Amandla Stenberg stars as Ruby in a YA movie adapted from the novel series by Alexandra Bracken. The Darkest Minds explores a world where “teens mysteriously develop powerful new abilities, they are declared a threat by the government and detained. Sixteen-year-old Ruby, one of the most powerful young people anyone has encountered, escapes her camp and joins a group of runaway teens seeking safe haven. Soon this newfound family realizes that, in a world in which the adults in power have betrayed them, running is not enough and they must wage a resistance, using their collective power to take back control of their future.”
Spoilers beyond this point. Read at your own risk!
A blend of all-star casting (Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie, and Bradley Whitford) and a handful of up-and-comers (Stenberg, Harris Dickinson, Miya Cech, & Skylan Brooks) create a story that seems interesting at first – especially for sci-fi fans. Sadly, after only an hour forty-five, which felt like it was over two and a half hours long, Darkest Minds fell short in character development, world building, pacing, and answers.
Ruby’s story of how her world became this way started when she was 10, but even with a time jump, the story was dragging. Yet, the relationship forming between Ruby and Liam was incredibly sped up.
As for lingering questions: When children either died or developed powers by a rare contagion, no one seemed to wonder where this infection came from. Once the government started collecting survivors, no parents seemed to care where the government took their children. Was this happening all over the world? Or did kids in the US just start dying or developing powers? And what happens to all the newborns?
In the end, this movie is clearly setting up for a sequel (if not a trilogy or more). With a two hour exposition, here’s hoping the remaining chapters rectify this faulty start.
The Darkest Minds hits theaters August 3rd.
— Yael Tygiel