The film takes place after a great plague wipes out 90% of the children’s population.
By Sean D. Hartman
Back in 2008, Suzanne Collins brought us The Hunger Games, a Young Adult dystopian novel depicting an oppressed youth rebelling against a tyrannical adult establishment. This led to an outbreak of a new genre of fiction set around children in extreme situations where they would need to balance the development of adolescence with the rapid need to mature and the making oneself a soldier. This new genre created some great follow ups, from the Divergent series to Maze Runner, all with unique takes on The Hunger Games theme.
The Darkest Minds attempts to add itself to this genre, yet fails miserably, turning instead into a consistently predictable teen romance wrapped in an attempted dystopia.
The film takes place after a great plague wipes out 90% of the children’s population, with all remaining children having special abilities ranging from the least severe, green, being intellect, to the most severe, red, being—fire-breathing dragons?
They know there are two characters with telepathy, right?
The film follows an escaped telepath from a children’s detention center—somewhat reminiscent of recent stories of migrant children being taken in by ICE—who must engage in a coming-of-age road trip with a stereotypically handsome jock telekinetic, the nerdy black friend, and a silent little Asian girl with electrical powers.
It’s a move that reeks of purposeful diversity.
So, this ragtime rainbow of heroes begin seeking out a sanctuary of superhuman children, run by the supposedly “cured” telepathic son of the President of the United States (played by liberal activist Bradley Whitford). They go through a predictable storyline, with every possible trope you can think of, from the cruel soldier abusing his power to the good guy who is really a bad guy.
This story feels like there was a message they wanted to portray, but the message is unclear. Is it a story against tyranny? Or a story against fear?
The movie is made even more unbelievable by creating a setting that felt overly barren despite only children being lost. Entire locations are completely abandoned, apparently under the hypothesis that children run economic output, a notion so ridiculous not even the most lenient suspensions of disbelief could rationalize it as a notion.
Sean David Hartman is a reporter for the Central Florida Post, covering entertainment and public affairs. He describes himself as a “Professional Political Nuisance” and goes after politicians on both sides. Hartman is an autism rights activist, and #ProudlyAutistic.