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Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Amandla Stenberg, Mandy Moore, Gwendolyn Christie
Writing Credits:
Chad Hodge

Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control of their future.

Box Office:
$34 million.
Opening Weekend:
$5,842,609 on 3127 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Audio Descriptive
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Czech Dolby 5.1
Hindi Dolby 5.1
Hindustani Dolby 5.1
Hungarian Dolby 5.1
Polish Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Turkish Dolby 5.1
Brazilian Portuguese
Supplements Subtitles:
Brazilian Portuguese

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 10/30/2018
• Audio Commentary with Director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Producer Dan Levine and Executive Producer Dan Cohen
• Original Animatic
• Deleted Scene
• Gag Reel
• “Heroine At the Helm” Featurette
• “Harnessing Hope” Featurette
• “A Complicated Relationship” Featurette
• “Found Family” Featurette
• “Awakened Abilities” Featurette
• “Crafting a Possible Future” Featurette
• Storyboard to Screen Comparison
• “The Power of Georgia” Featurette
• “Behind the Scenes in Georgia” Featurette
• Gallery
• Trailer & Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Darkest Minds [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 5, 2018)

A “Young Adult” (YA) adventure with an X-Men influence, 2018’s The Darkest Minds introduces us to a United States in which disease kills 98 percent of all children. As for the remaining two percent, they develop super powers.

Adults fear these kids, so they place them in special camps. After six years there, 16-year-old Ruby Daly (Amandla Stenberg) manages to escape her place of imprisonment and she connects with other super-powered youngsters who mount a resistance against the forces that keep them captive.

Fox promoted Minds via its connection to Stranger Things, as both come from some of the same producers. Apparently this marketing tactic didn’t work, as the movie sputtered to a poor $12 million in the US.

Perhaps audiences simply have grown tired of the whole YA genre. Ever since hits like Hunger Games ruled the multiplexes, we’ve gotten one similar effort after another, and there would seem to be diminishing returns, as it becomes tough to separate Darkest Minds from Maze Runner from Divergent and so on.

I can’t blame audiences because they shunned Minds, as the movie does nothing to stand out from the crowd. Despite the best efforts of a talented young cast and a few decent action pieces, most of the film seems plodding and dull.

Of course, it doesn’t help that like all its YA brethren, Minds doesn’t exist as an entity unto itself. Nope – instead, we clearly see it as the first chapter in a series.

A series that presumably won’t come to fruition, as studios don’t tend to make sequels to movies that bombed. Nonetheless, Minds still comes with the lack of resolution one expects from these “opening entries” and that turns into a negative, partly because we suspect we’ll never see these characters on the screen again.

Though the absence of an actual conclusion bothers me less than it otherwise might because I simply don’t really care about the characters or situations. Nothing here ever rises above the level of generic action flick, so we’re saddled with dull elements left and right.

Again, I don’t fault the cast, as they do their best, and as noted, every once in a while Minds threatens to come to life. Despite the derivative nature of its plot, the opening scenes create some intrigue, and an occasional action beat later in the film manages mild excitement.

But in between, we get long stretches of bland teen bonding, scenes that mean Minds becomes more of a super-powered Breakfast Club than anything else. Some of this works fine but these sequences take up so much running time that they turn into a true flaw, one that creates serious ennui along the way.

Of course, every YA story needs a mopey love triangle, so expect one from Minds. Like everything else about the story, we can tell where this will go well in advance, so it creates no drama or intrigue.

Instead, the love triangle just feels like yet another padded story beat. Too much of the film comes across like the writers took the plot points from a screenplay manual, not because the tale needs them.

All of this turns Minds into a forgettable adventure. Despite sporadic moments of mild drama and excitement, too much of the film drags for it to go anywhere positive.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

The Darkest Minds appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a strong presentation.

Sharpness worked fine, as the film seemed accurate and well-defined. Only a sliver of softness impacted some wider shots. I saw no signs of jaggies or moiré effects, and the film lacked edge haloes or print flaws.

If you suspected Minds would come with the modern standard teal and orange palette, you’ll get what you expected, though the blue side of things dominated more than the orange. Within stylistic constraints, the hues seemed well-developed.

Blacks came across nicely. Dark tones were deep and rich, without any muddiness or problems. In addition, low-light shots gave us smooth, clear visuals. All in all, this became a pleasing image.

I also felt happy with the solid DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Minds, as the mix offered plenty of opportunities for lively auditory information, and it took good advantage of these. The track placed information in logical spots and blended all the channels in a smooth, compelling manner.

Audio quality was also positive. Music sounded lively and full, while effects delivered accurate material. Those elements showed nice clarity and kick, with tight low-end.

