Three stellar novels, containing strong, complex characters and intriguing plots filled with action, adventure and high stakes. Plus a heart wrenching romance. What more could you ask for? These books are beloved to me-- one of the first series I read that helped to trigger my now insatiable book obsession.
Whenever I hear one of my favorites books are being turned into a movie, the news is always accompanied with a mixture of emotions. Excitement because it'd be amazing to see my favorite stories and characters come to life, and get the recognition they deserve... but there's also a strong sense of apprehension. See, book-to-movie adaptations have a strong history of being huge disappointments. For every amazing book-to-movie, there's tons of unsuccessful adaptations that just disappoint everyone. For example, the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies are amazing, but The Mortal Instruments, Divergent Trilogy, Vampire Academy, Percy Jackson, I Am Number Four etc. were all terrible flops that really just disrespected the books.
Where does the Darkest Minds fall in all of this? Unfortunately this movie is the latter. I had such strong hopes for it-- I've been following news on the movie ever since it was even announced that the story had been picked up for adaptation rights, so this release was a big deal for me.
I wasn't able to get to see the Darkest Minds on its release day, or even its release week, but I was keeping up with it... and my heart sunk when I saw its shockingly low ratings just about everywhere. I think The Darkest Minds had only been in theaters for two weeks by the time I found the chance to see it... and it was already not playing in most of them. I had to travel an absurd distance to get to a theater showing it, and even though I'd heard all of the negative reviews, I still went in hoping for the best-- but soon enough I realized that the movie was certainly not going to be that.
I can never understand how book-to-movie adaptations go so horribly wrong-- I mean seriously! You already have a successful script in book form! I get that some things need to be changed to make the movie producible, but vital plot points plus changing things just for the sake of changing them? Ugh. I can't. Too many things in this movie were switched, and not even for the better-- I think it was just made to appeal more and be more "intense" but the book was plenty fascinating.
There were elements of the story that made absolutely no sense to me and just seemed ridiculous. Such as the fact that the kids' eyes glow their power color? Also no one even mentions that ever-- so is it just something that the viewers can see... or? But why does this make any sense at all? Because the government gave the powers their colors because of their level of danger... so why would the powers abide by the colors given to them by the government?
There were also moments where the tone of the movie was unclear. There was a serious car chase action scene going on and then it cut to this weird picture of Lady Jane bouncing to music in her car. It just couldn't seem to stick to a tone, which caused the film to be muddled-- which doesn't make it easy to really get into the story.
The whole relationship between Liam and Ruby was just... fast and wrong. It was totally rushed-- it felt like they fell in love in just about three days. When the film ended I leaned over to my companions and said, "Bet you after fifteen days they're going to be engaged." It was a joke, but it really did apply.
The book made Liam and Ruby a slow burn that made it impossible not to fall in love with their relationship. All together the movie's depiction of Ruby and Liam's connection was disappointing. In the book Liam bears the burden of being the leader of his group (Chubs and Zu), he feels responsible for them and it's a heavy weight... Ruby helps to connect with him and lift a bit of that burden away. They just have these touching moments that really make their relationship tangible-- the movie had none of that and just tried to skip ahead to the romance. It was the most insta-love-y connection I've ever seen. And I hate instalove.
Just a few more examples of weird things are when Liam and Ruby are like trying to compare themselves to Harry Potter characters-- that scene might have tried to be comedic or relatable, but instead it just turned out uncomfortable and awkward. Then there's that scene in the mall where the telepaths literally press Liam and Ruby together, why was the position needed? I think it was added to make more sexual tension between the two of them but it just... like everything else it was weird. Also the very end scene Ruby just walks up to Liam and hugs him from behind which is WEIRD because it seems like a totally comfortable movement, when they'd never been depicted doing that before. Not only were scenes made weird, but Liam's whole character from the book was just different and a whole lot more likable/ easier to get attached to than movie Liam. (Why did they make Chubs a green? So that the whole group was very color? That just makes it more unrealistic! Ugh. He's supposed to be a blue, if you didn't know.)
Actually, I could go on a rant about all the things made wrong in this movie, but... well, you all don't really want to read that. I did appreciate the characters of Zu and Chubs-- they were definitely the best part of the movie. Otherwise... Not much else was impressive. Sometimes I literally had to look away I was just so done with the movie and how it decided to depict the story. All and all, I was very disappointed. 4/10 stars. It got sucked into all the classic cliches, changing things to try and make the movie a hit, when in reality, it would've already been one if it hadn't made those changes. The cliches and attempts to make a hit movie are really what sunk that ship.
Sorry if this review just seemed long and ranty... I'm not really sure where this is going so I'm jus too to say-- thank you for reading! Sorry this review came out so late-- I started it a long time ago but then school started and well... I've been busy.