In February, when the Parkland students were first mobilizing in their fight for gun control, a bunch of pieces like this one for Mashable titled “Of course the 'Hunger Games' generation knows how to use the media in the fight against guns,” were popping up. The point was to connect the onslaught of post-apocalyptic pop culture these teens have consumed in their lives to their ability to start a revolution in real life.
It makes sense. The kids who looked up to Katniss Everdeen and Tris from Divergent in their most formative years are now voicing their opposition to a corrupt government led by a cartoonish evil overlord. It IS life or death. The stakes are just as high as in any of these dystopian dramas. Emma Gonzales is a real-life Katniss, wielding words instead of bows and arrows. It makes sense then, that in these times when teens are leading the fight, that more YA adaptations of those post-apocalyptic stories would not only get greenlit but that they’d become the cinematic backdrop to a modern teen uprising with life imitating art.
Amandla Stenberg stars in The Darkest Minds, based on a YA novel of the same name written by Alexandra Bracken. The trailer dropped yesterday, meaning that this film was done long before the Parkland tragedy became a hashtag and yet, the timing feels eerily perfect. I don’t want to belittle the atrocity these students and so many others like them faced in real life by comparing them to fictional characters but oftentimes, pop culture is just a reflection of the real world. In the real world, we need a revolution and watching one play out on screen may be a timely catharsis, even if the timing is just a coincidence.
The Darkest Minds has been compared to X-Men because it’s basically what would have happened in Logan if it kept going after the credits rolled and that’s my dream movie so I am all the way here for this. This is how The Hollywood Reporter describes The Darkest Minds:
In the near-future dystopian film, which is based on Alexandra Bracken’s YA novel of the same name, a disease has killed off 98 percent of children, and when teen survivors begin to develop powers they have no idea how to control, the government deems them dangerous. After she is sent to an internment camp, Ruby Daly (Stenberg) escapes to join other teens in full-on revolt.
YES, PLEASE. Throw in some Mandy Moore and Gwendoline Christie and well, take all my money. A question I asked out loud to myself halfway through the trailer was, “Who is this deep-voiced child I’m trying not to crush on who looks like a Nick Robinson wannabe?” That child is Harris Dickinson, he’s 21, starred in the indie Beach Rats and is cute and all but he’s no Nick Robinson. Let Nick and Amandla star in everything.
Amandla Stenberg starred as Rue in The Hunger Games. She also, as I just alluded to, starred in the non-dystopian romance Everything, Everything and she’s about to tackle another YA adaptation with The Hate U Give. And then there’s The Darkest Minds. Amandla Stenberg is the 2018 Shailene Woodley (remember when she went from The Spectacular Now to Divergent to The Fault in Our Stars?). Amandla is about to be everywhere. Give me Amandla over Shailene “I don’t watch TV and I made this dress from hemp seeds” Woodley any day.
The Darkest Minds trailer isn’t groundbreaking. A few scenes seemed ripped right out of Catching Fire but I do think it’s exactly what people want to see right now. I’m excited.
You can watch Amandla’s Ruby lead a revolution below.
Attached - Amandla at the Essence 11th Annual Black Women In Hollywood Awards Gala earlier this month.