The Darkest Minds
The ones who changed will change everything.
Sci-fi thriller starring Everything, Everything's Amandla Stenberg, set following a bacterial outbreak that kills 98% of Earth's children. Jennifer Yuh Nelson, director of the Oscar-nominated Kung Fu Panda 2, helms.
After a disease kills the majority of America's children, the surviving 2% develop superpowers and are placed in internment camps. A 16-year-old girl escapes her camp and joins a group of other teens on the run from the government.
- Jennifer Yuh Nelson('Kung Fu Panda 2', 'Kung Fu Panda 3')
- Chad Hodge (based on the novel of the same name by Alexandra Bracken)
Science Fiction, Thriller
Rating: M Violence
Based on Alexandra Bracken’s YA novel, The Darkest Minds is set in a world where 90% of children have been wiped out. The fascist government rounds up the surviving youths, fearful because they all suddenly possess psychic abilities. Escaping a brutal internment camp, powerful 16-year-old Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) teams up with electricity-wielding Zu (an underutilised Miya Cech), uber-brainy comedy sidekick Chubs (Skylan Brooks), and telekinetic, charisma-free block of wood Liam (Harris Dickinson).
The super-charged quartet set off in search of a fabled sanctuary, after a rushed information-dump of a set-up, from a script not bothered with wasting time on character or world-building. A shame, as it’s a sci-fi story full of potential. Dashed with dollops of Divergent and extracts of X-Men, it’s a tale heavy on influences, but light on originality, with a villain obvious from the off. Kung Fu Panda 2 and 3 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson makes the transition from animated to live-action with some solid set-pieces, in a dystopian-light, teen-superhero tale, more reminiscent of Percy Jackson than The Dark Knight. Some lame humour, a dull romance, but none of the dark, socio-political underpinnings of The Hunger Games.
It’s great to see a multiracial cast front and centre, but a shame to see Bradley Whitford wasted in a minor role as President, and Gwendoline Christie briefly appear as a bounty hunter in a bad wig. Caught somewhere between silly and serious, The Darkest Minds is a generic, late entry in the Young Adult sci-fi genre, which takes itself way too seriously to be a comedy. Ultimately forgettable, under-developed, yet undoubtedly entertaining for early teens.
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Stuff.co.nz (James Croot)