Good afternoon! I hope you’re having a great summer. Today’s post is going to be a double feature review for Mission: Impossible-Fallout and The Darkest Minds. These films have completely different tones, stories, visual effects, and target audiences. Mission: Impossible-Fallout is a spy film that’s packed with daring action sequences. The Darkest Mind is an adaptation from the YA dystopian genre. As usual, I’ll discuss the strongest and weakest elements from both movies. Is one film better than the other? Read my post to find out.
Let’s start with Mission: Impossible-Fallout. It takes place shortly after Rogue Nation. Ethan Hunt is an American spy who’s searching for John Lark, the leader of a terrorist organization called The Acolytes. Lark believes a major doomsday event through nuclear destruction will unite the world’s surviving nations. Hunt and his team are trying to discover Lark’s true identity while keeping nuclear material away from The Acolytes. It’s going to a tumultuous mission for the main characters of this film.
I think Fallout is a great movie. It has incredible action scenes that are stuffed throughout the entire story. Tom Cruise is insane! He jumps across buildings, participates in motorcycle chases, and skydives. The action scenes are intense, exciting, and brutal. It really looks like the actors are pummeling each other. The choreography is terrific and everything was filmed to fit on the big screen perfectly. Fallout should make action movie fans feel really happy. It has helicopters, car chases, a big variety of guns, and fierce hand to hand combat.
This movie has a several characters and most of them are quite intriguing. Tom Cruise plays Ethan Hunt, the film’s leading man, and he’s a thrilling action star. His character also has a lot of humanized elements. Hunt is very compassionate toward his team and he doesn’t want to leave anyone behind. He has many skeletons in the closet and they still bother him. Hunt is a little more interesting than the average action hero. Henry Cavill plays August Walker, a rival teammate from the CIA. He’s a fabulous action star too. Walker is tough, competitive, and willing to complete a mission through any means. He exudes power and ferocity in each fight scene. Walker is probably one of Cavill’s better roles. I would like to see him play similar characters. The supporting cast rounds out with Luther Stickell (Ving Rhames), Benji Dunn (Simon Pegg), and Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson). They complete Hunt’s team with fun dynamics. Ilsa is the team's femme fatale, Benji handles the cyber elements, and Luther is a jack of all trades in the espionage world. Vanessa Kirby plays the White Widow, a new character in the franchise, who has questionable intentions. She’s complex and quite suitable as an action diva. I wish she had more screen time.
Fallout was put together incredibly well. The cinematography is impressive with creative camera angles. Most of the sequences have a very fast pace, but the cinematography keeps the view grounded enough to prevent audiences from getting dizzy. I think the film editing, sound mixing, and sound editing is great too. All of the technical elements help bring the action sequences together.
Lorne Balfe composed the musical score and it’s awesome. The music puts a lot of momentum behind the action scenes and brings out a lot of excitement. It seems like the music fits really well in the Mission: Impossible franchise. Fallout’s music is somewhat similar to the franchise’s previous scores and I consider that a good thing. It shows a stylistic connection to the other films. Some of you guys might benefit by purchasing the soundtrack. It’s surprisingly fun.
Naturally, Fallout has a few weak elements. However, I don’t have serious complaints. The story is a little bit convoluted. That seems to be a recurring issue in the Mission: Impossible series. I tried not to think very much about the plot’s layers. It made the experience less confusing for me. Plus, the story has some twists that pop up along the way. Unfortunately, they’re not very surprising. I’m not saying the twists are predictable, but they make sense and suit the general structure of the plot. The twists didn’t leave a big impact on me.
Some viewers will disagree with me about this part, but I definitely believe the film is too long. It’s almost two and half hours long. The film never drags, but it starts to feel kind of long after a while. I believe two hours would have been the perfect length for this movie. A shorter length would have been cheaper for the studio as well.
Fallout is really stuffed with characters. I enjoy that part, but the characters don’t get a lot of screen time except for Hunt and Walker. It’s not a big deal, but I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more character development from the supporting cast. All of the characters are super cool. It would be nice to see a little more interaction with them.
I also have a feeling that some viewers will be confused if they didn’t see the other Mission: Impossible movies. Fallout has connections with almost every film in the series. It especially has strong ties with Rogue Nation. If you’re going to see Fallout, definitely watch Rogue Nation first. I would also recommend viewing Mission: Impossible III and Ghost Protocol. It makes sense to connect this film with previous installments, but I think some casual moviegoers could feel a little bit confused and left out. Anybody can watch this movie, but people will miss quite a few details if they’re brand new to the Mission: Impossible series.
