Movie Review: The Darkest Minds (2018)

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Summary: Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control of their future.
Pros:
Pretty Good Acting. I like Amandla Stenberg. I don’t think there has ever been a movie that I didn’t like her in. The movie might not have been great, but I usually always enjoy her. I think she had an interesting character in this movie in that Ruby has some baggage and trauma that she deals with, not to mention being afraid of her abilities. It’s something we’ve seen before but it’s still interesting because we don’t know the extent her powers and nor does she. Amandla manages to show all of that. I do acknowledge that she makes some funny faces but that’s just her face lol and it doesn’t bother me, nor do I count it against her. Harris Dickinson as Liam was also pretty good, he’s a leader in their runaway group and it’s clear he really cares about those in his group. He’s very passionate and it shows. I also enjoyed Skylan Brooks as Chubs, and while she didn’t have any dialogue Miya Cech as Zu was also cute.
Character Skeletons. I didn’t want to go through each character and actor like I normally do because I don’t think the characters are that interesting overall, but we got some interesting character skeletons. Even with Ruby being the main character, she wasn’t fleshed out enough for me to care about her, BUT I thought there was enough setup for interesting characters. I liked that each one of our runaways had a different ability and that they viewed themselves like a family. The villain was also interesting, but he was so random that it didn’t work overall.
The Story. I haven’t read the book, so I am not going to be comparing this at all. I did read the first two or three chapters and it was interesting. The idea is that 98% of the children die in the US leaving the survivors with abilities. The government wants to cure them, so they put them into these camps. Their abilities are rated on a color scale from harmless to lethal.
Green- High Intelligence
Blue- Telekinesis
Yellow- Electrokinesis
Red- Unknown (I mean I know but it’s kind of cool to find out)
Orange- Mind Control etc.
That’s all cool and stuff and I would like to know just how they planned on curing these kids or if they would rather use them as weapons. Plus, there are three books so I’m sure they planned on making two more movies, which I would have been interested in watching but ya know it did terribly, so I doubt it. Anyways, the fact that Ruby managed to survive in the camps pretending to be a green was interesting and I would have liked to know just how she managed to survive for so long. Not to mention, when she met up with Liam, Chubs and Zu, they escaped from the camp they were in and were on the run, but what next at the end ya know? I thought there was the makings of a cool and immersive story.
Cons:
Dull and Boring. Ya’ll this movie is so dull. Nothing happens. I mean, stuff happens but nothing happens, and it was very anticlimactic. I really wanted the end to be more interesting than it was because you have all these kids with powers in one place and none of them thought to use their powers to help?? I mean, listen, if I had telekinesis (which is the power I always choose) then I would be fighting. Besides, I can’t imagine anyone not catching on to that “twist” at the end. Also the little dust thing where Ruby is like disappearing or whatever you always see… so disappointed in that lol. I get it but BOO. Disappointed.
Use of Abilities. A big missed opportunity was how the powers were used. I think it makes sense that Ruby’s powers were a bit of mystery because she didn’t really know how to use them herself so that’s fine. However, the others should have had some better use of their powers. For one, I feel like the Greens having high intelligence is just so passive in the world where the others aren’t. I felt like they should be able to control or connect with technology, be technopaths or something like that. We see Zu use her powers maybe three times and each time she had to touch wires or something, which is cool to give it limitations but is that it? Is that why she always had to wear the rubber gloves? As for the telekinesis which can also be called “Psychokinesis” is a powerful power which is why I was so shocked it was considered “less dangerous” considering how they can not only move things with their mind, they can move people, create force fields, I guess depending on the limitations of that power. Missed opportunity because Liam was already considered a powerful “blue”, but that power is powerful in general. I just wish we got to see more of the powers used overall in more than just the usual ways.
Unfocused. It was allllll over the place. Sure, it had a through line, the kids had somewhere they wanted to go and Ruby ultimately wanted to go home but being that it’s a dystopian ya film, it kind of has the same tropes that all the others have (The Hunger Games, Divergent, The 5th Wave), and they wanted us to be interested in so much that they didn’t flesh out the stuff that really mattered. Why didn’t we get the chance to really know just how close Liam, Chubs and Zu were? They told us they were, they said it, but other than the fact that they seemed stuck with each other, we didn’t really get to know them as a unit. Then there’s the stuff with Mandy Moore’s character and that was just here and there. THEN the stuff with Gwendolyn Christie who seemed like an interesting character but that was just brushed aside. It was all over the place ya’ll.
Romance Aspect. Listen, I don’t have a problem with romance in movies, but sometimes it’s hard to accept that people are falling in love while the world is ending, or their lives are in danger. I can’t say it’s unrealistic because ya know teenagers, but it’s so ridiculous sometimes. There’s a part where Zu insists Ruby put on this red dress, and she does, and she walks around in this fancy red dress… why? So random. She and Liam also clearly are going to be interested in each other, sure, but how long were they together? They don’t really know each other and they’re just like making decisions about each other and I’m like ‘but Ya’ll don’t know each other’ not to mention, something happens with another person at the end, and while I get it to an extent, YOU ALSO DON’T KNOW THIS GIRL!
So Many Questions. I was interested, and I think I’ll read the books now because I feel like the movie didn’t do the justice it probably deserved. We’ll see. But I had a lot of questions. For example, where did the disease come from? Why is it only kids that are affected? What happens to the survivors with the abilities once they are no longer kids? Will they maintain these powers or lose them? If that’s the case, why not allow them to live their lives (maybe keep a close eye on those Reds and Oranges) until they’re 18 or whatever? How did Ruby managed to stay hidden for so long? Did she just mind control people who got suspicious of her? Why didn’t the government conduct the “white noise” procedure often? They seemed to only do it a few times but if it was me, I would do it at the end of the year or every six months or so just in case someone slipped through defenses. Is the eletrokinesis only if they touched things that held a current, or could it be from the body directly? What about the telekinesis… since that’s kinetic energy, they should be able to do a lot more than what was continuously showcased. What about the Greens? They only have high intelligence? Why not use them instead of making them do stupid grunt work? ALSO, what happened to Lady Jane??? lol so many questions and the movie wasn’t doing a good job at answering any of them.
Overall, The Darkest Minds was a mess and I feel bad for it to be honest. I feel like there was some good stuff there but being in a movie format didn’t help the movie at all. Adding this one to the YA books that should have been a TV show. The acting overall is good, I don’t think anyone was bad and Amandla I think is always likable no matter what she does. The characters had an interesting base and I think the story is good but needed some flesh and extra life but unfortunately it was dull and boring. It was unfocused, focused way too much on the romance aspect when it should have focused more on the Runaways family aspect, their powers and Ruby’s internal struggles. There was also a ton of missed opportunities with their powers. Lastly, so many questions that weren’t the good kind. Listen, if it comes on TV check it out, but otherwise, I wouldn’t worry about it.
SIDE NOTE: That little girl they chose to play a young Ruby, not only looked NOTHING like Amandla, she was a completely different complexion. Sure, kids grow up and get a little darker or a little lighter, but I think that was a missed opportunity to cast a dark-skinned actress as Ruby. That was annoying.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen The Darkest Minds? If so, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from those who have seen the movie and perhaps also read the book! No spoilers though!
Thanks for reading and be sure to follow and like this blog for more movie reviews.
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