Speech was always distinctive and concise, too. This mix worked well for the film.

The disc includes a mix of extras, and these start with an audio commentary from director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, producer Dan Levine and executive producer Dan Cohen. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at the source and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects, editing, music, photography and related domains.

Despite the usual tendency toward happy talk, this commentary generally works well. It never gets too bogged down in praise, and the participants maintain a light, fun tone that turns this into a largely positive track.

A Gag Reel fills three minutes, 44 seconds. It offers a perfunctory collection of goofs and giggles.

With A Look Beyond Ruby and Liam’s Last Kiss, we find a three-minute, 56-second animatic done by Nelson. She comes from an animation background and she used this work to help sell the movie; she adds a teaser to show what may have happened after the film’s end, too. It’s an interesting curiosity.

We can watch “Look” with or without commentary from Nelson, Cohen and Levine. They give us some basics, but not a lot of substance emerges.

One Deleted Scene fills one minute, 28 seconds. Called “Chubs Confronts Ruby”, it shows an argument between those characters. It delivers some minor character exposition but nothing special.

The scene also comes with optional commentary from Nelson, Cohen and Levine. They provide specifics about the sequence and why it got they boot. They add some decent notes.

A series of featurettes follow, and we open with Heroine At the Helm. It spans 17 minutes, 24 seconds and includes Nelson, Levine, producer Shawn Levy, executive producer John H. Starke, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Jack Gill, director of photography Kramer Morgenthau, author Alexandra Bracken, special effects supervisor Michael Lantieri, and actors Miya Cech, Skylan Brooks, Gwendoline Christie, Amandla Stenberg, Harris Dickinson, and Patrick Gibson.

“Helm” looks at how Nelson got the job for Minds as well as her work on the film. Given that its title refers to Nelson as a “heroine”, a lot of praise becomes inevitable. Still, it gives us enough insights to merit a look.

With Harboring Hope, we get a four-minute, 54-second piece with Stenberg, Nelson, Gibson, Levy, Levine, Bracken, and actor Mandy Moore. “Hope” discusses the Ruby character and Stenberg’s performance. It becomes a passable overview, though it lacks much depth.

Next comes A Complicated Relationship, a five-minute, seven-second program with Dickinson, Nelson, Levy, Levine, Bracken, Stenberg, Gibson, and screenwriter Chad Hodge. “Complicated” follows the same model as “Hope”, so it looks at the Liam and Clancy characters and their performances. It comes with the same strengths and weaknesses as “Hope”.

Another character comes to the fore with the four-minute, 13-second Found Family. It includes Brooks, Levy, Bracken, Stenberg, Cech, and Hodge. Here we get notes about Chubs and Brooks’ work. It’s another mediocre reel.

Continuing the trend, we go to Awakened Abilities, a five-minute, 54-second clip with Cech, Nelson, Levy, Levine, Stenberg, Christie, Bracken, Lantieri, Hodge, and visual effects supervisor Bjorn Mayer. This one covers Zu and Cech’s acting, factors that make it very similar to the last few featurettes, though a few notes about visual effects add merit.

More of the same arrives with Crafting a Possible Future. It lasts five minutes, 59 seconds and involves Gibson, Nelson, Bracken, Levy, Levine, Christie, Stenberg, production designer Russell Barnes.

The Clancy character and Gibson’s performance come to the fore here, and it’s another passable piece. A glimpse of production design brings some useful material, though.

A Storyboard to Screen Comparison fills 59 seconds. We see the art on the top half of the screen and the finished movie on the bottom half. It’s awfully short but it’s still a fun comparison.

The “Comparison” comes with optional commentary from Nelson, Levine and Cohen. They offer some basics, but since the segment lasts less than a minute, there’s not much they can say.

Two promotional reels follow: The Power of Georgia (5:00) and Behind the Scenes in Georgia (2:06). In these, we hear from Moore, Morgenthau, Starke, Cohen, Barnes, Stenberg, Gill, Nelson, and Levy.

Both clips do little more than tell us how awesome it is to shoot in Georgia. Yawn.

Next comes a Gallery that packs 25 images. It mixes shots from the set and promotional elements to become a forgettable compilation.

The disc opens with ads for The Hate U Give, Maze Runner: the Death Cure, and Love, Simon. We also get the trailer for Minds.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Minds. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

As the dying ember of the “Young Adult” genre, The Darkest Minds shows why no one should miss it. The film boasts all the YA clichés with little real inventiveness or excitement. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture and audio along with a reasonably good set of supplements. This is a solid Blu-ray but the movie itself seems forgettable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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