Now I’m going to discuss The Darkest Minds. It’s a post-apocalyptic film with a much smaller budget than Mission: Impossible-Fallout. A strange disease killed ninety-percent of the world’s children and those who survived developed peculiar abilities. The government places the children in four categories and detains them in compounds. Greens have heightened intelligence. Blues display telekinetic powers. Golds are a little more risky with an ability to conduct electricity. Reds have the ability to spew fire. Oranges can control people’s minds. The latter two categories are very rare and the government considers them dangerous. As a result, the government euthanizes any children in the red and orange categories. Ruby Daly is an orange who’s posing as a green and she knows the ruse won’t last for much longer. She escapes from the facility and joins other youths on a rebellious mission to change the status quo.
I don’t have as much to say about this film, but it has some decent elements. Overall, The Darkest Minds is fun and interesting. It fits in the YA dystopian mold with other franchises like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, etc. I find the premise fascinating and it doesn’t have many pacing issues. Its runtime is only an hour and forty-five minutes, which is completely appropriate for this type of movie. Obviously, this film is targeting teenagers and they would probably like the story. It has decent action scenes without seeming bloated or overly flamboyant. Some of the themes are eerily relevant to our current world. The Darkest Minds tries to teach the audience a lesson without being too preachy or annoying. It’s not copying the X-Men either. That part was a little bit deceptive in the marketing. Basically, this film is totally watchable. It doesn’t feel like a terrible slog.
The young cast is surprisingly impressive. Amandla Stenberg plays Ruby Daly, the film’s protagonist. You might remember Stenberg as Rue from the first Hunger Games movie. She’s the girl next door with some rebellious qualities. Daly seems more like a realistic young lady who’s just trying to survive one day at a time, rather than a superhero, femme fatale, or a natural born leader who wants to change the world. In fact, she’s quite introverted and I think that element works really well for the character. She’ll probably seem very relatable to young female viewers. The other kids are fine too. Harris Dickinson is Liam Stewart, a blue and Ruby’s love interest. He has really good intentions and is a good leader for their motley crew. I find Liam quite mature and leveled headed for his age. His powers are pretty cool and it’s nice to see a young lady falling for a good boy for a change instead of the traditional bad boy. Skylan Brooks plays Chubs or Charles, a green who provides a refreshing contrast to the other characters. Chubs is nerdy, amusing, and very helpful to his friends. Their group rounds out with Miya Cech as Suzume or Zu for short. Zu doesn’t talk for some reason, but she’s a decent supporting character who uses her electrical powers to cause some damage. She’s almost like Ruby’s little sidekick.
The Darkest Minds has quite a few disappointing elements. Jennifer Yuh Nelson is the director and she doesn’t have a lot of experience outside of Kung-Fu Panda. Her lack of experience is probably a big part of the problem. Overall, this movie would have been really good if it was put together better. I also noticed sloppy film editing, weak writing, bad dialogue, genre clichés, and a few plot holes. All of these elements hurt the movie’s integrity and contribute to a seventeen percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
I’m not impressed with the rest of the cast. None of the adult characters are very good. The film also has very weak villains. Aside from the main cast, everyone else is generic, bland, and rote with lousy acting. It looks like the actors were just collecting a paycheck. The director allowed them to give lazy performances and that’s part of the problem. Concerning villains, their main plans are completely predictable. None of them are menacing or memorable either.
Should you see either of these movies in theaters? I certainly recommend Mission: Impossible-Fallout. In fact, you’ll get a better experience watching it on a deluxe screen like IMAX or Cinemark XD. If you love action films, go see the new Mission: Impossible movie. The Darkest Minds is kind of interesting, but you don’t need to see it in theaters. However, it’s definitely better than the seventeen percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. I recommend watching it on a streaming service or cable. Renting it for a few dollars on Vudu or Fandango Now is a good option.
That’s the end of my double feature review. Watch out for more film reviews this year. Did you see either of these movies yet? Tell me about it in the comment section. An afternoon at a movie theater is a great way to escape from this summer heat. Take care of yourselves and enjoy your night at the movies.
8/12/2018 04:20:22 pm
Enjoyed your review, Stephanie. I haven't seen either of the films yet, but I am a Mission: Impossible fan going back to the original series and may have to give Fallout a try.
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