I had a lot of thoughts over the last few days of how I would fix this movie. I think it’s an unfortunate incident and while I have not read the books, I have a few ideas of how I would fix it to make it better just from a film standpoint. I’m sure once I read the books, I’ll have more insight but I will take what I gleamed from the movie.
First of all, I would make it a television show on Netflix. I weighed my options of other channels and I considered Freeform, since they did so well with Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger and Siren is apparently doing well. I also considered the CW because of The 100 and the other shows that have abilities on them. However, I think Netflix would be the best option as they are doing really well with their movies and their YA adaptations.
I don’t know what the characters look like in the books, so I don’t know if Ruby is black, I doubt it honestly, but I think it was cool to have a YA sci-fi film where the lead was a person of color, so I think it would be imperative to maintain that in the show. So, I would recast Lidya Jewett as young Ruby and bring in a darker-skinned actress to play teenage Ruby. As for the other characters, they can keep Miya Cech and Skylan Brooks as Zu and Chubs because they were fine and don’t seem to be doing anything at the moment film wise. At least nothing serious. As for Liam, well I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to find a blue eyed, tall and cute guy.
Episode Set Up
So, I think a big mistake in the film was how quickly it had to brush past the whole kids dying thing to get to teenage Ruby. No matter how quick it was in the book, if it was a TV show, we could spend the first episode getting to know Ruby as a kid and her family so later when she finally returns to them, we feel something for her. Anyway, a nice introduction to the Daly family and then at the end of the first episode, show the first outbreak of the disease by showing that Grace kid die. Boom. Interesting set up.
Next episode, we learn (without narration) about this mysterious disease and we physically see kids, Ruby’s classmates and friends, dying. We should be able to see what this is doing to their parents, to the kids who are surviving. Plus, the fear that Ruby’s parents would have about their own child. I’m not sure, but if all the kids get sick but the ones who don’t die gain powers, then perhaps we should see Ruby get sick and her parents worry for her and then at the end, she gets better. Moving forward, I feel like the first three episodes in a 13-22-episode show should focus on young Ruby for us to see her go to the camps, feel bad for her since her parents turned her in (because reasons) and how she made her strategy to survive. If it’s 13 episodes then obviously maybe leave young Ruby to three episodes and in the fourth time jump to teenage Ruby but if it was longer then take a bit more time.
When she meets Liam, Chubs and Zu, we should see them as a unit and how they work well together and allow us to care about them as we continue to see them.
I would keep Lady Jane around for a little while as well.
Romance and Relationships
In the movie they wanted us to care about Ruby and Liam falling for each other and to care later when she uses her ability to erase herself from his mind, but I didn’t care because I didn’t get the chance to care since it’s forced into my face without real reasons other than their teenagers and teenage love, I guess lol.
In the show, when Ruby joins them, there is a mysterious air about her which Liam would be interested in and she would be drawn to his good looks, passion and leadership skills lol but we would see them work together, survive together, get to know each other which would give the audience the chance to root for them and then later feel sad when she makes her decision at the end of the first season. It was also clear that Zu was pretty close to Liam and later they tried to make it like she was close with Ruby, but in the show, we would see and believe that. She had an older sister which is why she would connect with Ruby, so we’d learn about what she lost and why she gets so attached.
Plus, I would spend an entire episode showcasing Chubs, Liam and Zu’s backgrounds and how they escaped their camp.
Later, when we officially meet Clancy Gray, he’s enigmatic and he’s the only other person who understands Ruby. It happens so fast in the movie that I’m shocked Ruby didn’t pick up on his weirdness quicker. I would have. In the show, we would have time to see this little utopia he made and how quickly the others get ingrained. Liam on the front lines, Zu with the other young kids and Chubs was not into it and I would like to see his distrust grow. As for Ruby, she and Clancy would spend a lot of time together learning her powers where his interest in her makes sense then just his weird looks. He got obsessed and if we got to see them spend a lot of time together, actually, then the audience would be like “Word”.
Action and Climax
The movie was very anticlimactic but the action was handled pretty well. I wish we got to see more of the abilities showcased since it’s such a big part of the story. I would definitely keep their eyes reflecting their abilities, that was cool. The chase scene was pretty dope so definitely have to keep that in the show. The fight at the end between Ruby and Clancy was kind of meh and I think it would have been much more. Not to mention, as I kind of ranted about in my review, Liam’s telekinetic ability should have been showcased way more, with different ways to use it other than to just move things. We saw him destroy a road and bring forth a ton of trees, but we didn’t really see him do anything like that again. He should have been able to create force fields, even if they weren’t large, or move people. We saw that it could happen but Liam never really did it. He should have been able to fly, I mean sheesh lol.
