The Darkest Minds
The Darkest Minds is a 2018 American dystopian superhero film directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, and written by Chad Hodge, based on Alexandra Bracken's 2012 young adult novel of the same name. The film stars Amandla Stenberg, Harris Dickinson, Mandy Moore, and Gwendoline Christie
When teens mysteriously develop powerful new abilities, they are declared a threat by the government and detained. One of the most powerful young people, Ruby, escapes from her camp and joins a group of runaways who are seeking a safe haven. Betrayed by the adults in power, this newfound family soon realizes that running is not enough -- they must use their collective powers to wage a resistance and take back their future.
Why It's Not Got It's Darkest Minds
- The film killed the career of Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed Kung Fu Panda 2.
- Just like the Ghostbusters remake, the film forced political correctness agendas, which is executive meddling.
- In the film, Ruby Daly was portrayed as a biracial unlike in the novel trilogy, which serves as political correctness pandering.
- The electrokinetic Yellows were renamed to Golds, out of political correctness and fear of racial insensitivity.
- Very poor acting from the child actors.
- The ending doesn't make any sense as it ends on a shameless cliffhanger that was supposed to tease a future film adaptation of the second book, Never Fade, which didn’t materialize in the end due to the film becoming a box office failure.
- Poor grasp of the source material, for example:
- When Ruby was brought to the Thurmond camp in the novels, she didn't speak for a whole year. However, Ruby didn't stop talking when she got brought to there in the film.
- Captain McMillan is added as a filler character added due to the lack of known PSF officers in the novels.
- Chubs is a Blue instead of a Green.
- A lot of the rock references such as Black Betty and Ruby Tuesday that the author of the novel grew up with were changed to avoid copyright infringements. An example is the Black Betty van being renamed to the Blue Betty.
- Overly fast pacing. An example is when Ruby was introduced to the concentration camp in Thurmond, we never get to know about the conditions inside.
- The characters suffer from a lack of personality.
- The movie's plot is excessively formulaic, overuses generic cliches and also goes nowhere and doesn’t make any sense, like the movie doesn’t know what it wants to be.
- Too many superhero tropes, which the novel tried to avoid, were pointlessly added.
- The writer of the original novel, Alexandra Bracken, was not involved in the movie's script, which is a red flag.
- Great score by Benjamin Wallfisch, who also composed the score for It (2017).
- The concept of a kid who obtains special powers from a deadly disease is great, despite not being well-executed, and the novel is a good book.
The Darkest Minds received negative reviews from critics and audiences, with criticisms towards its acting, direction, screenplay, and "lack of personality.". On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 16% based on 136 reviews, with an average rating of 4.04/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Darkest Minds does little to differentiate itself in a crowded field of YA adaptations, leaving all but the least demanding viewers feeling dystopian déjà vu.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 39 out of 100, based on reviews from 28 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Audience reception was positive with 73% score on Rotten Tomatoes.