They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

Hot Mess?

After seeing the first Maze Runner (DW) (LJ) movie last October, we both ended up reading the boxed four book trilogy. We both felt it got steadily weaker after the first book. Dr. Phil's Rule of Sequels. But the maze in the first movie looked so good. I was especially interested to see what they could do with Scorch Trials.

Last weekend we were busy being entertained in the Butterworth ER (DW) (LJ), so we didn't go out last Saturday. Down to this Saturday. There was a line out the door of the small Holland 7 lobby when we got there, but most of the people were short -- we figured it was for Transylvania Hotel 2. (grin) There were ten people tops in our theatre. Good popcorn.

Maze Runner 2: The Scorch Trials [PG-13]
Holland 7 Theatre 4, 1:45pm, 2×$7.25
As is the current style with movie series, there was no backstory/intro to The Scorch Trials. Pretty much started where Maze Runner left off. I suppose this will improve binge watching the completed trilogy or for those who did their pre-lab before The Scorch Trials. Not a good standalone movie. Besides, who goes to see the second in a series without seeing the first?

Alas, the disconnect provides some confusion, as one tries to remember who the main characters are. And for books which aren't all that long and have short chapters, The Scorch Trials still suffers from Too Much Book Syndrome, meaning they couldn't fit it all in -- and as discussed below -- so they gutted big chunks of the story and rendered a couple of the new characters irrelevant.

The Cranks, infected with the Flare virus, were always going to be part zombies -- but much more so as visuals. You can turn down the volume in your head when you're reading a book. And does anyone ever use safety glass in building construction anymore? (evil-grin)

Alas, the appellation "Based upon the book by James Dasher" is pretty much appropriate in The Scorch Trials.

The Rat-Man, as I recall, is described as a sad, gray man. Jansen is called the Rat Man because Thomas sees him that way. He's called the Rat Man maybe once in the movie, but there's no context. Dumb. Worse, this guy is a psychopath who enjoys his work way too much.

On the other hand, Jorge and Brenda are nicely done, even if they cut their introduction, which would've served to explain Cranks and the Flare to the moviegoer -- instead of giving us nothing.


Mildly Spoilery For Those Who Read The Book

The Maze Runner reasonably followed the books. But for whatever reasons, the makers of The Scorch Trials managed to remove the Trials out of the Scorch. The duplicitous behavior of WCKD -- they even felt they had to shorten WICKED -- is mostly absent. Which is dumb. I can only imagine they didn't know how to shoot the terrors of the long dark tunnel, the desert Grievers and didn't feel like putting in the "competition" between the two maze tribes. Probably so they could do more zombies.


Obviously it would've killed them to make a better 2 hour 39 minute movie, than a lesser 2 hour 9 minute one. Sigh.

Bottom line -- there's some good action, but there's no attempt to really do the book or bridge properly to the first movie. By cutting down our party running through the Scorch, they get myopic. It's like how 1st season original Star Trek had busy crowded corridors, but by the 3rd season they'd cut it all down to the main core cast.

It's fun enough and the cast, when they get a chance, does some good work. But they could've done so much more. Interestingly, The Scorch Trials did well on its opening week. Not quite as good as the first movie, but then the IMAX version had to be shelved because pre-release opening of Everest in IMAX took all their screen times.

I'd say to recommend rereading Book 2 to get you back up to speed, except they cut so much story I feel such advise would only make you hate it more.

Maze Runner 3: The Death Cure opens in February 2017. They are not splitting the third book into two as has become common with the YA trilogies.

Recommended For Those Invested In The Series

Trailers: The Jungle Book -- Just heard about this the other day, probably based on the release of this trailer. Disney is going for a more realist version of Kipling's novel versus their old cartoon musical. One commenter online suggested they thought Disney might do better justice to the book this time. We will see. The voice talents are OUTSTANDING. Scarlett Johansson as Ka. Also Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, Idris Elba, Bill Murray. The 5th Wave -- Huh... Independence Day 2? No, from another best-seller novel. Series? I am not familiar with this. Trailer has to explain what Waves 1-4 are. My All-American -- The first 2015 release in this bunch. Billed as sort of an underdog Rudy story. Small energetic guy is standout high school football player, passed by every college -- until the University of Texas comes along. Fulfills his promise, but wrecks up knee before the Cotton Bowl. Will he follow the doctors or play and be crippled for life? Who can say? Based On A Real Story. Deadpool -- Next Marvel backlist superhero origin story. The suit looks like Spiderman with swords on the back. Wisecracker like Spidey, too. But We Can Build You Better After Cancer -- what could possibly go wrong? Hideously scarred underneath the mask? We'll see it -- Marvel has been batting near 1.000 with these movies. Allegiant -- Divergent 3 (originally Divergent 3 Part I -- Part II is now called Ascendant). We've read the 3½ books in the trilogy. Mrs. Dr. Phil likes these better than Hunger Games -- I put them on a close par. Of course, Hunger Games was the first of this round of YA series movies -- and the second one I read after the Uglies series, so to me Hunger Games has a particularly novel setting. Now I know there are a lot more Let's Mess Up Teens' Lives stories. Divergent looked really good. Insurgent was weaker. We know they have some high tech, but felt that the Erudite's tech as a little too much. Plus there was the ridiculous badly engineered double-wide train. Divergent is set in Chicago, including the Hancock Center and Navy Pier. Insurgent was set in the Merchandise Mart. And Allegiant was set at O'Hare in the book -- we'll see. For now, the land beyond the fence looks too apocalyptic compared to what we've seen earlier. Teased with Kate Winslet in the trailer, but all flashback scenes as they killed her off in Divergent 2.


Dr. Phil
Posted on Dreamwidth
Crossposted on LiveJournal
Tags: movies, reviews

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