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Scorch Trials’ Film Abomination for Fans of Dasher Novel
Lord of the Flies, No Country for Old Men, The Outsiders, Hunger Games, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and A Clockwork Orange. These are all successful film adaptations which proved that a little hard work can result in an artistic masterpiece. As someone who enjoys movies slightly better than books in general, I think the orthodox mentality that books are ‘always better than movies’ is very outdated. That being said, Scorch Trials has failed to break the stereotypical mentality, and this blog is my rant of how much the movie disappointed me!
‘Why?’ is a strong question I’ve been repeating in my mind since I saw the film adaptation. It is a question I would love James Dashner to answer with the people involved in making this movie. Please understand that I am not particularly a negative person, instead focusing on the best in situations. Besides music, I have always considered film the second best choice of medium, many times preferring the artistic combination of language, images, and music in film compared to literature. However, throughout this film I could not help but squirm in my seat and think “no” the whole time.
The main reason I got into the Maze Runner was due to me thinking the first film was a complete masterpiece; I ran to my library afterward and read the rest of the books to know what happened. From there the book became one of my favorites of all time. I don’t understand why the filmmakers not only denied most of the unique plot in the novel, but also blatantly didn’t follow the same movie characteristics as the first film to achieve success.
I suppose for people who have no idea who James Dashner is, their questions were answered in this second film. My dad, who has been waiting the same time as me to see the second film and hasn’t read the books at all, was as extremely disappointed as I was (before I even listed all the things not in the book.) To speak positively, the film was action-filled and somewhat entertaining—I particularly liked the way they brought the scene with Marcus and the party to life in an interesting way. However, there are two thinks that irk me most in this film, which I have listed below.
1) Scariest/Best Scenes Cut
All the moments that scared the poo out of me while reading the novel aren’t in the movie. My favorite moment with the giant ball. The scene where Jorge falls from the tops of the ceiling onto Thomas and his group standing in darkness. The disgusting pod creatures. Last but not least, the terrifying Crank without a nose in the subway! The book makes Cranks a lot more human, causing everything to be more terrifying when they speak, opposed to the film’s effective but not disturbing demonic skeleton zombies. These are the interesting things that stood out as original in the novel, compared to other end-of-the-world stories.
2) No Character Development
While the first book and film featured lots of character growth, this movie hardly fits the bill, considering most of the words said during it were “let’s go!” and “are you okay?”. Everything feels quick and rushed, something I’m sure the filmmakers were under pressure for the time limit. At the same time, some places are really slow and we don’t see a continuation of the characters we have grown to love from the first movie. Minho, always the wisecracking clown, had the best one liners in the novel and not seeing that was a shame. Brenda was very sassy and bold, compared to the badass yet meek actress on screen.
It’s not just that they cut personalities, but I believe the decisions to cut lots of the plot stunted the character growth as well. This is mainly due to the fact that the filmmakers refused to make the characters continue their second “trial” that it is in the book. Many times our hero Thomas is torn between two things and has to weigh the two outcomes—Wicked being bad or good, the choice to keep in the controlling chip implant, Brenda or Teresa. I believe the actors did a great job considering what they were given, nonetheless, in the film decisions seem so fleeting and there isn’t drastic conflict.
Without these two major components, the Scorch Trials didn’t do a lot for me. It is just like other post-apocalyptic films, lots of action but lacking substance. Furthermore, it doesn’t quite stand up to the visually stunning and fairly paced Maze Runner, which unlike the second movie follows plot outstandingly.