Home » The Scorch Trials- film review by Beyond The Trailer

The Scorch Trials- film review by Beyond The Trailer

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positive movie review

IGN’s sentiment on individual actors in the Maze Runner cast:

Actor/ CharacterSentiment
Dylan O’BrienVery positive
ThomasVery positive
Ki Hong LeeVery positive
Note: Sentiment analysis performed by Google Natural Language Processing.

Full-text transcript of the Maze Runner: Scorch Trials review:


So it turns out that an unexpected side effect of having your memories erased is that you also don’t remember zombie movies. So when you find yourself fighting zombies or cranks, you end up making a lot of mistakes, although Brenda has no excuse. Yes. Welcome to my spoiler review of the Maze Runner to a.k.a. the Scorch Trials. And before we begin in earnest, I like to always give you a little bit of a heads up as to whether or not this is a movie that can be spoiled. I know some of you like to watch these reviews before you see the actual film or sometimes to see if you want to see the movie. But in some cases, that’s not a good idea. For instance, with the visit, you want to go into that movie fresh, but with the scorch trials, I don’t think there’s a lot to ruin here. I mean, it does deviate from the book. I’ve been told I don’t read the books, but a lot of this film in this franchise overall is not about twists and reveals. It’s more about the visuals and the performance of the actors. That’s very important, in particular with the sequel that, again, you know, new information being revealed. In fact, there is very little new information revealed in the sequel, and it plays a little bit more like a video game. And interestingly enough, I’m surprised there isn’t a video game for this franchise because it seemed like such a natural fit.


There is an app, but an app is not the same as a video game. I think this could be a very good video game, particularly after the sequel. Maybe they felt the first one. You get tired of running around in a maze, but they have lots of great settings for, you know, the races, so to speak, because it’s a lot of running, because it’s called the Maze Runner in this sequel. We’re going to talk about them in just a moment. But again, you’re being warned this is spoilers for the film. So if you want to go in fresh and you’re the best judge of how you should how you like to watch movie, how you should, although I think, again, it’s OK, but if you want to go in fresh, you can click right here or in the video description for my non spoiler review and then come back here after you’ve seen the movie. And also it’s noted here on the screen. But there are Chapter Times also noted in the video description. So you can jump around as you wish to different parts of the discussion. All right. But we’re I’d like to start is with the Kranks. I thought the Kranks, a.k.a. the zombies, were really cool. I mean, I was surprised that this ended up being a zombie movie in many ways. And it actually reminded me, particularly during the mall sequence, the mall action sequence of the Walking Dead experience that they have every year at Comic-Con.


I did that one year. They held it at the football. I mean, the baseball stadium. And it was it was the zombie stadium when I went. And it was really cool. And I think that there were elements of that at play here. This movie does at times seem like an attraction or a video game. And I think that’s because it’s so short on story, because it’s so short on reveals, as I said, in my non spoiler review. But what’s so great about the Kranks was their design and also the design of the disease that had infected them, which apparently could live outside of a host body, which I found fascinating. I mean, imagine if the horrible diseases that we know that we’re afraid of today could exist on their own in the outside, in the environment, and that you would happen across them. Like, what’s that? That’s a giant pile of you know, it’s in poor taste to bring up a disease that’s so horrible, obviously, and so devastating to so many people. But imagine if you could see a Bush event or a pile of it. That’s kind of what they introduce in this movie. And I really like that a lot. I wish they could have explored that more. But the character design the Kranks was also very interesting. I thought it was, for instance, somewhat somewhat unusual that they would lose limbs.


Yet they were still great at climbing after Thomas and Brenda, during that action sequence in the building, I was like, oh, they’re going to get slowed down. Now, that dude’s missing an arm, but it did not slow him down. He was able to pursue them post-haste. So I thought that was interesting. But they were very scary. I that they were that there was a good mix of CGI cranks and, you know, actual actors in very extensive makeup cranks. And just the design overall, again, was really compelling. And there was some stuff coming out of their mouths, too. And I was like, what is that? You know, why does it need to come out of their mouths? I mean, is it just so much in them that it’s trying to get out? I mean, because it can exist outside of their bodies? I wasn’t quite sure about that. But again, it was interesting to look at. So I like the Kranks quite a bit. I thought this was one that was one of the best new additions to the franchise. And I much prefer them to the grievers, for instance, let’s say. All right. So moving on to the visual effects again, Kranks very well realized, but a lot of things here were well realized. And I think that’s thanks to an increased budget. But in addition to the Kranks, the buildings in the abandoned city looked very good, a little bit resident evely there.


