He­roes find their way

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - Leigh Paatsch

MAZE RUN­NER: THE SCORCH TRI­ALS ( M)

Di­rec­tor: Wes Ball ( The Maze Run­ner ) Star­ring: Dy­lan O’Brien, Kaya Scode­lario, Ai­den Gillen, Thomas Brodie- Sang­ster, Gian­carlo Es­pos­ito Ver­dict: The only way to beat the heat? Never for­get to move those feet BY mark­ing out its ter­ri­tory so de­ci­sively as a boys- ier, nois­ier cousin of The Hunger Games, the Maze Run­ner saga ( based on the books by James Dash­ner) will never cap­ture hearts or ring tills like Kat­niss Everdeen and com­pany. How­ever, there is a sin­cere and straight­for­ward mod­esty to all things Maze Run­ner that grabs you from the get- go.

While pick­ing up right where the orig­i­nal left off, Scorch Tri­als im­me­di­ately al­ters its sto­ry­telling di­rec­tion quite dra­mat­i­cally.

The ini­tial Maze Run­ner premise was dom­i­nated by a claus­tro­pho­bic rat- race against time, and also an om­nipresent en­emy yet to re­veal it­self.

Now, in Scorch Tri­als, se­ries hero Thomas ( Dy­lan O’Brien) and his fel­low rebel Gladers are no longer rush­ing about for dear life in­side a con­fined space.

By the end of the open­ing act here, they have been let loose into the real world. Or, at least, what re­mains of it now that the planet has been rav­aged by the dreaded Flare virus.

Just as im­por­tantly, Thomas and the Gladers can now put a name to the face­less en­tity that has been treat­ing them like lab an­i­mals: the World Catas­tro­phe Kil­l­zone Depart­ment ( or WCKD for short).

Back when ev­ery­one was merely trapped in­side the Maze, the need to sur­vive out­weighed any need to in­ves­ti­gate why they were be­ing put through this or­deal.

While re­main­ing alive ( and a step ahead of WCKD) is still the chief pri­or­ity of all Gladers, their rel­a­tive free­dom as fugi­tives starts gen­er­at­ing some re­veal­ing and dis­turb­ing an­swers. The Gladers’ ap­par­ent im­mu­nity to the Flare virus, while not fully un­der­stood by them­selves or WCKD, holds the key.

Com­pli­cat­ing mat­ters fur­ther for Thomas as a leader are some com­pul­sory jour­neys across a for­bid­den re­gion known as The Scorch. These des­o­late, sun- crisped bad­lands have been over­run by Cranks, a zom­bie- like species that em­body the Flare virus at its dead­li­est.

To­wards the end of The Scorch Tri­als, pro­ceed­ings as a whole come down with a slight case of “sec­ond­movie syn­drome” ( where the story loses both shape and flow while the film­mak­ers hastily con­struct a launch­pad for the fi­nale to come).

There is also some ex­ces­sive vi­o­lence laced through­out the movie that sees it very lucky to have been given a M- rat­ing here in Aus­tralia. ( At the very least, par­ents of pri­ma­ryschool­ers should keep their chil­dren well away from this one).

How­ever, over­all, this is a wor­thy ad­di­tion to what is shap­ing as one of the bet­ter youth- cen­tric se­ries of its kind.

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