Not to mention, why weren’t any of the other kids fighting? Sure, some of them got under mind control but I would have been fighting if I had the abilities they had. Plus, the Greens with their high intelligence could have been doing more than just… talking lol.
In the movie, we have three villains. Lady Jane, a bounty hunter who definitely has it out for Liam it seemed. The government. Clancy Grey. The league which was a little ambiguous. The first season could be heavily focused on the first book, which is cool, but I think it would be okay, to split the first book into a season and a half at least. Sooo, I wouldn’t introduce Clancy as a villain until the second season. His name would be around as it was in the movie since he was “cured” and his father was some big shot but the Slip Kid would be a mysterious figure until we meet him. So, Lady Jane would be the main villain as she was an awesome bounty hunter and I think the movie did nothing with her and she was interesting. She said she caught Liam before and now he had an even bigger price on his head, I would have let her catch them and keep them for at least an episode or two just to make it interesting.
The government has its part in the beginning and would remain a threat throughout since they’re looking for Ruby. Then you have the League, who we don’t know if we can trust as a looming threat with Cate and Rob. I think it would be interesting because you never know who might show up while our Runaways are just trying to make it to the Utopia.
Ideally the first season could end with the first book so the second book could be the second season. Being that this would be on Netflix there wouldn’t be a midseason finale, so the first season could end with Ruby being with the League and doing the whole hand paint thing or whatever. BUUUT if it’s 13 episodes, I would actually end the first season with the Runaways getting to the Utopia and feeling like they finally made it. So that way, the main villain of Clancy would be revealed in the second season. Perhaps after they escape Lady Jane, maybe the government is closing in and they give them the slip and at the skin of their teeth, they find the entrance to Utopia. They would think they have to fight since the Slip Kid’s sentries are standing watch but then they recognize Liam and they take them into the hideout and see all the kids and end the season with them being all like
Play triumphant music and everything. It would be a nice ending for a shit show that will start in season two. I think it would be awesome.
In the End
If The Darkest Minds was a television show, I think it would have allowed for the story to be told the way it should be. As I said before, I’ll probably get a bit more insight once I read the trilogy but it’s very rare that I watch a movie based on a trilogy and think of how I would fix it without really knowing the full story. I had so many thoughts after this one that even without that extra knowledge, I believe it could be done.
I think it should have another chance, but as a Netflix Original.
What do you think of this plan? Let me know your thoughts!
What other YA novels should have a television show? What YA movies should have been television shows?
Thanks for reading and be sure to like and follow this blog for more posts like this!
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
All the Characters/Even the ones you hate. There are a lot of characters in this book. A LOT. So, I’m not going to do the breakdown like I normally do.
Starr Carter is the protagonist of the story, it’s told in her point of view and I think she’s a strong and realistic character. Throughout the story she doesn’t think she’ strong or brave but we have evidence of that throughout the story.
Her parents Maverick and Lisa Carter are people who have lived lives that allows them to have wisdom to understand the world around them and to have a view that they hope would help their family and by extension others. Maverick wants to give back to his community and Lisa wants to do that but make her family a priority (not that Mav doesn’t want that too, it just gets lost sometimes).
Seven is Starr’s big brother and you’ll learn about her connection to him and her friend Kenya, but I really liked him because he has his own struggles and demons, but he always tries to be there for his sister.
Chris is Starr’s boyfriend from her PWI private school and they’re sweet together, he really tries, and I give him props for that especially towards the end of the novel.
In her school, there is also Maya and Hailey who are Starr’s best friends and make your own conclusion, but I hated Hailey. I’m surprised Starr held out as long as she did lol. I liked Maya though.
Uncle Carlos is a big part of the story where he acted as a second father in ways to Starr. He is a cop so when we first meet him, I was a little skeptical at first but throughout the book he becomes a big ally and he has some awesome moments throughout the story. Great character.
Starr’s perspective. Being that the story is told in Starr’s perspective who was right there when Khalil was murdered, it allows the chance for the story to be told by someone with a firsthand account. She experiences everything and tells it in detail. She is a narrator who lives in the moment and tries to understand what’s happening in the now while also worrying in ways about the future. By giving Starr the perspective and not making it third person, it allows for the chance for the reader to catch a glimpse into the heart and mind of the people who are first hand witnesses and know what it feels to be on the front lines of this situation. Starr is young but her dialogue sounds like a teenager, especially a teenager in her environment. Black people know what it’s like to have to be different people depending on the crowd and how hard and confusing that can be. What it’s like living in a hard and dangerous neighborhood but being able to see the brightness that exists in these places. Seeing the world through Starr’s eyes you feel that emotional confusion, disappointment, love, hope, bravery… all of it. At least I did.
