Thoughts on The Maze Runner – The Scotch Trials (2015)

The Maze Runner – The Scotch Trials, well, I’ve never been so scared in all my life. Very rarely do I go into a movie not really knowing what to expect – but omg zombies!

SPOILERS!!

So straight on from the last movie where the kids got out of the maze, we are back where we left off. The kids have just been “rescued” and are taken to a facility where they are now saved. It feels a little like the movie, The Island. The kids are locked away and not told much but when their name is called out, they get to go to The Island, eh, I mean the Farm. Without having any further questions about the outside world, who anyone is, why they were put in a maze, why they were chosen, or anything of that kind, the kids believe the adults – only Thomas seems to have his doubts and follows a nerdy-loner kid into a vent to find out the real reason they’re here now.

When Thomas finds out that WCKD is indeed still up and running, does he decide to leave. Even though he doesn’t really know who WCKD is or its intent – he just has some scattered memories. And with that – the kids blindly follow Thomas into the “scorch” to find an army that may or may not really exist.

I wanted to address my problems with the movie. I, for one, have not read the book and am only going on by what my sister has told me – but for starters, the movie is COMPLETELY different to the book! For a movie named the Scotch Trials – there really is no “trial” to speak of. In the books, the Scotch is a second trial. WCKD let the kids escape for whatever reason, but in the movie, this seems to go out of the window. WCKD want to find a cure but they it also turns a little like The Island or maybe even Daybreakers, where the kids are drained of life.

I’m not going to go too much into spoilers. But the zombie scenes are terrifying! I had actually forgotten that zombies – well, they aren’t technically zombies, they’re just infected humans bbbbbuuuuutttttt – I had to look away from scenes numerous times. Especially when it came to the tunnel scene. I’ve watched enough scary movies to know when a scary scene is coming and I look away whenever I sense something is near. Seeing a photo of a sweet little girl – she’s going to be a zombie. Heading into a dark tunnel with a mutant rat – that rat’s going to get eaten. It’s Horror movie 101.

I also have a problem with forced love stories. Let’s discuss Thomas, our hero, our protagonist – he’s pretty bland, vanilla, beige. He doesn’t really seem to have much of a personality – if he does have one, he seems to have lost it when he lost his memory. Thomas is in love with the equally bland Teresa. I’m not really sure why because the two hardly seem to speak much. She throws in a joke along the way that they “have to stop meeting like this” as she sits beside him watching him sleep. I can only imagine that this attraction must be sexual because there is no chemistry at all. Perhaps it is bad casting, but I think it may just come down to lack of story/dialogue between the two. I understand Thomas cares about his fellow maze runners and this shows him as a caring, compassionate character, but apart from being brave and a little bit naïve, he really doesn’t have much going for him. Although, he does have leader written all over him. And the kids trust him – but I imagine this is for no other reason than they also don’t really have any other choice.

Anyway, back to the romance, along their journey, Thomas and his new pal, Brenda are forced to drink mouthwash – which is naturally drugged, and causes nausea and horniness. Brenda comes on pretty strong to Thomas and starts sucking his face – only for the camera to pull back from Thomas’ point of view and see he’s imagining her as Teresa. Brenda, having just met Thomas, and spending a night in a dark tunnel, now apparently is madly in love with Thomas – is it the drugs? Does she just love vanilla? Who knows, but bring on the bland love triangle.

I know it seems like I’m tearing it to pieces – and I guess I am. It isn’t that it’s a bad movie – it just really does not make any sense. I guess I’m stuck on the word “trial”. Where is the trial? We hardly seem to know who the antagonist is and why we should really fear them. They are trying to come up with a cure – I guess draining kids isn’t the right way of going about it – but with a cast so bland, do we really care?

Take us back to the maze, and show us who makes the mechanical spiders. I actually feel like the trailer of the sequel makes more sense than the movie itself. It seems to show that we are going to find out why Thomas and the others were chosen to enter the maze, but we don’t really. It is in the book but the movie seems to have completely gone down a different path.

