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Cinema Trips - 'The Darkest Minds'

A Review of the Brand New Young Adult Novel Adaptation

The film reviews that I have posted thus far has been films that I have to some degree enjoyed and would recommend to others to varying degrees. This film, and to its credit no matter the various faults is still recognizable as a film, is one I would recommend people to not approach even if you are wearing a hazmat suit with Superman as your protection.

With regards to the positives, Amandla Stenberg was trying her best despite the material that she was given, Skylan Brooks managed to get a few chuckles out of me, Miya Cech got off fantastically as she did not have to utter a single line of dialogue, and Harris Dickinson through a vast majority of the film, save for a few key moments, proved that plank from Ed, Edd, and Eddy had more range and personality.

To put things lightly this film was an unmitigated disaster, combined with a touch of a convoluted mess that seemed more interested in cherry picking the most commonly used and popular young adult tropes and trying to squeeze them all in rather than actually making a film. This ultimately managed to squander what I personally thought could have been a film with a lot of potential to one that felt as if it was constructed by a flow chart of what was deemed popular.

The film feels as if it was an adaptation straight from the off, and one that was not adapted well. Characters are introduced only to have them disappear completely. The worst offender of this type of treatment is that of Gwendoline Christie's character. Mandy Moore comes off strong at the start only to disappear until the very end of the film. The main villain of the film may as well have had a huge billboard with neon lights and arrows pointing to the fact that he was in fact the villain.

The pace of the film was awkward, and the narrative was disjointed. So much so that the film felt as if massive chunks of it was not even filmed or left by the wayside when the script was being written. 

Ultimately the film suffers from having plot points being resolved too easily. So much so that they may as well have removed them altogether and spent more time with the characters so that we could get to know them better so that the emotional, or what was supposed to be emotional, scenes had a bit more weight to them. I feel this way because there were a few scenes when it is just the four central characters talking, and it was the best part of the film.

We are not shown how trust between the characters is built, we are only told that trust is built. This ended up feeling jarring as in one scene two characters are not trusting, a montage later they trust each other. Another victim of the translation process.

Thankfully to the film's credit they do not play the misunderstanding plot point seriously, and actually manage to subvert it against all expectations of this film, which was refreshing, though ultimately not nearly enough to save the film.

The film also makes odd choices with how they decide to tell the film, starting off with narration, to then drop it for the entire film only to bring it up again at the end.

Driving the stake in deeper is the selection of pop songs they use in the film, which already makes the film feel dated and I dread to think how it would feel in the future, if anyone is unfortunate enough to see this.

It is surprising that The Darkest Minds failed to clear the very low expectations I had for the film, ending up only as a dumpster fire of a film that will be forgotten in a couple of days. 

In short, stay far away from this film and instead watch either The Hunger Games or The Maze Runner.

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Cinema Trips - 'The Darkest Minds'
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