Josh Boone’s The New Mutants may have had a horrific, bloody path to cinemas but that has little to do with the movie itself, which is…okay.
The story opens with Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt, who incidentally happens to look just like Rose Salazar from Battle Angel Alita minus the anime-style eyes) who’s sleeping when a tornado tears through the trailer park where she and her father (Adam Beach) live – speaking of Adam Beach, why are there only four actors Hollywood seems to call on whenever they need a Native American male? There’s Beach, Wes Studi, Graham Greene and Zahn McClarnon. They’re good at what they do but for all of Hollywood’s talk about diversity they’re clearly not trying terribly hard though the racism, implied or otherwise, in Boone’s movie may extend beyond his choice of Native American actors.
Or was it a tornado? Dani and her father run from the scene, and he leaves her in the lee of a tree while he returns to help other residents.
And is never seen again.
Dani wakes in an unnamed institution, where Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga) watches over her and four other young adults, Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams), Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy), Roberto da Costa (Henry Zaga) and Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton) all of whom have abilities of some sort, as well as various traumas.
Which brings us back to Dr. Reyes, who’s apparently the only adult present though that’s not to imply that she’s alone in the sense that there’re not only cameras everywhere analyzing her young charges but she’s constantly receiving orders from someone via computer.
Though for a movie that cost $67 million the lack of in managing five potentially dangerous – oftentimes due to no fault of their own – individuals is a really odd oversight on director Boone’s part (which isn’t to imply that there isn’t more to Dr. Reyes than meets the eye).
What’s also a bit strange is that no one – except Illyana, who dislikes Dani right off the bat because “movie” – is able to connect the weirdness that seems to be happening since her arrival is a bit odd though somewhat understandable because they’re all not terribly communicative (and have their own crosses to bear).
As I said, The New Mutants isn’t a horror movie and is more comparable to The Breakfast Club with superhero and horror overtones, which isn’t a bad thing because the “Fox-Men” movies were wildly inconsistent in terms of their approach to the material, so it was actually kind of nice to see them working in a Marvel Studios-esque manner.
The movie is well-acted and there’re neat nods to the comics (particularly our first meeting with Lockheed, though why her puppet looks like a purple raptor instead of a dragon is a bit confusing). I wish Boone had committed more to the world he constructed and the screenplay had went though a few more iterations; it might then have been a movie worth the wait.
As things stand? It’s okay though not worth all of the hullabaloo that accompanies it (and by the way, don’t waste your time waiting for a post-credit scene because it isn’t there).