So here’s what I can gather the differences between the movie and the book are:

The book: The kids escape the maze, are let to escape the facility where they unknowingly face the scotch trials. They face zombies, the cast is separated into two groups, Thomas and Brenda are drugged and make out – and Teresa does betray them. But they never reach the right arms, plus Brenda is all part of the trial. She’s also immune to the virus and does not actually face turning into a zombie.

The movie: The kids escape the maze, the kids escape the facility, the kids enter the scotch and are chased by zombies. The cast gets separated, Thomas and Brenda get drugged and make out., reunited they find the right arms, Teresa betrays them, WCKD shows up and starts shooting up the place, Thomas considers blowing himself and his friends up (to which his friends seem super on board with. “Hey, let’s all get blown up! Yay!”), they escape but they decide that they must not rest until they rescue the others.

I feel like this movie raises so many questions – but I would say, so does the first one. We really enter both movies with no idea where it is going. I hear, that’s a little how you feel when you read the book but I can’t comment. I can’t help but think throughout the movie ‘Why are they doing this?’ ‘Why don’t they do this?’ etc.

This movie has a big horror-feel about it to at times. I don’t believe in comparing movies to other movies – but it does feel like the people decided to take ideas from a lot of other movies and stick them in this. There’s a lot of clichés and predictable plot points along the way.

I feel like I’m really getting fired up because there is just so much in this movie that doesn’t make sense. So much common sense is just thrown out the window. Also, if you’re struck by lightening, can you just magically get better and then hang upside-down for an hour or two? I’ll just get struck by lightening, hang upside-down for a hour, fight some bad guys and then go down a flying fox. No sweat.

“Come meet our leader” “Should we Thomas?” “Sure. What’s the worst that can happen?”

THOMAS, YOU’RE AN IDIOT!

This movie has a lot of things wrong with it. Things often don’t make any sense but the most annoying thing is that there is really no motivation for any of the characters. They just follow blindly from one group to the next. I have a pretty big imagination and I’m very open to things – but there are just so many problems with the story. Saying this though, I didn’t actually not enjoy it – I know it sounds like I do but the movie had so much potential to be better than it was – and I can only blame the movie industry for wanting to turn it into something else.

All up, it’s not a bad movie. It isn’t. It’s just not what it could be nor what it should be – and that’s what I find so frustrating. Maybe this movie would have worked better if it wasn’t a sequel at all because the two movies feel too disconnected from each other. I really enjoyed the camera work when Brenda and Thomas are escaping from the tunnel. That was probably the highlight. Alan Tudyk does well to try at giving a character some charisma, in an overall sea of bland characters, but the writing and lack of material lets him down – although top marks for his efforts.

If you’ve read the book, I’m not sure what you’re going to think. Perhaps it’s a good thing that you’re going to see a movie that doesn’t resemble the book at all. If you go in with an open mind, I’m also not sure what you’re going to think. I’ve read both good and bad reviews of the movie but to me, it’s not good, not great. Just okay for what it is.

So in conclusion:

  • If you’re being chased by bad guys – don’t turn on lights, torches, flashlights etc.
  • If you’re being chased by bad guys – don’t assume that they have stopped chasing you.
  • If you’re being chased by bad guys – don’t assume that you know what their motives are.
  • If you’re being chased by zombies at night – don’t assume that they don’t come out during the day.
  • If you don’t know who to trust – don’t trust everyone you meet – especially when you’ve been told how important/valuable you are more than once.
  • If you’re being shot at – don’t just assume you know who they are and what their motives are.
  • If you’re being shot at and you can’t see where they are shooting from – don’t think they’re stupid enough to fall for a diversion long enough for you to jump in your car and get away – because I’m sure they won’t have time to shoot you from afar when you drive off.
  • If you’re forced to drink something as payment for entry to find your friends – maybe wait outside the building for your friends to come out instead.
  • If you’re told to blend in – don’t look around looking like you don’t know where you are or where you’re going.
  • When you’re seeing if your friend is okay after being struck by lightening, don’t forget to check your surroundings first.

Lastly. If you don’t know something –ask questions.

Ugh, it’s almost not worth it.

Overall, I think the moral of the story is not to trust that sneaky guy from Game of Thrones.

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