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The Darkest Minds (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

While Fox was supposed to have an X-Men team proper film out this year, well three (Or was it four?) of them originally, they wound up with just Deadpool making its release date. Dark Phoenix and New Mutants have been bumped multiple times and the Channing Tatum Gambit movie just seems like a fun talking point to make the news rounds every once in a while like a Crow reboot. They did have a film that sold itself on being very much like an X-Men movie, but not a part of any Marvel universe and skewing toward the young adult dystopian future novel crowd. Because, well, its based off of one. The film came out to poor critic reviews (Audiences loved it going by data sites) and an incredibly sad box office performance. You’ll be able to pick it up and check out what everyone missed when it arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray October 30th. 

Film 

When teens mysteriously develop powerful new abilities, they are declared a threat by the government and detained. One of the most powerful young people, Ruby, escapes from her camp and joins a group of runaways who are seeking a safe haven. Betrayed by the adults in power, this newfound family soon realizes that running is not enough — they must use their collective powers to wage a resistance and take back their future.

I’m not anti-YA (Young Adult) movies. Harry Potter is one of my all time favorite film series (And yea, excited for The Crimes of Grindlewald) as is to not as much an extent The Hunger Games. But every film subgenre will hit lulls with almost theres, also rans, par for the course and just blah stuff that’s there. Note, I LOVE slasher movies. I can sit through the junkie ones and enjoy the hell out of it. Most of you, probably think I’m nuts and can’t. But that’s how deep I go. YA movies, well, I’m on the other side when it comes to something like The Darkest Minds.

Jennifer Yuh Nelson being the director gave me some hope and excitement for this. I had otherwise been interested slightly from the trailer, but poor reviews led me to just “getting to it later”. I’m glad I waited. Nelson brings her sensibilities and expertise to much of the creative ways she displays action, but unfortunately…most of the film isn’t that. It looked like it was going to be a kind of X-Men knock off. Its kinda that and its kind of like the third Hunger Games in a way. But its a whole lot of stuff you’ve seen before, packed in a look and narrative you’ve seen overdone as well.

Most of The Darkest Minds is dialogue driven and trying to be character focused. However, a majority of that dialogue is exposition. And there’s a little over abundance of two dudes fighting over a girl. Funny enough, its not a love triangle, its a poor man’s “Peace was never an option, Charles” type head butting. What we get is a world and powers that promise a lot in terms of potential and we get delivered maybe 50%. Sure, its not the biggest budgeted film, but just let er rip and go for it.

Overall, I found myself pretty board with the film and not engaged much with any of the characters at all. Some of the action and powers were handled and staged well, looking cool, but it was in an empty effort. I will say, my 4 year old was a pretty captive audience for this as I kept checking the time. I’m obviously not the audience for this, so if I sound mean or whatnot, keep that in mind. Just tell yourself “He doesn’t get it”, because…I probably don’t. Maybe there’s a generation out there super excited for this and ones that will discover it. Who knows. But for this member of a certain generation…not my cup of tea.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: There isn’t information available on what resolution this was naturally, but I’d wager this is a 2K DI with a 4K upscale. Regardless, it looks pretty good. There’s a little it of a jump here form the standard Blu-ray. Things look a little crisper and a bit more defined in this image. Its not a massive leap, but it is more than house maintenance when it comes to the texture, blacks and colors.

Depth:  Some good depth of field here with good character and environment separation as seen with confident looking camera swoops. No distortions or blurs present with rapid movements.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and natural providing a good level of saturation and shading throughout. Details string through and there are no issues with missing information. No crushing present either.

Color Reproduction: Colors come one pretty strong and a very well saturated here. There is a good boldness to clothing with particular colors. Lights, fire and effects things like lightning and beams have a nice pop off the screen utilizing the HDR glow.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent start to finish on the film. Facial features like freckles, blemishes, make-up, tear wetness and more come through with terrific clarity at any reasonable distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio 5.1, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 DTS, German 5.1 DTS, Italian 5.1 DTS, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital,

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Spanish (Castilian), Danish, Finnish, Dutch, German, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Japanese, Czech, Korean, Chinese, Polish, English Commentary, Spanish Commentary, French Commentary, Spanish (Castilian) Commentary, Danish Commentary, Dutch Commentary, Finish Commentary, German Commentary, Italian Commentary, Norwegian Commentary, Swedish Commentary, Korean Commentary,

Dynamics: The Darkest Minds brings a top notch Atmos track to the proceedings for a nice full on experience, be it the heat of battle or a little learning session in a quiet it room. This mix is well balanced and feature good impactful loudness while never drowning other important aspects out in big moments. This track provides the film with an extra bump in terms of enjoyment.

Height: Not abused, but in natural spots like helicopters above or debris falling, the ceiling channel is there to give you that overhead bump.

Low Frequency Extension: Explosions, crashes, soundscapes, action and song beats all get a nice thump from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Things whip around the room pretty effortlessly in this mix. Sound travels with rolling effect in giving a full room effect. There are nice unique flavors to each channel given the moment and they can all come together in concert fashion with score and song moments.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and discernible no matter the severity of the action or music on the screen.

Extras 

The Darkest Minds 4K Ultra-HD comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy. Aside from the commentary track, all extras are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • By Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Dan Levine and Dan Cohen

Remember: A Look Beyond Ruby and Liam’s Last Kiss [Original Animatic by Jennifer Yuh Nelson] with Optional Commentary (HD, 3:56) 

Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary (HD, 1:28)

Gag Reel (HD, 3:44) 

Jennifer Yuh Nelson: Heroine at the Helm (HD, 17:24) – A profile on the film’s director which has her going over her process and leaning on animatics as a way of preparation. Others who worked on the film talk about working with her and why she’s perfect for the job in her transition from Kung Fu Panda to The Darkest Minds.

Ruby: Harnessing Hope (HD, 4:54) – Profile on the film’s protagonist with the cast and cred going over where she comes from and what she has to do in the film.

Liam: A Complicated Relationship (HD, 5:07) – Same thing but focusing on the character of Liam.

Chubs: Found Family (HD, 4:13) – Ditto Chubbs.

Zu: Awakened Abilities (HD, 5:54) – And Zu.

Clancy: Crafting a Possible Future (HD, 5:59) – And let us not forget what everyone thought about Clancy.

Storyboard to Screen Comparison wit Optional Commentary (HD, :59)

The Power of Georgia (HD, 5:00) – Here’s a fluff piece on shooting on Georgia, the “gold mine of different looks”. People love shooting in Atlanta. Mandy Moore is big on it.

Behind the Scenes in Georgia (HD, 2:06) – More Georgian fun on the set of the film and love for Atlanta to be found here.

Gallery (HD)

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:11) 

Summary 

The Darkest Minds is some generic YA take on the X-Men. If you’re a fan, more power to ya. You’re getting a good deal with this 4K Ultra-HD release. it features some top notch audio and video while also giving you a nice healthy amount of bonus features with pretty good information. I’d wait for a solid deal to pick it up. Heck, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. Perhaps The Darkest Minds will have The Brightest Deal. Okay, I’ll see myself out now.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “The Darkest Minds (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Kiara

    What I like about this website is it’s giving me good suggestions of what to watch next. Thanks!