the darkest minds

★★

DIRECTOR: jennifer yuh wilson (kung fu panda 2, kung fu panda 3)
starring: amandla stenberg, harris dickinson, skylan brooks, and miya cech

 

REVIEWER: emily carter

When teens mysteriously develop powerful new abilities, they are seen as a threat by the government and sent to detainment camps. Sixteen-year-old Ruby soon escapes from her captors and joins other runaways who are seeking a safe haven. Banded together and on the run, they soon combine their collective powers to fight the adults who tried to take away their future.

In a pretty impressive pool of YA adaptions, does The Darkest Minds cower in the corner, or rise up above the crowd?

 

The thing is, it seems to sit happily in the middle. While it might not be a Hunger Games or Maze Runner, it could give Divergent a run for its money. The Darkest Minds separates children based on the how a nationwide epidemic has infected them, and the skills and powers that came with it - very eerily similar to Divergent's, factions based on talents/personality traits

 

This disease wipes out most of America's population under 18, with those remaining are captured, studied and put in internment camps, deemed too dangerous by adults. Children are categorised by the level of infection (and the superpowers that come with it), putting them in red, orange, blue, yellow or green (could have used a little more creativity there). But outside of those high fences are resistance groups that have made their escape, but remain on the run from adults who hunt them down.

 

Amandla Stenberg plays 16-year-old Ruby, a girl haunted by what has happened and who she is now. Amandla has really clocked the YA film roles, with an equally engaging performance in Everything, Everything, as well as a role in The Hunger Games. Miya Cech as Zu was a favourite, while Mandy Moore and Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) were surprising additions.

 

With a few fairly brutal bits, sci-fi superpowers, goodies, baddies and young love, The Darkest Minds has really packed in every element a young adult audience may enjoy. However where Hunger Games goes deep, The Darkest Minds feels a little surface and where Maze Runner seems possible, The Darkest Minds feels a little far-reaching. A great watch for some, but perhaps a touch too far from believable for others (depending on your general opinion of the YA genre).

 

The unfortunate thing for The Darkest Minds is all that has come before it. A fun watch that falls a little short for its genre.

★★

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