Spoilers ahead people… I’ll warn you one more time but SPOILERS. ARE. AHEAD.
If you haven’t read (or seen) The Darkest Minds, it’s a great little young adult fantasy trilogy. Set in a world where very few children remain alive, most of the kids in the United States have fallen victim to a strange disease the government calls I.A.A.N. The survivors have developed “powers,” and are divided into colors based on their special abilities – reds control fire, yellows electricity, greens are super smart, and so forth. Since the government doesn’t know what to do with these kids, they throw them in work camps and gruesomely try to find a cure (kind of.. but anyway..). Ruby Daley is one of the few mind-controlling oranges (spoiler alert) who has been hiding in plain sight in the Thurmond camp for years, when a revolutionary group breaks her free and sets her out into the world – cue the young adult, dystopian future adventure.
Here is where you should turn for spoilers. I have quite a few thoughts about how the movie lived up to the book (which I very much enjoyed).
First of all, there were a few changes I liked, and a few I was annoyed about. Let’s start with the annoyances:
- Liam’s accent. In the books, Liam Stewart is a sassy southern charmer who catches Ruby’s eye almost instantly. And sure, in the movie he caught her eye too, but part of his charm was his adorable southern drawl which they conveniently eliminated in the movie. I mean, I know I’m not a director, but how hard would that have been to throw in an accent?! Any actor worth his salt should be able to pull that off. #disappointed.
- Zu’s pink gloves. To be fair, Zu doesn’t ALWAYS have pink gloves in the books, but the sweet moment when Ruby finds her an adorable set of pink rubber gloves was a scene I sorely missed. Zu is a little girl stuck travelling the country side with two boys, with a backstory that will break your heart. Even without the storyline we eventually get, you can tell she’s hurting, and a little bit of hope in those gloves would’ve brightened up the movie – it’s why it’s in the books!
- MAJOR PLOT CHANGE. In the book, our ragtag group of runaways make it out of the East River together and in one piece. Zu leaves a bit earlier to go to California with another group, and Liam, Chubs, and Ruby stay behind to just barely make it back out onto the road when Clancy’s army hits. IN THE MOVIE they throw everything together. They make the attack on East River the penultimate scene – Chubs is injured, Zu gets carted off to “safety,” and Ruby calls the League for help. It was just too much shoved together for my taste.
- Side note – they eliminate the ENTIRE story of Jack’s letter to his father. That was kind of a crucial plot line showing some of the nastier reactions parents had to their children’s disease. Plus, I’m sorry, a neck burn is very different than a gunshot.
- Second side note – during this scene we see the reds in action, and IT. WAS. WEIRD. They BREATHE fire, kind of, and it was really disturbing. I would rank it up there with the representation of the mutts in the Hunger Games movie. *shivers*
So being a book-lover, obviously I easily picked out the flaws in the movie adaption. However, I DID actually like it. Here are a few things I either settled on, or genuinely enjoyed.
- The cast. I thought this movie was so well cast. Anytime you see Mandy Moore hittin’ the big screen you know you’re in for a treat – and she was just a fabulous Kate. Liam, Zu and Ruby all hit the marks for me too, and the actor who played Chubs captured him perfectly. Chubs is low-key my favorite character, so I was a little worried about that. PLUS… throwing in Gwendoline Christie from Game of Thrones was an extra treat. Totally unnecessary to cast someone so high profile (is she high profile actually though? Or is it just because I’m a fan?) in that role, but hey, I appreciated the effort.
- The overall effect. While I was [understandably] irritated with some of the changes, at the end of the day the movie still made sense. It was rushed, as all book adaptions are, but the premise matched the book and we got to the same place in the end. I’ll tune in for movie #2, and hope it gets the green light.
What did you all think? Has anyone seen the movie? Give me your thoughts, book friends!
xo, gal-pal, Meg