fear and suffering the Gladers experience. The strategic use of sound added to the crescendoing orchestral effects during the thrilling scenes, which made me clamp my fists in anxiety and anticipation throughout the film. In addition, the shots of the characters’ revealing expressions help foreshadow the climax and cliffhanger for the next movie.

While the action scenes are intriguing and the cinematography is well executed, that is all there is to the film. There is no plot development, because the main aspect of the film is the group running away. While I had an adrenaline rush throughout the film, I left the theater wondering what exactly I had just watched — two hours of a group of men running from scary zombies and crazy scientists. While the static plot left a sense of emptiness to the film, the huge amount of action-packed scenes and moments of brotherhood filled that void and still made the experience worthwhile.

A movie that gets your heart pumping with anticipation, “The Scorch Trials” is definitely an exhilarating experience that takes you on an emotional roller coaster — from fear to excitement to suspense. While there is no clear development of plot as a continuation of “The Maze Runner,” it is still an enjoyable film.

By Anita Chuen, Manager

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The Breakdown

Score and Sound Effects
Character Development

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