No. Just No.

I am not a fan per se of the YA Dystopia genre, but I love both the Hunger Games as well as the original Maze Runner films. I’ve actually only read the Maze Runner books, however, so I was very excited to hear that they were going to film the entire series.

HOWEVER, after seeing Scorch Trials yesterday, I am sadly disappointed. It’s been over a year since I last read the book, so I was questioning my own memory of it, but I kept scratching my head throughout the screening saying to Ben on several occasions, “I don’t remember this being in the book.”

In fact, going back and looking at its Wikipedia page to refresh my memory after we got home, I realized how very little of The Scorch Trials book was actually in the film. Yeah, they followed the basic structure of the story, but beyond that it was a mess. I know all movies adapted from books have to make changes, either to condense the story to fit in the allotted running time or to increase dramatic effect, but this seemed to be a wholesale reaming of the source material, only to be replaced with “let’s pull some shit out of our ass and see if this works instead.”

It didn’t.

Just as an example, the characters’ breakout of the WICKED dormitory in the first act wasn’t prompted by an attack of Cranks (aggressive, zombie-like people who have been infected with a virus known as “the flare” for those of you unfamiliar with the books) on the suddenly-deserted facility as it was in the book, but rather their snooping around the heavily armed and populated installation itself and learning the reason they were brought there. There was none of the feeling of mystery and bewilderment of the book (and previous film) in this movie that involved you in the story and made you want to know what was going on.

In the book, they find one remaining scientist in the facility who tells them they’ve all been infected with the virus and have two weeks to get through “the scorch” and to a safe haven to get the cure. None of that was in the movie. The main reason prompting the characters to get through the scorch was REMOVED from the film.

And it only goes downhill from there.

I want to go back and read the book again to clear my mental palate.

Why the filmmakers chose to discard—wholesale—the main storyline of the book is beyond me, and this does not bode well for the final film, The Death Cure, scheduled to be released in February 2017.

I count the original Maze Runner film among my favorites, but if you’re a fan of the series my advice would be to save your money on this one and wait for it to show up on cable—and even then, prepare to say, “WTF?!”