Movie Review: The Giver

the giver“The Giver”

Source: Saw in theaters

Review of the book

Summary from IMDB:

In a seemingly perfect community, without war, pain, suffering, differences or choice, a young boy is chosen to learn from an elderly man about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world.

reviewI think we were right to be worried about this movie. I have no problem with Brenton Thwaites as a person. I thought he did a good job with what he was given. My problem comes from the fact that Thwaites is a 25 year old man playing an 18 year old man when Jonas is supposed to be a 13 year old boy. Actors playing characters much younger than themselves is nothing new and it won’t be going away anytime soon. I know that. I think that choice in casting (and fudging of the story) changed the fundamental feel of the story and not in a good way.

Those changes made the movie appear to be competing with movies like The Hunger Games and Divergent. If you’ve read all three books, you can see how that’s a misstep. Yes, all three books are dystopias but they are very different type of dystopias and certainly dystopias aimed at a slightly different audience. I think fans of the book were going to be interested in seeing this movie even if it didn’t look as slick and shiny as The Hunger Games or Divergent. We wanted to see the book that we enjoyed or love brought to life. Not the book twisted into something it’s not.

In addition to aging up the characters, they decided to throw in some romance to the story. Jonas’ romance with Fiona was very stiff and odd. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters but then again there wasn’t supposed to be that type of chemistry between them.

I do have to say I liked the way the movie looked. It started out black and white. As Jonas learned about color, you saw color appear in his world. It started off as random objects being in color and everything else in black and white. Slowly, color appeared in the world. The colors were muted but slowly grew stronger or weaker as the story progressed. I also really liked memories. They were a good sampling of being alive: the good and the bad. They were small snapshots but I liked the shortness.

The bottom line? As a movie, it was okay. As an adaption of a book, it was fairly poor one.

11 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Giver

  1. I am embarrassed to admit that I have never actually read the book. But I think that was helpful when it came to seeing the movie! I really enjoyed the movie, and it was nice to be able to separate it from a book that I already loved. And now that I’ve seen the movie, I’m looking forward to finally reading the book!

  2. That’s what I was afraid of! I recently re-read the classic book in anticipation of the movie, but then started to hear about changes. I know they were looking for a wider audience but you don’t mess with a story so beautifully written in the first place. Thanks for your honest review.

  3. I haven’t read the book yet, but I want to soon. Do you think it’s better if I watch the movie first so that I’m not as disappointed in the adaptation? Or maybe I can go into the movie pretending it’s not related to the book. 🙂

    • You should read the book first! I’d be interested in hearing how the movie stands up when you have the book fresh in your mind. It’s been a while since I read the book so I don’t remember all the finer details.

  4. Pingback: Monthly Round Up: September 2014 | The Cheap Reader

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