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Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials by John Paesano (Review)

posted Sep 15, 2015, 8:09 PM by Kaya Savas

John Paesano follows up his score to The Maze Runner with the second installment in the young adult series based on the successful books. With our group of protagonists out of the maze, they must now venture into “the scorch”. Which is pretty much just a cool name for "desolate wasteland", where they must fight off a new virus and uncover the alterior motives of the bad guys. While it’s easy to lump all the YA films in one pile, the composers behind these projects have done pretty decent jobs of crafting different worlds despite the lack of real organic emotion. Paesano’s second score is a great expansion that keeps the energy and thrills going.

The Scorch Trials is a high-octane orchestral/electronic hybrid score with a heavy focus on percussion. That approach gives the sound a clean and crisp feel with the music never feeling muddled or bogged down. Forward progression of the action is always there and the music works very well with the flow of the edit. The music works with every beat of the action structure, and that results in a score that’s constantly moving. The narrative has pockets of stillness between set pieces, and actually finishes off on a more somber and reflective note as it obviously trails off to lead to the third installment. The score is effective and entertaining in its approach, but the hectic nature of the whole package makes everything feel rushed.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is a great expansion and continuation from John Paesano. It thankfully doesn’t feel like a mid-section with no head or tail, but it does end on a more anti-climactic note setting things up for more. The score itself is high-octane with pockets of down time, and the hybrid orchestral/electronic approach is cool and crisp. It fails to resonate any emotions, but functions just fine as a score meant to propel the action forward.