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‘The Darkest Minds’

For once, a great adaptation of a novel

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‘The Darkest Minds’

Art by EPK.TV

Art by EPK.TV

Art by EPK.TV

Art by EPK.TV

Thompson Wong, Assistant Editor

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Based on the series by Alexandra Bracken, “The Darkest Minds” comes to life in a fantasy thriller film directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson. As a fan of the novels, I can happily say that the film does a great job of portraying the original story.

In the series’ universe, a horrifying disease called the Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration, or IAAN has wiped out over 98 percent of all children in the US. The children who survived the epidemic are left with extraordinary superpowers causing people to fear them.

This prompts the government to collect all the surviving children and put them in labor camps to “reform” and “cure” them. The children are then classified by colors based on their powers, with Green being the least dangerous, and Orange being the most, meaning they need to be killed.

Ruby Daly is an Orange who disguises herself as a Green for the six years she stays at the labor camp. When the wardens of the camp discover who she really is, Ruby escapes and is left to explore the world outside. Ruby eventually encounters a group of runaway kids: Liam Stewart, Charles “Chubs” Meriwether, and Suzume “Zu” Kimura. Ruby joins them for an adventure to find a legendary safe haven for kids like them.

I was reluctant to watch the movie when I first heard it was coming. I was in love with the book series, and I feel that movie adaptations often screw up the original novels. However, I was surprised and happy to see that the movie stays true to most of the story, with changes that didn’t bother me (Chubs was originally a Blue in the novels, but was changed to a Green for the film).

The film’s amazing plot and beautiful cinematic shots truly captivated me. Despite the film’s classification as a fantasy thriller, there’s also a heartwarming feeling from the bonding and friendships between Ruby and the runaway kids she joins.

For the most part, the film does a good job of portraying Ruby’s relationship with the group. From the shaky start when Ruby joins them as a stranger, to rocky moments that they go through together, then finally reaching a point where she is trusted and becomes one of them. It’s a great gradual build-up to portray their friendship.

I wish the same could be said about the budding romance between Ruby and Liam.

Ruby and Liam’s relationship is rather instantaneous, with nothing in between to help build the chemistry between the two characters. Sure, there are some cute moments in the film to show the growth in their relationship, but it felt like they went from friends to being-in-love way too quick. It’s hard to believe their relationship with the film’s format, compared to the novel, which actually shows the gradual process in Ruby and Liam’s relationship.

Overall, the film does a great job of adapting “The Darkest Minds” from its novel form. I’m looking forward to the sequel of the film, and hope that Nelson continues to follow the story accurately.

A version of this article also appears, and there may be some differences in content and language.
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‘The Darkest Minds’