Saturday, August 16, 2014

Movie Review: The Giver

My rating: 3/5

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."

I'll go ahead and out myself as holding The Giver on a very high pedestal as my favorite book of all time.  However, I generally don't care if movies don't precisely follow their book origins; I actually like differences, especially when a visual or aural style is used that couldn't really be expressed effectively in written word (or vice versa, if some faculty was used well in a book but couldn't possibly be expressed in a visual/auditory medium). So long as they make sense. 

This movie follows the book pretty well, but to a fault in my opinion. They could and should have left things out to leave more time for memory-sharing (which I thought was far too short before Jonas freaked). The whole thing in general also felt rushed, probably to try and pack as much as they could from the book into it, and there was far too much "telling-not-showing."  Every part that showed the audience what was going on rather than telling us was great.  For example, the ceremony, with all the different ages that being celebrated for different things, and Jonas's number being skipped.  That part was great.  Other parts though felt like unnecessary monologue and hand-holding, and this led to cheesiness that I never got from the book and seriously detracted from the movie.

Acting was very good, I don't have any complaints there.  I do wish they'd included the fact that "giving" a memory in turn makes the original memory-holder lose that memory, or at least only retain a very faded version of it.  This isn't addressed, and I feel like it was important and would have made Jonas's giving Gabe some of his memories more compelling and sacrificial than they seemed in the movie.  I also wish they'd shown more of the disdain for certain occupations, especially "birthmother;" the only time this is mentioned is when Asher hopes he doesn't get a waste-management position.  Personally I think it's important to show that, even though this is a "perfect" society, people still don't treat everyone exactly as equals.  

And then towards the end... did anybody else worry (like, a lot) about Gabe being seriously injured after the jump off the cliff on the motorcycle, and the fact that sometimes Jonas is carrying him only by his head? :-/

Overall though, it was still entertaining, and I did love how they showed memories in rapid succession sometimes, in extremely bright colors.  I also liked how they handled the color transition.  But a lot of things could have been done better I think, so I'll leave this at a solid 3.  Warning to those who are very squeamish: true to the book, there is a scene where a baby is put to death.  It's rightfully shocking, and makes this probably not a film for young kids.

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