I’d call this a review, but in all honesty it will be much more like a rant. I’m a huge fan of books and films, and review both equally, so not only will I be reviewing this film as an adaptation of the book, but also as a stand-alone for those who haven’t read the books. This is going to be long… I have a lot to say.
To begin with, it was most definitely the worst adaptation of a book I have ever seen. The Maze Runner trilogy (and prequel) are a selection of my favourite ever books. They are the only young adult series I’ve read that has such an arc/mystery to it, and when you remove that element you’re simply left with a bunch of wild, homeless teenagers running around mazes, deserts and medical facilities. That’s exactly what the film adaptation did. It stripped the film of it’s mystery and directed it primarily at those who haven’t read the books, so it was easy for them to follow. Pet peeve of mine: companies selling out amazing ideas or stories to make them more profitable!
First, let’s take a look at the quality of the film if we’re ignoring the fact it pissed on my memory of the book.
Visually, it really is beautiful, but aren’t all films nowadays? The capability they now have when making movies is so astounding that it would be more of a shock if the CGI was bad or non-existent.
Thomas (played by Dylan O’Brien) is brilliant and it was a perfect casting choice. He is a wonderful actor, and I can’t imagine anybody else in his shoes.
Teresa is an irritating, moody teenager, constantly moaning. It’s hugely disappointing considering her epic, mysterious role in the book. Her intervention ruined the gladers plans, simply because of an unexplained memory that she suddenly had come back to her because of WCKD’s poking and prodding. Explaining what memories or why or how apparently didn’t occur to the writers of the movie.
My favourite goof of the movie simply because of how stupid it is: a full death scene was cut leading to a massively random loss of a character mid-film! To avoid spoilers, I’ll keep this brief, but 8 gladers are swarmed by cranks, one is injured and he eventually dies. So, 8 – 1 = 7 survivors, yes? The next full shot of all the surviving gladers is a beautiful silhouette shot of 6 gladers walking across the dunes. Why? Because a terrifying looking death-by-crank from the trailer was completely cut and the missing glader was never noticed or explained. Good job!
The cuts between shots were laughable. In fact, me and Matt were sat chuckling away at some of the terrible examples. My favourite is during a shot of the gladers wandering disorientated through a sand storm and one yells “we need to find shelter!” with such desperation that you’d think this is going to be important addition to the movie. Cut, quickly, to all gladers now just sat relaxed, drinking their water bottles with absolutely no signs of discomfort from the previous terrifying storm they were stranded in…
They kept drinking, but where they found the water in the middle of the Scorch (desert) was never touched upon. Magic water bottles… it must be.
With such horrifying ‘monsters’, you’d expect much more sophistication concerning dialogue. It was childish and cheesy, ruining the more mature zombie-esque situations.
As Teresa and Thomas look onwards to the mountains they hope to reach, they mention disheartened how far away they are. In this shot is a very clear hut, probably about halfway to the mountains. They don’t ever rest there… despite later spending a night sleeping on the cold ground, without shelter. Silly people. This could in fact also be a con of my movie adaptation section I’ll get onto soon, because it sneakily looks a lot like the hut Teresa is found in, when she is partially ‘possessed’ in the book!
So many promo images, promo videos, and none of it made it on screen. A huge amount of hype with very little return!
Nope, didn’t happen.
Although I could go on, I’m going to end on a goof that ruined such a tense and beautifully directed scene. After falling through a derelict skyscraper which is balanced precariously in the air, Brenda lands at the bottom of the upside down room on a huge pane of glass. It cracks instantly *internal screaming* and she’s seconds away from falling to her death! Attempting to stand, the grass cracks more – it can surely take no more weight! But no, I was very wrong as in jumps a manic crank, smashing Brenda backwards back onto the glass. A violent fight begins… on the glass… and it didn’t crack any more. The fight was intense, and lasted relatively long. If she couldn’t stand without cracking the glass, I can’t imagine it could take the weight of another human form along with a vicious fight. Definitely not.
Now as a fan of the books, I had high hopes that we’d be looking at another Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight type film franchise. Although they don’t stay perfectly true to the novels, it doesn’t matter. They kept what they could fit into a 2 hour film, and they picked and chose what would portray the story with added voompf. In the case of The Scorch Trials, it’s as if someone bought the rights to the title and said to themselves “I’m going to make a completely different movie, but just make sure I use the same character names, villain names and disease names.” That’s it. This is not The Scorch Trials that book readers have become familiar with. They made a film, and whacked the familiar title on and threw it at us all like bait so we’d go and watch it.
The similarities are very, very few and far between. Apart from being set partially in desert like surroundings, the only scene that remotely reminded me of the book was the tunnel scene with Tom and Brenda, but even then they added random, unnecessary moments and removed brilliant, memorable ones such as “Rose took my nose, I suppose.” Such a creepy portrayal of craziness and how insane the cranks really are, not just mindless zombies… Anyway, let’s move onto how drastically it strayed from the books, but because of how different it is I’m going to simply pick the ones which disappoint me the most.
1. The cranks were zombies, instead of the crazy, infected humans they were in the book. They couldn’t speak, and they were simply monsters. They was no sign of any partially turned cranks (apart from the tunnel cranks, who grew into trees… yeah). You are either human or zombie.
2. The first half of the film strayed hugely from the book. Instead of arriving in a small bunk area, alone with only rat-man for company, creepy bodies hanging from the walls and being physically walked into another trial, they arrived in the WCKD facility, with armies, and escaped from the facility leading to a hugely diverted storyline. I gave it the benefit of the doubt at first, thinking maybe they let them escape as a different take on the ‘trial’, but nope, they simply escaped.
3. Because of the new storyline, what irritated me the most was the name of the movie. The Scorch Trials book was named so because they are put into a second trial in the Scorch. Because there is no trial in the movie, and it’s simply about an escape, the name is completely pointless. It would have been less offensive to simply call it Maze Runner 2.
4. Because they escaped, and it wasn’t in fact a planned trial, there was no mystery surrounding what they were doing there. No mysterious “this way, Thomas” signs throughout the Scorch, no helicopters collecting injured Thomas in the middle of the Scorch and dropping him back off as if nothing happened. If they’d have created similarly interesting reasons then all would be forgiven, I’d congratulate them on creating something just as brilliant. But there wasn’t. There was simply a group of teenagers, lost, with one aim of finding a mountain civilisation.
5. No telepathy. Gutted. It could have been so easily recreated on screen, and by leaving it out they cut one of the primary plot points of the book: the mystery telepathy and relationship between Teresa and Aris. Instead, Aris became completely redundant, pathetic even, and Teresa was simply moody and unneeded.
6. Cutting out another major plot point, there was no Group B. No mention of the parallel groups, and instead they simply mentioned there were other mazes. Bad move, in my opinion. They missed an epic opportunity to create something really clever and not just another basic young adult movie. Rather than include brilliantly written Group B, or even the competitive ideas behind them, we’re introduced to more perfectly healthy civilisations, despite the disease and cranks running around the place.
I didn’t like the movie, and it’s such a shame. My hopes were high, but with such a perfectly crafted series like this, it was always going to be doubtful that they could achieve what we see in our minds when we create our bookish worlds.
I wonder if anyone is thinking, “oh she’s one of those – books are always better than the films,” and no, I’m not. This was a major one off for me, hence my review. If something can create such intense dislike towards it, it definitely deserves an explanation on my blog!
Have you seen this adaptation? Did you read the books first? What did you think? Did you notice the goofs?
Thanks for reading!