Friday, August 15, 2014
The Giver Review
The book itself is slow-moving with lots of build-up and not a whole lot of action or drama. But the way in which it is done is completely mesmerizing and beautifully written. I would truly call it a masterpiece. Early on in the movie, though, there are quite a bit of red flags that made me really worried. The biggest one is the age. Jonas and his friends are 12 years old in the book. In the movie I think they are supposed to be 16, although Jonas himself is played by Brenton Thwaits who is 25. The ages of the characters lead to a love story that was completely fabricated by the movie. But before we get to that, the pacing is off. Instead of having a lot of build-up with the characters, we jump right in and before you know it Jonas has been assigned and is with the giver receiving his training. That and there's a lot more rule breaking than there should be.
But do you know what, I made the decision early on that I wasn't going to be that type of viewer. It often bothers me when a fan of a book made into movie complains at all the tiny little details in the movie that were wrong. So I accepted the things that were happening. Sure, they were different, but they weren't awful. The age of Jonas didn't even bother me. Thus for most of the movie I was actually able to enjoy what was going on. And to be honest, there was a whole lot of things that the movie did right. Despite jumping into things a bit fast, the tone of the movie was done right. As it should be, it was very emotional especially for Jonas as he is gaining new feelings and emotions that he has previously not experienced. Visually the movie was done very well and I especially liked how they transitioned back and forth from black and white to color depending on who the movie was focused. Also, all the acting was top notch. Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep give excellent performances, but I especially loved Bridges. He was perfect as the giver. I also did enjoy the performance of Brenton Thwaits as Jonas. Despite being older than he should be, he pulled off the emotional roller-coaster that is Jonas quite perfectly.
In analyzing everything, I've decided that the big problem with the movie is that the makers of the movie tried so hard to be the next big young adult dystopian movie. Instead of trusting in the brilliance of the source-material, the motivation seemed to be financially motivated. They wanted this to be the next Hunger Games or the next Divergent. They wanted it so much that they altered the source material enough to make sure it felt like that style of movie. And in doing so, they took away all the magic of the book and left me disappointed. Had they trusted in the source material for the whole ride instead of just part of it, this could've been an epic movie. But it's not. Instead of going the way of The Hunger Games, this is more along the lines of Eragon. Failed potential. No, this isn't nearly as disastrous as Eragon was, but you get the point. My grade for The Giver is a 6/10.