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Movie Review: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Blu-ray Review: THE SCORCH TRIALS
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THE SCORCH TRIALS

Blu-ay review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS: 129 minutes, audio commentary, deleted and extended scenes, gag reel, making-of documentary, Visual Effects reel, concept art and storyboard galleries, theatrical trailers, previews, DVD, digital HD copy

VIDEO: 2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (blu-ray), Englich 5.1 Dolby Digital (DVD), English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, French 5.1 DD, Spanish 5.1 DD

Subtitles; English SDH, French, Spanish

 

STUDIO:  20th Century Fox/ Temple Hill Entertainment/ Gotham Group

Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  9-18-2015

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 12-15-2015

THE SCORCH TRIALS is an exciting action packed sequel better than THE MAZE RUNNER.  It picks and chooses what elements from the book it wants to have this movie that very loosely follows the second novel in the THE MAZE RUNNER series.  Even though the narrative in the book makes more sense, I like the movie better than book (where I still think the novel of THE MAZE RUNNER is still better than the movie).   It is always challenging to adapt a novel into a two hour movie and by giving more of a face to the bad guys of Wicked (WCKD), it helps the narrative of the movie as Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and his friends from the maze must brave the scorch to get to the mountains while running from the disease transformed Cranks and the soldiers of WCKD led by Mr. Janson (Aidan Gillen) that hunt the ones immune to the Flare. THE SCORCH TRIALS is a successful adaptation even though it doesn’t follow many parts of the novel while having some scenes and characters that fans of the book will recognize, but the screenwriter must condense any novel when turning it into a screenplay as is the case with THE MAZE RUNNER and the scorch trials.  If you want movies that follow the books closer, THE HUNGER GAMES series and the DIVERGENT trilogy follow the material more successful than THE MAZE RUNNER movies do.  Many of the changes in the movies improve on the source material even though a little longer movie could have fleshed out the new characters that have very little character development (Brenda, Jorge, the Right Arm group, the Scorch journey which is seen in the deleted scenes).

 

THE SCORCH TRIALS has some nice visuals and special effects along with great casting and a sweeping sci-fi music score.  The landscape of New Mexico lends itself as a character to this sequel as much as Georgia did to THE MAZE RUNNER.  I can’t wait for the final movie (which 20th Century Fox wisely decided not to split up the final book into two movies) even though the ending deviates from the book ending, but I think THE MAZE RUNNER movies have to be treated as their own separate thing from the novels.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The blu-ray disc has a great selection of extras.

In the feature audio commentary by Director Wes Ball, Screenwriter T.S. Newlin, Producer Joe Hendrick Jr, and Film Editor Dan Zimmerman, they discuss how they had to fight to avoid the movie getting an R rating, why changed many things from the book to make the adaptation work, and the story of the movie among other things.

 

JANSON'S SECRET REPORT ties in with the early parts of THE SCORCH TRIALS movie as the survivors from the maze are interviewed which is included in Janson's secret report.

18 minutes of deleted and extended scenes (with optional commentary) feature several scenes cut for pacing reasons, but I do think they could have kept some of the Scorch journey sequences in the movie

The 15 minute gag reel shows many line flubs, stumbles, actors forgetting their lines, messing around, and swearing when they forget their lines.

 

SECRETS OF THE SORCH is a six part making-of documentary that features interviews with cast and crew, film clips, a set visit for author James Dashner, and lots of behind-the-scenes footage:

THE SECOND CHAPTER BEGINS…- the challenges presented to the cast and crew making the sequel so fast as the sequel began production weeks after THE MAZE RUNNER came out

CREATING A SCORCHED EARTH- production design of the sequel

NEW FRIENDS AND ENEMIES- focusing on the new cast members and the characters they play

SURVIVING THE SCORCH- the physical demands the shoot put on the cast

CREATING THE CRANKS- a behind-the-scenes look at how they created the Cranks

ON THE EDGE: CONSTRUCTING THE SKYSCRAPER SEQUENCE- a look at making the skyscraper sequence

 

The Visual Effects Reel shows how much visual effects were involved in eight sequences from the movie while the visual Effects Breakdown has optional commentary from Wes Ball on three effects sequences

Several concept art and storyboard galleries

Two theatrical trailers and previews for THE MARTIAN, SPECTRE, PAPER TOWNS, ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, THE TRANSPORTER REFUELED, TEEN WOLD Season 4, and HITMAN: AGENT 47

 

THE SCORHC TRIALS is also in standard definition on DVD along with a code to download and/or stream a digital HD Ultraviolet copy of the movie

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  I liked THE SCORCH TRIALS as an adaptation more than I liked the adaptation of THE MAZE RUNNER as the movies drift more from the original novel source material.  The extras are fantastic and worth watching if you want to learn about the making of the movie and see what scenes they cut.

 

This review is 12-21-2015 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission.  Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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