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The Darkest Minds is a real treat for teens; a blockbuster for young adults. Especially for those who haven’t read the books.

It’s based on a popular novel series by a relatively young American author Alexandra Bracken, 31.

The story is about a dystopian society scared of children who possess supernatural gifts. The children live in camps, behind fences, under the surveillance of a scared government.

After perusing the eponymous novel in the series, the book feels more brutal already in the first 30 pages. Bracken’s telling detail and the suffering of the characters can be felt on the skin.

Amandla Stenberg (in front) plays Ruby. Harris Dickinson (right) is Liam. At the left, Skylan Brooks as Chubs and Miya Cech as Zu. Picture: © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. All Rights Reserved.

In the movie, however, under the pen of Chad Hodge and the command of Kung Fu Panda director Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Bracken’s text has gotten a sugary coating. The emotions scratch the surface and the dialogue is simplified. Visually it looks pretty good. The characters’ makeup shines.

While toning down the pain, the film is still replete with mystery, drama and action—without forgetting the teenage crushes!

The Darkest Minds provides a fine platform for young actors, such as Amandla Stenberg, 19, who plays Ruby. She had her breakthrough in The Hunger Games (2012), but in this one, she is the thread that keeps the story together. She does a great job portraying a strong female character that the young audience can identify with.

Her costar is Harris Dickinson (Beach Rats (2017), 22, who plays her rebellious friend Liam. Together they drive forward the plot while enjoying the company of supporting actors, such as the funny but wise Chubs (Skylan Brooks) (The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete (2013).

The Darkest Minds is a compact teen sci-fi adventure that keeps entertaining the whole 105 minutes.

‘The Darkest Minds’ premieres in cinemas August 3.