You know, it reminded me of that the desert, whatever entry and the resident evil franchise had Milivojevic wearing a duster in the desert reminded me a lot of that. Some. Points, but also the weapons were very well realized, that gun that fired like electric things are electrocute you basically like a futuristic taser that was cool. And then also the aircraft, they weren’t used that often, but the aircraft looked really convincing and really cool. I was like, oh, that’s nice. Let’s follow that. We can’t follow it because none of our main characters are on it. Darn. So that was good. Now let’s move on to the action sequences again. I liked the mall that reminded me a lot of The Walking Dead experience, the skyscraper chase scene. I like that they were very good at finding different already existing mazes right there. Like what? We took them out of the maze. So how about a maze of a shopping mall or a maze of, you know, a building, you know, that was running a little bit, actually, when I think of it, of San Andreas, you know, recently being trapped in these, you know, in these steel mazes. But, you know, the office offices, the fire escape, the fire stairwell, that was all utilized really well. I liked that, although I thought it was weird that the Kranks going back to them for a moment when they were chasing Thomas and Brenda. And at first it seemed like the cranks liked the darkness and didn’t want to be out in the daylight like that seemed pretty strongly established.


So when they ran into out of the tunnel, I was like, oh, the cranks are going to be able to follow them now. But, you know, it wasn’t just like one crank was like, I’m going to go for it anyway. It’s like all the cranks are OK with the sunlight. So I thought that was a little weird, although I guess more we’re chasing them that actually ended up going after them in the building. So maybe that was the case, but it wasn’t particularly explained. Also, by the way, Winston, I wanted another crank thing with Winston. I guess they felt they were immune, but as soon as he got scratched, I was like, Winston is a goner. And I was surprised that everybody in the movie was so surprised. They were like, oh, not Winston. How did this happen? I never saw this coming. And it’s like, again, you guys really don’t remember zombie movies, do you? Because if you’re going to scratch particularly like that, you’re a goner. Although I thought the makeup on his stomach when he’s like it’s spreading, I was like, oh, don’t pick at it. It looks so gross. But it was very well realized. Also, I liked when they were captured and they had to escape from hanging upside down. I’m pretty sure if you hang upside down for that long, you’ll pass out.


But that’s a movie. I understand that. But I like the way they managed to get out of it. I was like, I have no idea how they’re going to get out of this. And the way they came up with it was actually quite clever. So kudos to the filmmakers for coming up with that. That also, I guess, the other big action sequence. Well, there is the big battle at the end, but the really other big action sequence was when Giancarlo Esposito was like, I’m going to play on my favorite song. And you know what that means? Like, oh, it’s going to trigger an explosion. But even still that you knew that’s where it was going. I thought it was a nice choice of song and I thought that the payoff was good. I liked it. So let’s move on to the actors and that that’s usually how I break this down. It’s the easiest way to go through a movie. All right. So let’s start out with the star of the movie, rightfully so, Dylan O’Brien, who really does a fantastic job as Thomas. As I said, he comes my nonsecular. He comes off as a natural leader, really likable, even though he doesn’t have any memories and often doesn’t have a plan. But what was really interesting about his character that I mentioned and touched on in my non spoiler review, but we can talk about a little bit more here.


I was painting him as an Edward Snowden whistleblower type character. I thought that was a really interesting layer to add onto this and, you know, to create the idea. It’s a little political that a whistleblower is a hero. That’s a heroic character, although go to Larios character obviously disagrees. But I thought that they didn’t do a good job making it compelling from both sides. You were like, you’re crazy case. Go to Leorio. You know, chicks are horrible. More on that in a moment. But I would have liked to see maybe a more sophisticated presentation where you could argue both sides. But here it was pretty much like whistle blowers are awesome. And, you know, I guess in the way it’s presented, you know, Thomas Thomas’s character is awesome. You would side with him. So I liked that layer, that layer that was added to the film. And, you know, I wonder what kind of an effect it’ll have on viewers, you know, shaping them. You know, it’s like if they’re in the future, ever get presented with something that they might want to expose and be a whistleblower? They might well, they recall these movies and be like, I’m going to be like Thomas. So I think that’s very interesting. Next up, let’s see here. Oh, yes. Oh, something else I want. I have my notes here. If you’re wondering what I’m looking at. I thought the Dylan O’Brien also did a good job selling the romance in the movie with him and Teresa.


