The Darkest Minds is a 2018 American Science Fiction film based on Alexandra Bracken's novel of the same name. It is directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson (director of Kung Fu Panda 2 and Kung Fu Panda 3) in her live-action directorial debut, and stars Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie and Harris Dickinson.
After a disease wipes out almost all of America's children, the survivors gain mysterious abilities and are placed in internment camps due to the government deeming them to be a threat.
Ruby is a 16-year-old girl who survived the disease when she was 10, who by happenstance finds a group of teens who are in hiding from the government as well. They then work to reclaim their future and find others trying to survive in the process.
The film was released on August 3, 2018 by 20th Century Fox.
Previews: Trailer 1
The Darkest Minds has examples of:
- Adaptational Heroism: In the books, the Children's League turns out to be not very different from the government. Here though, while they still have a bad reputation, it's portrayed as false and they're heroes. Ruby joins them at the end.
- Adaptational Superpower Change:
- Unlike in the books where there was no way to tell what color psi a person was unless they were seen using their powers, here the psis are depicted as having their eyes glow in the color of their government classification whenever their powers are used. Also the children who died from the IAAN virus also have their eyes glow similarly shortly before they die, which did not happen in the original novel. Possibly due to the Rule of Perception, because if all Psis could be identified thus Ruby would have been killed years earlier.
- In the books Red psis can create and control fire, here this is changed to having them exclusively breathing fire from their mouths.
- In the books Yellow psi can generate and control electricity, with some who have difficulty controlling this ability causing minor electrical malfunctions or creating large bursts of electricity whenever they touch an electronic object. Here all Gold psi seem to require electronic objects to channel their power through.
- Chubs is changed from being a Blue psi (being telekinetic) in the books to a Green (having Super Intelligence) psi here.
- Less of a change and more of a case of increased ability. By the end of the film, Ruby has the power to control people without first making physical contact and can control more than one mind at a time skills she would gain in the second and third books, respectively.
- Adaptational Villainy: Clancy was definitely a piece of work in the books, but here he's the cause of all the government's atrocities, due to having mind-controlled enough of the government to be shown getting off Air Force One in the ending scenes. A soldier he's mind-controlled reports that his father is "still in your rubber room". Whereas the Fallen States of America in the books is the result of internal and international Realpolitik, here it's because the country is being run by a sociopathic teenage telepath.
- Advertising by Association: The trailer and poster advertise the film as being from the producers of Stranger Things and Arrival.
- After the End: The film takes place after a disease has wiped out almost all the children in America.
- Big Bad: Clancy. In the books, he's on the run from the government despite his enmity to Ruby and her friends, but here he's actually running it.
- Cute Mute: Zu, a pretty little girl who never speaks in the film. It's unclear if she can't, or simply won't.
- Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Clancy looks like he could've been carved by Michelangelo, with dainty features and a proportioned built. Doesn't stop him from being The Man Behind the Man and a full-on sociopath.
- Fantastic Racism: The government puts any children with superpowers in internment camps.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: Kids' eyes glow their respective colors when they use them, which in the case of Greens is the only way to show viewers that those powers are in use.
- Informed Attribute: The Blues being somehow less dangerous than the Golds, Reds or Oranges. Telekinetics usually become Persons Of Mass Destruction in speculative works and this universe is no exception. Liam even kills four Reds single-handedly and while still reeling from a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- Playing with Fire: Some of the teenagers are able to create blasts of fire from their mouths.
- Power Incontinence: Ruby has a hard time controlling her powers, and causes a lot of damage as a result.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Black Betty was changed from a small mini-van in the book to a much larger delivery van, so that the camera crew would be able to fit filming equipment inside it.
- Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Oranges have the ability to make people kill themselves or others. Ruby even uses it to make a helicopter pilot perform a suicide attack against Clancy.
- Shout-Out: To Watership Down. In the book the characters are reading it and directly talk about how it relates to their experiences. In the movie, Ruby reads to Zu from the book as a bedtime story, and the closing speech contains some lines from Frith's advice to El-Ahrairah.
- Supporting Leader: Although Ruby is The Hero, Liam is the one in charge of the main group.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The trailer and several posters show Ruby's body disintegrating at several points, which in the movie is a visual representation of Ruby erasing herself from a person's memory. This is made worse in that the trailer specifically shows a shot of this happening in front of Liam, which is one of the very last scenes of the film.
We're rising up
We're rising up... ♫