‘The Darkest Minds’ Unleashes More Teens With Powers, Problems

As those comparisons suggest (and a few more, such as the fear-your-children theme in the ’60s classic “Village of the Damned”), one of the problems with the film — produced by Shawn Levy (“Stranger Things”), written by Chad Hodge, and marking the live-action debut for director Jennifer Yuh Nelson (the “Kung Fu Panda” sequels) — is that virtually every aspect of it feels cribbed from something else. And that doesn’t factor in one of its best flourishes — using “Watership Down” as a means of providing commentary about the children’s search for sanctuary.
Moreover, it’s fairly transparent early on, given the variety of constituencies in play, that there won’t be time to resolve everything that’s being set up, which only magnifies the sense that the movie isn’t compelling enough to justify the expectations being heaped on it.
There is, inevitably, a metaphorical quality to science fiction, from youthful alienation to the emphasis here on colors, which includes labeling and segregating the teens based on their power levels, adding one more impediment to Ruby and Liam’s connection.
For all the talk about colors, though, and the palette that’s represented within the movie’s ambitions, “The Darkest Minds” ultimately proves pretty drab and gray.
“The Darkest Minds” premieres Aug. 3 in the U.S. It’s rated PG-13.

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