Going lớn the latest dystopian YA novel adaptation used to feel more like escapist fare. These movies had fantastical scenarios where teenagers discovered who they were và how they could fix the messed-up world around them. But the times have changed, and the stories haven’t. The narratives that once elevated the act of surviving adolescence into a hero’s journey now feel stale. With so much anxiety about the future in the real world, we don’t need entertainment to lớn transport us into a dystopian one.

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In this adaptation of “The Darkest Minds,” a mysterious illness kills almost all of the children và brings out superpowers in others. The adults-in-charge panic, rounding up surviving kids and teens to lớn be put into closely guarded internment camps. The children are then segregated by a color-coded rubric that looks almost exactly like the Homeland Security Advisory System. Those wearing green scrubs are the lowest threat level—they’re mostly just really smart kids. Blue-level children can manipulate matter; those wearing yellow work clothes have the ability lớn manipulate electricity. If you’re ever unsure of what a kid’s abilities are, their eyes will shine with their corresponding màu sắc when they use their power.

Ruby (Amandla Stenberg) is a special one. She has orange-level abilities, which means she’s telepathic, complete with Jedi-like mind control và the ability lớn erase herself from people’s memories. Considered too dangerous khổng lồ live, the government supposedly destroys any child who scores orange or red (fire-breathing destructors). She disguises herself as a green kid until her cover is blown during a test. A sympathetic doctor (Mandy Moore) helps her escape, but Ruby isn’t sure she can trust her. She runs off with three other escaped children—Liam (Harris Dickinson), Charles or “Chubs” (Skylan Brooks) & Suzume or “Zu” (Miya Cech)—hoping to lớn find a promised land where kids lively safely away from the grown-ups.

It’s a promising start, but one that ultimately doesn’t quite deliver. The movie’s plot feels scant, as if it’s only skimming the surface of what it’s lượt thích to be a child who has no one lớn trust or turn to lớn in this world. When Ruby accidentally erases herself from her parents’ memories, she experiences a traumatic moment of rejection, & it haunts her for the rest of the movie. Liam adopts a “for us, by us” ethos after a shadow group claiming khổng lồ want lớn help children were instead training them khổng lồ fight a war.

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Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson (“Kung Fu Panda” series) isn’t able lớn elevate the kids’ fight for survival above its melodramatic trappings. In what’s supposed lớn be a symbolic rallying cry, Ruby pridefully shows her orange stripes by smearing Cheeto-colored powder across her forehead lớn other kids with blue, yellow and green smudges on their faces. The scene has no real narrative value, & just hangs like an incomplete thought. There are a few groan-worthy moments of bad dialogue, lượt thích the laughably obtuse refrain, “We don’t segregate by colors here.” Certain scenes just don’t work at all, like a painfully awkward dance scene in the film that’s so poorly staged, the camera feels lượt thích a grown-up supervising a thể hình full of eighth graders at a dance.

However, “The Darkest Minds” does manage to keep some of its bright moments shining. Stenberg does an outstanding job of exploring Ruby’s many conflicted emotions, lượt thích her want to lớn see her parents again knowing that they don’t remember her. She’s sensitive, resourceful và pensive, bringing to lớn mind Jennifer Lawrence in the first “The Hunger Games” movie. Her co-star Brooks easily has some of the best lines of the movie, taking every good opportunity for a quizzical look or smart retort. There are a few decent kích hoạt sequences within the runtime, including a speedy car chase through Virginia highways. But there’s also less-than-stellar set pieces lượt thích the terribly rendered showdown between Ruby & another super-strong, Ayn Randian opponent who believes the powerful kids should run the show.

But some decisions defy explanation, lượt thích how the actress chosen khổng lồ play young Ruby (Lidya Jewett, who does give a very endearing performance) doesn’t resemble her older counterpart. The adults in the supporting cast lượt thích Moore, Gwendoline Christie & Bradley Whitford are woefully underutilized. One irreparable issue seems khổng lồ be traced back to the book. Zu, the only Asian American character on-screen for longer than a second, is mute, and the decision to lớn stay true to lớn the source brings up ugly stereotypes of docile & quiet Asian women.

When The Darkest Minds book was released in 2012, we didn’t have a government-sanctioned program to lớn separate children from their parents. Conservative adults weren’t attacking teenagers over the issue of gun violence. The movie features a daily broadcast of the president’s lies. Now, that’s just today’s headlines. The environment in which stories like “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent” gained followings has changed, & “The Darkest Minds” has not adapted to survive it.

Science Fiction

Monica Castillo

Monica Castillo is a freelance writer and University of Southern California Annenberg graduate film critic fellow. Although she originally went khổng lồ Boston University for biochemistry & molecular biology before landing in the sociology department, she went on to reviews films for The Boston Phoenix, WBUR, Dig Boston, The Boston Globe, and co-hosted the podcast “Cinema Fix.”

The Darkest Minds does little lớn differentiate itself in a crowded field of YA adaptations, leaving all but the least demanding viewers feeling dystopian déjà vu. Read critic nhận xét

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The Darkest Minds (2018)
The Darkest Minds (2018)

When teens mysteriously develop powerful new abilities, they are declared a threat by the government và 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 khổng lồ wage a resistance & take back their future.

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Rating: PG-13 (Thematic Elements|Disturbing Images|Violence)

Genre: Sci-fi, Mystery và thriller, kích hoạt

Original Language: English

Release Date (Theaters): Aug 3, 2018 wide

Release Date (Streaming): Oct 30, 2018

Box Office (Gross USA): $12.7M

Runtime: 1h 44m

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Production Co: 21 Laps Entertainment

Sound Mix: Dolby Atmos, DTS

Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)

Cast & Crew

Amandla Stenberg

Ruby Daly

Mandy Moore


Bradley Whitford

President Gray

Harris Dickinson


Patrick Gibson

Clancy Gray

Skylan Brooks


Miya Cech


Lidya Jewett

10 Year Old Ruby

Gwendoline Christie

Lady Jane

Sammi Rotibi

Paul Daly

Golden Brooks

Molly Daly

Wallace Langham

Dr. Viceroy

Mark O"Brien


Carrie Mc


Faye Foley

Sam Dahl

Jennifer Yuh Nelson


Chad Hodge


Shawn Levy


Dan Levine


Dan Cohen

Executive Producer

John H. Starke

Executive Producer

Kramer Morgenthau


Maryann Brandon

Film Editing

Dean Zimmerman

Film Editing

Benjamin Wallfisch

Original Music

Russell Barnes

Production kiến thiết

Mary Claire Hannan

Costume thiết kế

John Papsidera


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All Critics (141) | top Critics (34) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (120)
Full Review… Ben Sachs Chicago Reader Full Review… Roxana Hadadi Chesapeake Family Magazine Full Review… Sandra Hall Sydney Morning Herald Full Review… Donald Clarke Irish Times Full Review… Wendy Ide Observer (UK) Full Review… Ed Potton Times (UK) Full Review… Joe Lipsett Hazel và Katniss và Harry & Starr Podcast Full Review… Matt Cipolla Film Monthly Full Review… Alex Hudson Exclaim! Full Review… Allen Almachar The Mac
Guffin Full Review… Steven Prokopy Third Coast đánh giá Full Review… Dan Scully Cinema76
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