After an illness sweeps the nation killing most children and leaving the survivors with a distinct set of superpowers, camps are set up to contain them. Despite being one of the most powerful of these mutant kids, Ruby is able to escape the camps. Will she be able to survive, find others like her, and perhaps fall in love before it’s too late? Find out in… The Darkest Minds.
How?! Ruby is just your typical kid… oh you know, besides being a super powerful Orange that can control minds and basically is too powerful to be allowed to live. That’s because after a children-targeted plague swept the Earth all surviving kids ended up with either super smart powers (Green), telekinetic powers (Blue), electrical powers (Gold), mind control powers (Orange), or fire powers (Red). The last two are killed and the rest are sent to camps. Luckily Ruby is able to trick the bad guys and pretends to be a Green until years later when her secret is discovered and she has to be smuggled out of the camp. On the outside she becomes wary of the adults that claim to want to help her and instead takes up with a group of escapees. They are on the road hoping to evade capture and find a mythical camp where similar survivors are able to live peacefully. While Ruby comes to accept that she’ll never see her parents again, they are able to track down where the camp is. Once there Ruby is recognized as one of only two surviving Oranges along with their leader, the son of the President, Clancy. After being taken under his wing everything is pretty great for Ruby until Clancy is revealed to be a power-hungry garbage person. Just when she tries to escape with her friends the military invades the camp (with the help of Clancy Garbageman over there) and they have an all out battle that Ruby wins. Realizing that she needs help to fight Clancy Garbageman she runs to a child army and in the process her friends are hurt, lost, or driven away. But she’s not crying about it (you are!) and she’s ready to lead in the sequel that is 100% being made. THE END.
Why?! For the main characters it’s survival plain and simple. But also survival on their own terms. They don’t want to live in camps, they don’t want to work for an anti-government resistance, and eventually they come to realize they don’t want to be in the survivor’s camp either. They just want to be able to cruise the countryside together in their Nissan minivan. As for the antagonist, it’s mostly revenge. His dear Papa President more or less tortured him after he gained his powers so now he want to take revenge on everyone by ruling the world with an iron fist or something.
Who?! Hail to the Chief. President Gray has taken office. I know there will be an argument whether President Gray should immediately be succeeded by President Gray Jr. in the BMT Hall of Presidents. But I would argue that he clearly installed himself as a dictator and that at that moment the Presidency became a mockery and that just won’t be tolerated. Also quick shout out to Mandy Moore, musician-turned-actress extraordinaire.
What?! Interestingly many reviewers took umbrage at the particularly noticeable product placement for a Nissan mini-van in this film. I actually didn’t notice it because it seemed to me like they were kind of making fun of how not cool the van they drove around in was. Although thinking about it, the defining feature or the van was its super reliability and they all cried when they had to leave the dear van behind. So yeah, I guess when they make a joke about giving a piece of product placement a Viking funeral then they may have stepped a bit too far.
Where?! We spend a large majority of the film in Virginia. In fact it might have been the whole movie for all we know. The beginning and end are both definitely in Virginia. The middle part is more like a road trip film about a gang of besties cruising about in their Nissan mini-van. B.
When?! Somehow a film set in the future after an epidemic doesn’t really even try to give you a year or time that the film is set. Looking very closely at the scan that Ruby is given at the camp I think it reads that her date of birth is October 23, 2004 or at least something close to that. Since we open around her birthday we can assume that this is more or less the date at the start. She then spends the next six years in the camp. Just guessing I think it makes sense that she is ten at the start and 16 for the main part of the film. Placing the film in the year 2020… but this is more or less guesswork. I just wanted to show off that I close read that brain scan. C-.
This movie is a good example of the logical conclusion to the postapocalyptic YA series trend we saw in Hollywood. Everything is vague but also spelled out as if for dumb people (if you are a Blue your eyes glow blue when you use your powers. How convenient for the viewer). All our main characters are good as can be and everyone else is on a gradient of badness. Our chaste main characters totally want to get together but are kept apart by circumstances. Etc. etc. etc. It’s not a good movie, particularly at the beginning and the end, which is straight up laughable. But there is a bit in the center where they are road tripping around as a group of four that I actually kind of dug. They were all likeable and I would have liked that to be the story. A much longer search for the camp only to arrive and find it destroyed by the military or something… but alas, tied to a book series they’ll never finish. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! Y’all still like dystopian YA novels right? That’s still a thing and not a genre that will produce two enormous bombs in 2018, right? WRONG. Let’s get into it!
P’s View on the Preview – Around when Mortal Engines became possibly the biggest bomb of the year, here we are watching the old news dystopian YA adaptation disaster. What jabronis! Anyways, I was just hoping the film wouldn’t be aggressively boring. I have to admit … I really wanted to know what made her different. Because protagonists of YA novels have to be different. I can’t help myself, I needed to know!
The Good – Some of the effects look cool. The kid actors aren’t … the worst thing I’ve ever seen. The underlying story is shockingly dark. Like the characters are straight killing people. And not really in self-defense at times … like they just kill people. That part I didn’t really like, but at least it feels a bit different than Hunger Games or Divergent where killing was always given a virtuous excuse.
The Bad – Oh the rest of this film is a catastrophe though. Cliche, boring, a terrible “twist”, a dumb conclusion that sets up for a franchise that will never be. The acting is still terrible, even if it isn’t the worst thing I’ve seen. The entire beginning is just exposition trying to explain the nonsense world. And the biggest crime? She wasn’t even special. She’s just one of two “oranges” that aren’t captive in the world. This is a dumb film that makes you feel dumb with its dumbness.
The BMT – I think the notoriety will depend on how dystopian YA adaptations go from here. I imagine they will try again with something like Netflix soon, as they are quite keen on that demographic, the young teen group which consumes the new horror and romance films they are churning out. If so then maybe this will be one of the last we watch in a year end cycle and this is could be notable? … Otherwise nothing I will forget this movie presently.
You Just Got Schooled – Since this is based on a book I naturally did not bother to read it. Seriously … I never would. I read the entire Divergent series and regret it to this day. But I did go through the full series’ synopses just for you, so let’s blast through some highlights! (1) This book runs much like this movie, but in the end they go to a camp of oranges and ended up escaping and calling on the league after Chubs gets shot. (2) I can’t make heads or tails about this, but something about the President’s son trying to destroy his mother’s research about a cure for their condition. It sounds like Hunger Games Book 3. (3) Jesus Christ, how is there no information about these books. Basically they are now finding out about the cause of the powers they receive and trying to take down the corrupt government … I think. Wowza! What a disaster! They don’t get cured by the way, there is a sequel called Darkest Legacy which follows a different character and everyone still has powers it seems. You’re welcome world.
Welcome to Earf – Mandy Moore starred in The Darkest Minds and Because I Said So with Diane Keaton, who was in Big Wedding with Robert De Niro, who was in Righteous Kill with Al Pacino, who was in 88 Minutes with Leelee Sobieski, who was in Here on Earth! Welcome to Earf!
StreetCreditReport.com – As I previously mentioned: We have real lists now! From the AV Club, Variety, and Rolling Stone. This is the first top 10 from the AV Club since we watched Fifty Shades Freed, so that’s fun. Otherwise surprisingly overlooked. Might get a bit more play now that Mortal Engines is an official box office disaster, it could be groups with that eventually in updated lists in a month.