There is a time, when a disease sweeps through the USA which infects only children at the age under eighteen. Actually, the perfect target group for YA series like The Darkest Minds starring Amandla Stenberg.
THE DARKEST MINDS is an adaptation of the best-selling book by Alexandra Bracken, and the first in a YA (Young Adult Fiction) series:
- The Darkest Minds (December 18, 2012)
- Never Fade (October 15, 2013)
- In The Afterlight (October 28, 2014)
- Through the Dark (October 6, 2015)
- The Darkest Legacy (July 31, 2018)
The Darkest Minds is a story about that terrible disease which infects all children. However, while many children die instantly, others survive. The latter develop super powers. Nevertheless, the government considers these children as a huge menace. Therefore, they will be imprisoned in internment camps. Here, they must work and pass several tests. These tests serve the purpose to categorize the kids in colors.
THE COLORS (BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE, RED, GOLD)
Blue is the color classification for those who developed telekinetic powers. Liam played by Harris Dickinson is classified as a blue and he develops the ability to move objects with his mind.
Green is the color classification for individuals who developed enhanced mental and intellectual powers. In the film, Chubs develops heightened problem-solving abilities and a photographic memory.
Gold is the color classification for those who developed electrokinetic powers. Zu played by Miya Cech is classified as a gold and develops the ability to create and control electricity. They are considered one of the more dangerous.
It’s the color classification for those who developed pyrokinetic powers. These individuals have the ability to create and manipulate fire. As a result, they possess immense destructive potential, and are considered amongst the most dangerous of the PSI.
Orange is the color classification for those who developed telepathic abilities. Ruby is classified as an orange and develops the ability to read minds, influence people’s actions and thoughts, alter or erase memories, and change the feelings of others. But she hides her abilities and wears a green uniform.
Both, the Red as well as the Orange are doomed, because the authorities deem them a danger to society. Thus, the government has decreed to kill them all.
THE ESCAPE OF LIAM & ZU
However, hundreds of children dressed in gold, blue and green scrubs take off sprinting across a dark alleyway barely lit with ominous streaks of security lights scanning over the children. Alarms blare through the night signaling an uprising as soldiers chase down the children cornering them against an electric security fence. As snow falls and the darkness surrounds Liam (Harris Dickinson) and Zu (Miya Cech) by his side.
So, Liam taps into his psi powers forcing the fence to fall. From this moment, Liam takes care of Zu. Additionally, Chubs (Skylan Brooks) teams up with them later.
RUBY DALY (AMANDLA STENBERG)
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader.
But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living, says Alexandra Bracken.
Amandla Stenberg plays the role of the powerful young girl Ruby. The actress was born as the child of an African American writer and a Danish father. Furthermore, her grandmother had Greenlandic Inuit ancestry. But not this mix of cultures makes the beautiful young woman unique. She is a brilliant actress.
AMANDLA STENBERG’S BREAKTHROUGH
So, Amandla Stenberg first gained recognition for her role as young Cataleya in Colombiana in 2011. In that film, she played a young girl, who has to experience the assassination of her family. Because of her great emotional acting, many people eagerly awaited her next appearance.
It happened, when Amandla Stenberg played the role of Rue in Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games”, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson. After the success of the film, Amandla earned a Teen Choice Award in 2012 with Jennifer Lawrence for Film – Choice Chemistry. She was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a Black Reel Award in 2013 for her performance as Rue.
Furthermore, Amandla Stenberg starred in the brilliant movie Colombiana (2011). At the age of 13, she conviced the audience as well as the critics with her performance. Last year, she was seen in “Everything Everything”, a romantic drama.
Why I used the most space for Amandla Stenberg? Well, because she is the one and only highlight of the film. Once more, she performs very authentic and emotional. Unfortunately, the others don’t.
It might be because of the lack of talent of the other actors. Alternative, it might be because of the direction. Furthermore, it might be because of the familiar theme. We know so many heros with super powers, from Deadpool to the Avengers. Therefore, the audience expects something unique and innovative. But, The Darkest Minds isn’t innovative. Of course, it’s entertaining and maybe it will unfold its true power on DVD or in a sequel, which probably will follow.
However, I won’t say that all actors played bad. The very young Miya Cech is cute, and Harris Dickinson shows potential. But, that’s all. Moreover, the story sounds shocking but the scenery isn’t. The internment camps remind of the Nazi concentration camps, within the story as well as the scenery. But there is no moment, when the audience could feel the pressure, fear, danger. Of course, it might be caused by the fact that the movie is rated PG-13. But, the kids know much harder video games nowadays.
Finally, The Darkest Mind is a special case. On the one hand, the story as well as the main character Ruby and, thus, Amandla Stenberg, have great potential. Moreover, the scenes with Amandla Stenberg are altogether worth seeing. On the other hand, the execution and the cast doesn’t meet that high claims.
But I hope for a sequel, which uses the true power of the story as well as the talent of Amandla Stenberg.