No rest for the WCKD

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased out now! 12A | 131 min­utes

Di­rec­tor Wes Ball

Cast Dy­lan O’Brien, Kaya Scode­lario,

Thomas Brodie- Sang­ster

“The Maze is one thing,” slurs Ai­dan Gillen’s Jan­son, “but you kids wouldn’t last a day out in the Scoooorch.”

He’s not to­tally wrong: the huge labyrinth of last year’s The Maze Run­ner – where a group of am­ne­siac boys ( and girl) found them­selves trapped – is gone. In its place is... well, ev­ery­thing. Se­quel The Scorch Tri­als aban­dons its USP al­to­gether – boldly open­ing up, for bet­ter and for worse, into some­thing en­tirely dif­fer­ent.

It picks up right where we left off: with Thomas ( Dy­lan O’Brien), Teresa ( Kaya Scode­lario) and the other “Gladers” on the run from WCKD ( World Catas­tro­phe Kil­l­zone Depart­ment). Hav­ing es­caped their lab, they ven­ture out into a post- apoc­a­lyp­tic world rav­aged by so­lar flares: where cities are now ru­ins in the desert, and a dis­ease has ren­dered most of the pop­u­la­tion berserk, scream­ing zom­bies. This is the sprawl­ing Scorch, and it looks beau­ti­ful.

Free of the Maze’s claus­tro­pho­bia, di­rec­tor Wes Ball runs wild; there’s barely a se­quence here lack­ing style or imag­i­na­tion. The ac­tion scenes, too, are ur­gent and master­fully paced; es­pe­cially one in­volv­ing a zom­bie at­tack in a mall. Com­pared to other YA ef­forts, this is far more grim and gory.

Even so, such mo­men­tum works hard to mask a flimsy, un­fo­cused script. Ac­tion is one thing, but the film also needs a bet­ter- de­vel­oped sense of mys­tery – as well as a deeper ex­plo­ration of char­ac­ter re­la­tion­ships and a wit that goes be­yond tired lines like, “well, that doesn’t sound good.” When the dust set­tles The Scorch Tri­als is, as we’re re­peat­edly told of WCKD, “good” – just not as good as you want it to be. Stephen Kelly

Want your name in the next book? En­ter this com­pe­ti­tion by 19 Oc­to­ber and you might: http:// bit. ly/ scorch­maze.

De­vel­op­ers had ru­ined Ta­tooine.

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