And I think it was all up to him. I thought the Teresa and the script didn’t do much to help him establish the romance. But Dylan O’Brien really made you feel like he cared about her and that he really was in love with her, even though I haven’t really seen any evidence as to why. But he did a really good job there. And I see some romantic comedies potentially in his future. But anyway, moving on to my other favorite actor in the film, and that’s Aidan Gillen. I thought he was great. He didn’t really have that much to do. And when when pressed, I can’t really come up with something specifically awesome that he did. But overall, he just looked good and he sounded good and he made it for a really good villain. I did like at the end when he came out of that smoke. Like, you know, like bitch slapped, you know, Dylan O’Brien, I was like, oh, it’s on, but then that escalated rather quickly. But the other thing that I thought was really great is I don’t know if anybody else caught this, but when Aidan Gillen was in that hallway and he’s like, don’t do it, guys. Don’t escape into the scorch. You’ll never survive. When Dylan O’Brien starts firing on the on the adults. I guess it’s really the kids versus the adults in these movies.


I love that Aidan Guillen’s character scrambled behind his security guards to get out of the way and to use them as a human shield, just the way he so obviously scrambled and was like not at all ashamed of looking out for himself. And that was really smarmy and really great. And but he didn’t do it, like in a weak way. He did in a strong way, like I’m the leader. I can’t get shot to the back of the bus. I thought that was good. I really I really like that a lot. I thought it was a great character moment. So next up, Rosie Salazar, you know, I’m bringing her up next because everybody made such a big deal about this character being brought into the franchise. But I didn’t really understand what was so great about her. And I’m curious if maybe there’s just something lost in the translation to the silver screen that was in the book made her more likable. But here she seemed like someone like I was like, you know, you say Hope killed all your friends. But I would think dumb mistakes would have taken you out a long time ago because, like, she went back for the picture, I mean, of her brother and you’re like Giancarlo Esposito was pretty clear about don’t forget and take everything that’s important to you and do it. Now, wouldn’t that be the first thing that you grab? Right. I mean, if you’re remembering your brother’s picture is like a oh, yeah.


Moment, then you don’t need to go risk your life to go after it. And, you know, I thought it really spoke to Dylan O’Brien’s character, you know, the character of his character, that he would always go and help people even when, you know, maybe they weren’t so deserving of that extra helping. And he’s like, I have to go back for that person. Like, if you need someone to protect, you, make Thomas promise to do it, because that is a guy who will keep that promise no matter what. And so I think that’s very heroic. And I think it’s nice to see that promoted in a film. But anyway, for Brenda, she was nice. She was a nice person. I didn’t dislike Brenda, but I didn’t particularly like her that much. I felt a lot of the times they were in trouble. It was Brenda’s fault. So that didn’t make her particularly sympathetic, like when they were being chased by the cranks. It was because Brenda wandered off in her own direction. And then when she saw a whole pile, a whole garden of disease, you decided to go for a walk in it. I was like, get out of there right now and stop for the love of God shining your flashlight on it. But, oh, by the way, with flashlights, I really appreciated the maze runner reactions to light, the flashlights and all the different tech in the mall.


I was like, you seem genuinely surprised by that flashlight. Nice acting there. So anyway, after Rosa Salazar’s Brenda, I guess let’s talk about Giancarlo Esposito, which really takes on like the primary adult role in the film. He really, though, you know, they tried to have him be this bad ass pirate, but he really came across more as like Brenda’s dad. Right. Like, your dad’s awesome, Brenda. And he even came with a minivan when, you know, when they got Bertha, you know, that truck that they ended up driving in, I was like, this is hilarious. But I have to say, Giancarlo Esposito seemed very happy to be in this movie. And so I appreciate that he took it so seriously and was glad to have the gig. But he was a very overzealous, happy pirate and I really wasn’t that scared of him. But I think he did a nice job. So I thought he really came into his own at the battle. At the end, I was like, OK, you seem a little bit more like you’re on your game and you know what you’re doing where before you seem like really haphazard. Next up, I think the other person who deserves a solo shout out is KFT. Go to Lario. She’s, of course, going to be the new Pirates movies I discussed in my non spoiler review. But I think she was really sidelined here, which is an odd choice considering how important she is to both Thomas and the storyline, because obviously she ends up being the traitor.


