The Darkest Minds presents itself as kind of a mashup of various popular young adult tropes. You’ve got superpowered teenagers, a dystopian future, a fledgeling rebellion and a budding romance at its core.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson is on directing duty for this adaptation of Alexandra Bracken’s novel of the same name. Interestingly, this is Nelson’s live-action debut, her most high-profile work prior to The Darkest Minds has been helming the second and third entries in the Kung-Fu panda series. Although a moody young adult, sci-fi thriller might not seem like the obvious next step, it will be interesting to see whether or not Nelson will follow in the footsteps of directors like Brad Bird, whose deft understanding of choreographing action for animation seamlessly carried over to a more tangible format.
The Darkest Minds stars Amandla Stenberg as a teenage survivor of a plague that has wiped out the majority of America’s children, leaving those who remain with superhuman abilities. Stenberg’s name is becoming synonymous with the young adult genre, with starring roles in The Hunger Games, Everything, Everything and the upcoming The Hate U Give. The Darkest Minds might appear a little derivative, but the themes of marginalised children in American internment camps give it an unlikely heft in the United States’ current political climate.
The Darkest Minds is slated for UK release in August.