The YA or Young Adult genre has never been known for innovation in story telling. Falling in to it’s own tired tropes over and over again.
It’s almost like a simple recipe that a young college students cooks in his first apartment. A little bit of teen angst, a contrived love story maybe even a triangle and some TV quality action and you have a YA action hit. Or, that’s how 20th Century Fox thought it would go.
Unfortunately, with The Darkest Minds release that is just not the case. The cast is not bad. With YA veteran Amandla Stenberg (AKA Rue from The Hunger Games film adaptation) playing main protagonist, Ruby. With the actress not lighting up the screen but, being good enough not to mess up the film. The dreamy young love interest,Liam,has low at best chemistry with Ruby and it pervades the entire movie. It’s not good as it messes up quite a bit of the momentum the film manages.
My largest complaint is that it feels as if Fox ripped off a story from X-Men and tried to give it a fresh coat of paint and call it The Darkest Minds. All you have to do is sub in mutants for the word teens. The world feels threatened by the super powered teens so they round them up and oppress them. There’s factions trying to help the teens and others trying to undermine those factions. The most powerful of these teens is a telepath with enough power to save or destroy everyone around her ala Jean Grey. It’s what took me out of the film the most.
What we have in the end is a middle of the road young adult dud. I’m sure they were shooting for another Hunger Games but ended up with A Golden Compass. 1 1/2 stars for an unremarkable film.