Film Review: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

by Evan Brown

Rated M. Starring Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee. Directed by Wes Ball.

The Maze was Just the Beginning

I’ve seen beyond the future. The future was a dozen teenage boys and some concrete walls. Now beyond this future is even more teenage boys and an endless desert with metaphoric walls… oh and zombies… lots of zombies.

The Scorch Trials is the second instalment of The Maze Runner franchise.  Along similar lines to The Hunger Games and Divergent, The Maze Runner series is yet another film adaptation of young adult non-fiction that people born post 1997 seem to go nuts for.  For this film think Bladerunner meets Mad Max: Fury Road but for teenagers.

If you missed the first instalment let me bring you up to speed.

It’s a post-apocalyptic world and a group of teenage boys and one girl are trapped inside a mini-ecosystem called the Glade surrounded by an endless maze.  These kids seem to be immune to some sort of airborne virus that the rest of the world is infected with, so they’re put in this maze like lab rats.  Thomas (O’Brien) and Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) are the leaders of the pack and rally the disorganised group to try and escape.  Eventually they get out and get picked up by some military faction.  That’s the end of installment one.  So it’s basically Lord of the Flies but set in the future with a big maze (and Piggy doesn’t get squished by the big rock).

So The Scorch Trials begins where The Maze Runner left off.  The gang still led by Thomas and Teresa are given refugee status in a military compound however things aren’t as safe as they appear.  Thomas soon discovers that this military compound is in fact a harvest factory that specializes in the harvesting of immune children.  So he convinces all his buddies and girlfriend that they need to run like the wind or be harvested themselves.  So Thomas and Teresa with their friends leg it from the compound in search of a resistant army called “The Red Arm”.  It is on this journey they face many obstacles along the way – including zombies…. lots and lots of zombies.

Thomas and Teresa are fleeing the world they know for the idea of safety and the idea of freedom.  These ideas are all too familiar with millions of refugees scattered across the world at this very moment (except for the zombie part).  For us who live in Australia (but it’s the same for many places around the world) where the gap between the government’s ideals and Christianity’s ideals are growing ever wider it is important for us to remind ourselves where God stands in regards to those seeking asylum.  In Deuteronomy 10:18-19 we are told

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.  And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt…

Our God loves everyone, especially refugees, and he takes a specific interest in their protection and well-being.  We too should do the same by acting in love and care for them.

I can still remember watching the first Maze Runner this time last year.  I remember thinking “wow – that was more entertaining than I thought it would be…and way more violent!”  And after seeing The Scorch Trials I find myself again thinking along very similar lines.  The main characters Thomas and Teresa may lack the acting calibre that J-Law provides in The Hunger Games however Wes Ball makes up for it with his never-ending thrilling chase scenes.  You don’t need to be familiar with the first instalment either to enjoy this one.  My companion at the screening had no idea that it was the second part of a three part series and still managed to enjoy himself.  But really how much background knowledge do you need in a zombie chase?  The first movie had scary giant mechanical spiders, the second had gross mutant zombies, who knows what the third installment will have?  Fingers crossed it’s a Raptor riding on the back of a T-Rex.

I give Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials three out of five stars.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials releases in Australia today, and in the US and UK next Friday, 18th September.

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