It's 1 AM. I have no idea what to watch with my boyfriend, Cody. I dig through my collection and find nothing. But I remember I recently purchased a film that neither of us have seen so we thought we could give it a go. That film was none other than The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. We both loved the first film so we had high hopes for this sequel. After viewing the film, it was good overall. The action scenes were nicely intense, the new characters were interesting, and I enjoyed the film as a whole. However, one thing bugged me. The plot reminded me too much of a video game I only played about one month prior to viewing the film. The video game is a favorite of mine and it is The Last of Us. WARNING: This post will have spoilers for the film and the video game. Be warned.
The Scorch Trials is about survivors of the first film who get transported to a new camp-like environment where a group called WCKD (World in Catastrophe: Killzone Experiment Department) takes over and is protecting the survivors from an unknown outside virus. Within the first half hour of the film, everything starts to escalate for the survivors as our main character, Thomas, begins to suspect there is something seriously wrong with WCKD after he views some of the survivors being harvested and experimented on in order to find a cure for the mysterious virus. Thomas works with his fellow survivors along with a couple new characters to hatch a plan to escape. After some intense chase scenes, they finally escape and venture to a mall. All is well and the survivors believe they are safe until they come face to face with some infected people who begin to chase them throughout the mall. One of the survivors ends up getting infected and before turning into a zombie-like specimen, he commits suicide. The majority of the film progresses with Thomas and his group trying to find safety in an apocalyptic world. They end up seeking a building where there are other survivors that end up capturing Thomas and his friends and tying them up. One of the new survivors is named Brenda who ends up helping Thomas' group after WCKD comes to take the survivors back to their camp for more experimentation. After Thomas and Brenda get separated from the rest of the group via more chase scenes, Thomas and Brenda run into some differently infected people that have some sort of fungus growing on them. These infected seem to run faster and seem harder to fight against. Brenda ends up getting bit but somehow gets cured when Thomas and Brenda regroup with the others and find more survivors that have a remedy to slow down the infection process in Brenda. That's where many of the similarities from Last of Us come into play.
The Last of Us is harder to explain as it is a long video game plot but I will paraphrase it as best as I can. The beginning involves a father, named Joel, and his daughter, named Sarah, waking up to an apocalypse where an infection is growing. As they run from the infected, they bump into the military who is trying to take control of the situation. The military is told to shoot everyone and end up killing Sarah before Joel gets away. Flash forward a few months and Joel is working with his friend, Tess. The pair end up finding a fourteen-year old orphan named Ellie who they help survive the apocalypse because Ellie might just have a cure in her blood after not turning into an infected, even after being bitten two weeks prior. The game's plot revolves around the three trying to survive the apocalypse while trying to get to a specific location. In the game, there are two different types of infected. One is a normal zombie-like person who tries to bite uninfected people. The other is infected with some type of fungus on its head. The fungus-ridden infected are known as "clickers" because they make clicking sounds when they run after the characters before biting them. These clickers are stronger and faster making it hard to fight or run away from them. In the game, the government is not to be trusted, along with other survivors as Joel and Ellie fight their way to safety.
Now, see any comparisons? Let me break it down for you.
1. The government is not to be trusted
Both WCKD and the actual government in both forms of media are not to be trusted by our survivors. The government has malicious plans in both Scorch Trials and Last of Us to experiment and/or kill any survivor they come across.
2. There are infected in both
I mean, yes. This could be said about any zombie film but the way the zombies act and are portrayed is just similar in both.
3. Cranks vs. Clickers
In Scorch Trials, there were more powerful infected that were harder to fight against. They call them "cranks" in the film. In Last of Us, they also had more powerful infected called "clickers." Both the cranks and the clickers had some sort of fungus sticking out of them that identified them as such. Plus, they both made the same sounds. Pictures of both are below.
4. Being bitten means you are infected which ultimately means death.
In Scorch Trials and Last of Us, getting bitten means you will become infected, and both have a remedy. One is through a homemade remedy in Scorch Trials and one is through Ellie's blood in Last of Us.
5. New survivors does not necessarily mean safety.
In Scorch Trials, when Thomas and his group found new survivors, they were not welcoming and ended up capturing the group. In Last of Us, whenever Joel and Ellie found more survivors, they usually came prepared with guns to kill the protagonists to steal whatever they own. It is a dog-eat-dog world out there, after all.
6. The mall scenes
In both Scorch Trials and Last of Us, there are mall scenes. In both scenes, infected chase the protagonists through the corridors of the mall until the protagonists find a way to escape. In both mall scenes as well, someone gets infected. Coincidence? Hmm....
Now, I know what I am saying is a far stretch. And I know that the actual book of Scorch Trials was written before the video game was released. But, in the books, they only described what happened instead of providing details. I am not saying Scorch Trials film producers played Last of Us and copied them from start to finish but it does seem a little off how some visuals are almost spot on, especially the cranks and clickers. While both films have different plots, some elements are too similar not to notice. Don't get me wrong, I love both Scorch Trials and Last of Us but watching the film was almost the same as playing the video game. However, I do enjoy the video game more as the story appealed to me way more. Now, let's just see how similar the film version of Last of Us is to both the video game and Scorch Trials when it gets released in the future. But, for now, all we have left is to compare Scorch Trials and the video game version of Last of Us. Thanks for reading guys!