"will maybe please some of it’s fans from the novel but sadly it is mainly limp and lifeless"
The transition of Young Adult novels to big screen blockbusters has pretty much died down. We’ve been stuffed with The Hunger Games, diverged against our Divergents, and solved our Maze Runner cravings. Basically, we’ve had enough. Like with any genre, it’s heading into its Twilight, and we’re no longer obsessed with the Beautiful Creatures.
OK. I’ll stop with the title puns. What I’m trying to say is that we’re tired of the Young Adult genre because we know exactly how it’s going to play out: We know how these movies are going to play out, exactly what notes they are going to hit, and who is going to play them. The Darkest Minds is the perfect example of this.
The film, based on a book series by Alexandra Bracken and directed by Jennier Yuh Nelson, revolves around an inexplicable virus called IAAN that kills 98% of the children on Earth. Those who survive are gifted with amazing superpowers ranging from super-intelligence to mind control. They are ranked by how harmful they are, ascending from Green, Blue, Gold, Red, to the worst and most rare Orange and rounded up in labour camps. Ruby Daly is an Orange masquerading as a Green in a compound until she is forced to escape and go on the run with a bunch of misfits. However, there are many enemies on the way...
This is Young Adult by the numbers. The girl is all powerful and most gifted. She is clueless, however, to exactly what is gong on. She escapes from whatever government facility is holding her (because the government is the real bad guy) and finds an unlikely band of heroes to help them defeat the evil entity but you aren’t so sure on what the true evil entity is. The plot is thin and underdeveloped, placing too much onus on the main girl being so rare that enough boys fall madly in love her. It’s been done over and over and over and over again, it’s a tiresome movie with a flat, flaccid script.
The film holds itself together enough because of Amandla Stenberg and Harris Dickinson (whose appearance here takes a real step back from his striking work in Beach Rats.) The pair have enough chemistry together to keep you invested in their journey and there is energy from their supporting cast to keep the roll of some slight momentum.
The Darkest Minds will maybe please some of it’s fans from the novel but sadly it is mainly limp and lifeless. It’s also very brave, leaving the ending open for a complete trilogy that’ll probably unlikely get (which is annoying because the story is a least a little bit interesting to want to see it completed.) Sadly, there is just not enough weight here or originality to immerse you into the plight here. It’s a sample product of a genre one stale.
Side Note: Bradley Whitford is definitely competing with Marisa Tomei in The First Purge for most expensive “phoning it in” cameo in a mindless movie.