Powerful Story. This story is RELEVANT! I cannot stress this enough. Whether you like the book or not, the story and the message is so important. Starr witnesses something so terrible that it affects her, it affects the people around her and it affected me reading it. We have seen so many deaths of black people, especially unarmed black people within the last few years and it still has an effect today. I think this novel takes something that has been so real and amplifies it and shows that people can have a voice when they feel like they have none. Starr agonizes over what she witnessed and constantly thinks about it to the point where it begins to affect her life at school, at home and she doesn’t know what to do to handle it. As the story goes on, we see her struggle with feeling strong and brave and by the end she has transformed into someone that I think we all want to be when faced with a trial such as this. Powerful journey.
Family Ties. Outside of the story, one of the strongest aspects of this book is the family. All of them. Starr has a great family and they all felt like real people. Her father came off as this big imposing man, but he cared about his wife and kids, he did whatever it took to protect them. Her mother was a protector but also a nurturing woman who knew her kids and who also did whatever it took to make sure her family was safe. Then there’s Seven who is the big brother and he has a lot of demons he must deal with, but he always tried to be there for his siblings, all of them. Sekani is the little brother and he is just like a little brother. We meet Uncle Carlos who is a strong character as well (there are a LOT of adults in this book which is great because for some reason YA books are allergic to caring and present adults lol) and of course Nana and Aunt Pam and then Seven’s other sisters and of course when they accept other people into their family. it’s just a strong bond that is created with all of them.
Real Aspect. I love how real the story is and how relevant it is. I think with a story like this, it could easily become something that feels over dramatic, or feel false but that doesn’t happen here. While I read the book, I truly felt like I was standing right there with Starr, experiencing everything she felt. All her emotions, her thoughts, I was on the sidelines and that is a testament to Angie Thomas and her storytelling abilities.
Thug Life. We learn about this twice in the story. In the beginning, Khalil and Starr have a moment driving where he explains this to her and she takes it in, but I think she really feels it later when she goes over it with her father. I’m not going to tell you what it means if you don’t know already, but it’s so powerfully used in the book that any time it came up, I immediately thought of what it meant for me, or for black people and it’s interwoven so well into the story without even being blatantly referenced that I still kept thinking about it after finishing the novel.
Just a bit too long. This is literally my only complaint about the book. I think the story could have been cut down a bit because the stuff with DeVante could have been cut out or at least cut down. *gasps* Blasphemy! lol I get why it was there because it’s another chance… but he could have still been in the story but not an entire side plot. It made the story feel bloated. I had a really hard time thinking why I thought the book might have been too long. I went through a lot of parts of the book in my mind and everything else I could rationalize why it was written the way it was, why it was important but I kept coming back to the DeVante storyline and I kept thinking of ways to make it shorter, or to have moments of it skipped over by still arriving to the same conclusion of the plot and it worked out in my mind. I would also think in the movie, they would either cut it out completely or really file it down for the sake of run time.
Overall, I really really really loved this book. The hype surrounding it very much earned and I see why it’s such a powerful and relevant book for people. It’s important for stories like this to be told because it’s what’s happening in the world today and I think if people dislike this book for telling that kind of story then I’m not sure what to say because it’s real. The book may be a work of fiction but the nature of it is reality. The characters are well written and fully realized, the atmosphere feels real and I feel like I’m there beside Starr while these things are happening. It’s emotional and it is so real. My one complaint is a minor one and it doesn’t affect how I view the story overall. It’s amazing.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I know I had a con, but I think otherwise this book is pretty much perfection. I’m so glad it exists.
I work in the public library and I know this book is challenged by people when it comes to their young ones reading it and I don’t think it’s merited, sure, it does have profanity in it, but I guarantee you your teens curse or have in the company of their peers. You’re afraid that this book is going to taint how teenagers, or people in general, view law enforcement without them having the chance to experience it for themselves? I’m sure they already have by seeing the many videos available for public use of black people being killed. No one has to like the book, that’s fine but I encourage you to read it with the idea that this is black people’s reality, and this is what black people fear probably more than anything else.
Thanks for reading this review. Please leave your thoughts and comments down below if you’d like to start an intelligent dialogue. I’ll be happy to discuss.
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