7 Things Parents Should Know About ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’

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1. What’s it about?

The Scorch Trials is a direct sequel to the first Maze Runner movie. In fact, it picks up pretty much exactly where the last one left off. Now, of course, our heroes know what’s going on, so this movie is mostly them running away from the bad guys. In fact, “heroes running away from the bad guys” describes about 75% of the movie.

2. Do I need to have seen the first one for this one to make sense?

I’d say probably yes. I did see the first one, but it was a couple of years ago when it was in the theater so I only remembered the broad strokes and there were points where I was a bit lost as to what was going on. (I had forgotten that the movie had anything to do with zombie-like creatures, for instance.)

3. What’s it rated?

The MPAA gave the movie a rating of PG-13 for “extended sequences of violence and action, some thematic elements, substance use and language.” The movie has about as much violence as the first one, but this time instead of mysterious creatures killing off the teens, it’s zombies (or zombie-like creatures, or whatever.) It’s always hard to tell exactly what “thematic elements” means in MPAA-speak, but I suspect it’s the general sense of dread and foreboding, along with some gross zombie effects. There is one scene where two characters drink some unknown substance that seems to have an hallucinatory effect on them. Then finally, the screenplay’s writer really, really likes the “s” word, but there wasn’t anything worse than that language-wise. There’s no nudity or even hint of sex.

4. How long is it? When’s a good time to run to the bathroom?

The movie is a pretty ridiculous 2 hours and 11 minutes, although it is action-packed enough that it didn’t feel quite that long. There are a few brief slow-downs in the action: the first is just after the kids survive their first night on the run and are exploring the ruins of a city. Later, there’s a similar scene with two characters once again walking through ruins. So pretty much: if you see ruins, you have a couple of minutes to run out.

5. Is there anyone in it that I’ll be happy to see?

The heroes are all the same actors as last time. However, Game of Thrones fans will enjoy watching Aidan Gillen–Littlefinger–chew up some scenery. We also get to see Giancarlo Esposito, Lili Taylor, and Barry Pepper.

Most importantly, though: Alan Tudyk is in it.

6. Will my kids like it?

I’d guess that fans of either the books or the last film will find this movie perfectly enjoyable. As I mentioned earlier, though, it’s not really going to make sense to those unfamiliar with the story. Younger kids may find some of the violence disturbing, and there are a couple of “jump out at you” scares.

7. Will I like it?

It was a fine, if mostly paint-by-numbers, action movie. You probably won’t be bored if your kids talk you into seeing it, but unless you’re also a fan of the series it probably isn’t going to be your first-choice film for date night.

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