A Wicked Treatment

As a fan of the Maze Runner series and a general fan of teen and young adult dystopian fiction in general [1], I would like to take this opportunity to express my dissatisfaction with the many and serious ways in which the movie adaptation of The Scorch Trials fell far short of the quality of the original, which actually had some thoughtful reflection to make about betrayal and the way in which the young people controlled by Wicked are left without the ability to trust while struggling to maintain the cohesion of their friendships. Instead of this, we are treated to what is a fairly standard and merely competent action film full of people who do not trust each other where Wicked is clearly far better equipped than everyone else, and where the sick people of the novels have been turned into zombies. I was not expecting to see a zombie flick, but I guess I was.

There are some people whose tendency to be in the wrong place at the wrong time in some kind of trouble is so notorious that it ceases to be accident and simply must be a malign type of divine providence. Thomas, in this movie, is such a character. Even if he is seldom the cause of the trouble, he is generally around when it happens. When someone turns on the electricity to make the zombies awake, Thomas is there. When there are people being bitten by zombies and turned, even if they are immune, Thomas is there. When various betrayals are happening, Thomas is there too. There are a lot of scenes cut that would balance out the action others have, or do not have, as the way the film is made it seems like Thomas has all of the drama, and that is not really fair.

These are all related problems. The inability to show sick people without wanting to turn them into dangerous zombies, the inability to handle a multi-layer conspiracy convincingly, the inability to show young people dealing with the mistrust that results from conspiracies among them, all of these are problems that spring from a tendency to doubt in the abilities of an audience to follow a complicated and troubling thread that has unpleasant implications for our contemporary society and the way that the behavior of companies and governments and other institutions does not exactly inspire trust. It also shows a lack of faithfulness to a text that is liked and well-regarded by many people. If one is dealing with a poplar work, it would make sense that those who like the book would want to see it developed and adapted faithfully, yet such fidelity is not always easy to find.

There is a lot of blame to go around when a film does not match up to a series. For one, there is the matter of a studio that does not respect a franchise enough to stay true to its plot. For another, there is a lot of fault in the screenwriters for failing to adapt the plot well and making massive and wholesale changes to it, in the hopes that it will attract those who are not fans without alienating those who are. The changes to this film were massive enough that the third movie will be a very different film, maybe even a conventional kind of heist or rescue film, as a result of the drastic changes to this one, and that is a shame. Alas, one can only review the films that have been made, and not those you would want to have been made.

[1] See, for example:







About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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1 Response to A Wicked Treatment

  1. Pingback: Book Review: The Nephilim Virus | Edge Induced Cohesion

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