The Darkest Minds – A predictable and cliched sci-fi thriller

Posted on 22 August 2018
By Roisin Gordon
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A group of gifted teenagers are under threat by the government, but together they must learn to be strong and fight them back.

Sounds familiar? Well that’s because The Darkest Minds took every cliche in sci-fi and YA adaptations and churns out a film so predictable, that will have you rolling your eyes and groaning in despair.

Based on Alexandra Bracken’s young adult novel, where 90% of children in America have obtained superpowers, that makes them a threat to society and must be quarantined by the government.

The heroine of the story is Ruby Ray (Amandla Stenberg), who is the most powerful of her kind but must keep her powers secret from those around her. She is on the run, having escaped from the government’s hold.

Ruby soon meets a group of teenagers who are also on the run, and are trying to find the safe haven where escaped kids can live in harmony from those who want to harm them.

However not everything is set to go smoothly. With a bounty hunter (Gwendoline Christie) hot on their trail, as well as Ruby hiding a secret of her own, the group try to overcome numerous obstacles to stay alive.

You’d think that we’d be fed up of YA adaptations by now, since we’ve had numerous Hunger Games inspired films in the last few years, but it’s what they do with the story that matters and helps set itself apart from previous films.

Unfortunately the film doesn’t try to do anything new with the story, as it just feels like a complete rip off of franchises such as Stranger Things, X-Men and Hunger Games.

Even the advertising for this film boasts about how the producers from Stranger Things are also behind this film, which just goes to show how desperate they are to cash in on its success.

Every plot point is so predictable that it’s almost laughable, relying on the oldest of cliches from YA adaptations that leaves you feeling bored instead of on the edge of your seat.

The subplot involving the group being chased by a bounty hunter was not very interesting. They didn’t really delve into the character or make her seem as much of a threat to the group. You never feel much suspense over her trying to catch the group and by the time the character’s arc comes to an end, you don’t feel bothered about it.

The romance between Ruby and Luke was so predictable and forced, that you know they will become a romantic couple from their first meeting.

There was really no need for a romance in the first place, and it felt like they tried to copy other romance subplots from previous YA adaptations, which leaves you feeling uninvested in how they will end up together.

Amandla Stenberg has proven to be a good actress in the past, but despite her clearly trying her best, there wasn’t much for her to work with. However, Stenberg did perform the emotional scenes very well, especially when her character is confronted with her past.

Harris Dickinson’s role as Luke felt very one-dimensional, as the writers clearly didn’t bother to flesh out his character, but just have him there just to act as a love interest for Ruby and not much else.

Skylan Brooks’ role as Chubs does give us the odd one liner that makes us chuckle, but the character feels woefully underused. It’s a shame as he was one of the more interesting main characters.

Miya Cech’s performance as Zu was sweet, which was evident in her scenes with Ruby. Much like Chubs, she didn’t really bring much to the story, despite the character’s cool powers and slightly mischievous nature.

Despite having a talented young cast, The Darkest Minds feels like a rip off of other franchises and doesn’t add anything new to the genre.

Purple Revolver Rating: 2.5/5