ReviewWriter: Naseem RandhawaWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
"The Maze Runner", "28 Days Later", "I Am Legend" & "The Hunger Games" The Good, the Bad and the WCKD:
Where the second movie of almost every big franchise falters, this second installment of "The Maze Runner" series delivers big thrills, fast action and an engaging plot that's surprisingly better than the first movie.
Several parts have been altered vastly from the events described in James Dashner's "The Scorch Trials" book which the movie is based upon. The movie also blends in some elements from the third book "The Death Cure" to pick up on the narrative pacing thus rendering those who have read the book similarly clueless and at the edge of their seats waiting for what's coming up next.
This is not to say that all questions would be answered from the get go, as the movie would still leave audiences with a sense of confusion like the first one did, and hopefully this is all intentionally done to set a satiating premise where all will be revealed in the upcoming installment(s).
In "The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials", the surviving Gladers are no longer subjected to an actual maze, but instead find themselves dealing with another organisation that supposedly rescued them from WCKD, with their own agenda that's also very metaphorically maze-like. De facto leader of the Gladers, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien), questions the organisation's motives and convinces his group to escape into the unknown world which has been left ravaged by solar flares. In a world utterly decimated by the harsh weather and with skyscrapers buried under the desert, the Gladers face either; dying of thirst, dying from terrifying zombie-like diseased humans known as 'Cranks', or dying from fighting WCKD that's giving them chase; all while the Gladers go on a search for a resistance group called the Right Arm.
Like the cast of the "Harry Potter" movies, the acting of the "Scorch Trials" cast since the first movie has noticeably improved and seem very natural. There is no exaggerated acting here, and it's just how you would expect a bunch of teenage boys (and a girl) to act when they're scared sh*tless (FYI- that's another word that the boys keep uttering, making the dialogues seem more believable when used in tense situations that doesn't allow you for a much smarter vocabulary.)
Looking so much like a young Ray Liotta, Dylan O'Brien carries the emotional weight of being the group's leader and the oncoming catastrophes very compellingly through his subtle facial expressions that will have audiences feeling scared and sorry for him in no time. A sure hit with the ladies, his character along with Ki Hong Lee's Minho will also appeal to the guys as their sense of camaraderie and friendship are surely most males can relate to, and it helps too that the adorable Ki Hong is given more screen time in this one for some very significant scenes. Kaya Scodelario meets another female cast rival in the form Rosa Salazar as Brenda, who is much more likeable, tough and emotionally engaging than Scodelario's cool exterior. Another welcome addition is "Breaking Bad's" Giancarlo Esposito as Jorge, Brenda's parental figure and another addition to aid in the Gladers' cause.
We also have two more "Game of Thrones" actors joining Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Jojen Reed in "Game of Thrones") as Newt, in the form of Aidan Gillen as Janson, the leader of the group that rescued the Gladers from WCKD who is just as sinister as his Petyr Baelish character, and Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei in "Game of Thrones") as Harriet. Although, it is unfortunate that the new additions don't get a satisfying backstory and audiences are expected to allow them into the narrative just like how we have been trusted to get to know the Gladers in "The Maze Runner".
Wes Ball returns to direct this one and takes things on a grander scale especially since it has a much higher budget. The cinematography of the barren landscape, the facility where the Gladers are held and even the abandon shopping mall where an exhilarating scene takes place, all set the mood for an authentic dystopia. The inclusion of the 'Cranks' are quite scary as well as these 'zombies' are not your slow-moving "The Walking Dead" types, but rather the high speed running "28 Days Later" ones.
If you are patient enough in getting your "Whys" and "Hows" answered with the many questions this franchise seems to churn out (which to be honest, may put some people off), then the movie may leave you with a state of curiosity that will keep feeding on your confusion until the next one arrives in 2017, where hopefully all answers would be revealed.Cinema Online, 09 September 2015