FILM REVIEW: Everything Is Wrong with “The Scorch Trials”

For those of you who have read the Maze Runner series in its entirety, you are in for a huge disappointment. James Dashner’s works have been almost completely re-made, warping the plot line of the story at almost every turn. Honestly, what’s the point of making a book adaptation if you’re not going to stick to the script?

When my sister, Natalie, and I went to the movies on October 3rd, the only thing that worried me was seeing the Cranks: disease-ridden people half out of their minds with emaciated bodies and a thirst for blood. I ended up being one of the loudest people in the theatre, hissing things like “that’s wrong,” “that never happened,” and “that doesn’t make any sense.” It was even worse than what they did to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series!

Here’s the breakdown for you: the Gladers have escaped the perilous Maze from the previous movie and were all taken to a safe place with beds, dressers, and food. Soon enough, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the others begin to realize that they’re not so safe after all. Now in the movie, Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) was separated from the other Gladers as it is written in the book, but they weren’t supposed to find her until after they made it to the Scorch, the desolate desert remains of the Earth. And right off the bat Thomas, Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), and the Gladers learn that there were other mazes like theirs and countless others were put in the same experiment conducted by WICKED (World In Catastrophe Killzone Experiment Department). Wrong! There was only one other group besides the known Gladers called Group B where the population was predominantly female. The lone boy, Aris, was swapped with Teresa and put with the Gladers. He didn’t just decide to join them!

Secondly, Janson – a scientist at WICKED – was supposed to inform them that they’d all caught the Flare (an airborne, highly contagious virus that slowly destroys the brain) and that they’d receive a cure in the safe haven on the other side of the Scorch. In the movie, Janson lied and told them they would personally send the teens to the safe haven. Thomas and his friends then ran away because they realized Janson worked for WICKED and journeyed across the Scorch in the hopes of finding the resistance organization hidden in the mountains. No! The resistance movement, known as the Right Arm, wasn’t even mentioned until The Death Cure, the third and final book in the series. Way to ruin it for everyone!

Furthermore, Thomas, Teresa, and Aris were supposed to share a special telepathy connection. In the book, WICKED was supposed to somehow block communication between Thomas and Teresa, making it nearly impossible to find out what happened to her. Aris’ telepathy partner, Rachel, had been killed in the Maze and yet for some reason she was alive in the mountains! What? Thomas was also going to learn that Aris had secretly been communicating with Teresa behind Thomas’ back, despite telling them he didn’t know anything about her. His role was completely downplayed in the film and the huge betrayal scene was wrecked. Supposedly Teresa called WICKED and gave them the location of the Right Arm. WICKED was never chasing them in the first place! All they wanted was to test the Gladers like they tested them in the Maze.

The only things that were accurate was the lightning storm in which Minho nearly died, Thomas and Brenda’s journey under the Scorch and her attraction towards him, the hazy drunk scene at the rave, and the camp in the mountains (though they made it a cross between the Right Arm and Group B). Other than that, the amount of things Wes Ball changed destroyed all the bits of logic that held the story together. Sure the action and suspense made it interesting, but the movie served only to create frustration and confusion.

I could completely relate to Maddison Field’s comment on the IMDB website when she said, “I was so excited for this movie and I’m going to be honest, I left the cinema fuming with anger.” Another comment by BasseSebbe had my stamp of approval: “Do it again and do it right!”

The IMDB website may have rated this movie a 7/10, but clearly a wide majority has not read the book and therefore do not share my wrath. Wes Ball, I award you a dazzling two stars for butchering a wonderful story.