By the way, when she was standing on that rock, who else was like she’s sending a signal to the wicked? Although I really would like one answer. I really want out of this franchise is why did they name it wicked? Right. They’re like, you know what? Let’s name it something horrible, and then we’ll just go tell everybody wicked is good. It’s going to be one bitchin catchphrase you like. Weird. But anyway, I totally knew that’s what she had done, although, again, I would have liked to have gotten more of a a better grip on her perspective as to why she thought she was doing the right thing, because, again, as I said, she just really underscored the stereotype that women are crazy and guys can understand them, not because there’s just like a gender divide, but because women are nuts. I was like, oh, you’re making us all look bad, Teresa. Just come on. Come on, get back on track. You know, it’s like now like we only had one girl in our arms and she ended up betraying all of us. I thought it was funny that Iris, by the way, you know, it’s like everyone in his maze was like a supermodel, right? Or like a Barbie doll. I thought that was really funny. I was like, what an interesting choice by the franchise.


But overall, for the kid actors, we’ll divide the rest of the cast into kids and adults. I thought the kids were stronger than the adult team. I think they did a nice job. I thought they didn’t have too much to do, but I think they really saw a lot of the action sequences, particularly KiYoung Lee’s Maeno. I thought he was great, Thomas. Sangster, I think, because we’ve seen him before, also in Game of Thrones, you know, we’re familiar with him. So he gets a lot of our attention. And Dexter Darton, they all did a nice job. But, you know, basically, let’s be honest, the Red Shirts, I was like, I wonder if these guys know their red shirts. You know, Winston was one of them, too. And I was like, oh, Winston. Winston had a great look at you. So sad to see him go. But then what? The adult actors, I felt that outside of Giancarlo Esposito, a lot of them just seemed like a little bit like they were cashing in checks. They were paycheck gigs. I mean, they weren’t like offensive in their performances. Like they didn’t, like, make it obvious they didn’t care. But I thought it was a mix of them, like not really totally being into it. And then also their roles. Not really that fleshed out. Like I think the roles were designed for an actor to complete in the minimal amount of time. So and it’s easier, by the way, on a side note, to get a big name if you can get them for a short amount of time.


Right. It’s a lot easier to get, say, Barry Pepper, believe it or not. You know, you wouldn’t think Barry Peppers dance card would be that full, but it’s even easier to get him if you say, Barry, I only need you for like two or three days. Right. And then I’ll give you a big paycheck, fly you out here, put you in a nice hotel, and then you can get out of here. I mean, that’s much easier than I need you, Barry Pepper, for two to two whole weeks or a month. That’s going to be much harder to book that person if you make it really likable, I mean, really attractive to them. And then it’s an in and out big paycheck. That’s how you get bigger names in these kinds of films. So that’s that’s a little bit of side information there for you. And then I think finally, I want to end on the mythology in the world building. I think that this is interesting because there are different here. The world building is very well done. I believe that this world existed in particular. You know, I like the one line in the movie where I think I think it was Arace says, I hope the rest of the world isn’t like this when they discover the destroyed city.


And I know they film not in New York City, but it seemed to be like the George Washington Bridge, or maybe it was the San Francisco Bridge. It had been rendered unrecognizable by the apocalypse. But anyway, I thought that was very well realized. I like that a lot. And it did make me be more interested in what had happened here. But the mythology, it’s a choice by this franchise, as I say in my non spoiler review, not to flesh out the mythology, not to have it because all the characters memories are erased. So I think that there are pluses and minuses to that. And I think it’s all going to rely on the final entry, like what kind of payoff there is for making us, you know, kind of go in blind for this long. And so I’m curious to see how it turns out. But strong world building and so far by Design Week mythology. And once again, I want to see how it all pans out. But that’s my review of the Maze Runner, the Scorch trials. I think there’s a lot of good here. And I think this continues to be a solid and maybe even strong entry in the young adult dystopian movement. And it’s really, I think, for that fan base. So. So that’s my review. Thank you so much for tuning in. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you down below in the comments. And you can check out some other episodes right now from. And.

Other reviewers' sentiment on the Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (2015)

Beyond The TrailerPositive
What The FlickPositive
Chris StuckmannMeh
Jeremy JahnsNegative
The Maze Runner Film Franchise- series review
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