However long ago, you were in seventh grade, you were assigned, begrudgingly began to read, and then almost instantly fell in love with the great Lois Lowry tome The Giver. A work of allegorical fiction that built a dystopian future around humankind’s desire to preserve “sameness.” Identical individuals in identical family units leading identical lifestyles… until one kid who was just special enough (the Katniss, the Harry, the Tris, the Ender, the Mortal Instrumentalist) learned the truth and lay waste to the customs of his corrosive society. It was a great book. One we all knew, eventually, would be granted cinematic form. And one we all knew wouldn’t get the justice it deserves.
The Weinstein Company/YouTube
Silver lining: at least we can probably say we were right. The new trailer for Jeff Bridges‘ Giver adaptation doesn’t look too promising. We’re inclined to hold out judgment until the film actually hits theaters, but we can’t help but foster pessimism considering the abundance of issues we’ve taken with the first promo:
1. It’s in color. A major conceit of The Giver was that nobody, except Jonas (eventually) could see color. It was part of the government’s suppression of creativity and imagination and hope and the free-wheelin’ crayon industry. This would have been a super easy thing to convey onscreen — easier than in the book, even.
2. Jonas’ age. Lowry’s main character was 12. In this thing, he’s played by a genteel looking fellow named Brenton Thwaites, who is pushing 25.
3. Jonas’ eyes. All Receivers (Jonas is a Receiver — that’s like being a Divergent, or a Girl on Fire, or a Boy Who Lived, or a Mortal Instrumentalist) are supposed to have uniquely light eyes. I’m not quite sure how this compromised with the general lack of color, but I don’t remember having too much of a problem with it.
4. The Giver. What’s he doing out of his secluded mountain house? Why does he appear to be interacting with Meryl Streep? Go back inside, Giver. You only talk to Jonas.
5. The injections – “morning injections.” This one’s a two-parter. Voice-over here suggests the existence of “morning injections,” suggesting them to be a regular part of the routine for all living citizens. But injections in the book were lethal, and as such not regularly scheduled.
6. The injections – the “release.” What is that young lady doing getting a release injection? Those are for babies and old people only! Only the Giver’s daughter (Taylor Swift) got a mid-life release. Oh, and that brings us to the next issue…
7. Taylor Swift. Hm.
8. So much action! Please don’t let this turn into an action movie, Phillip Noyce. It’s a cerebral, temperate, emotional drama. A C.T.E.D! Relevant…
9. The post-escape chase. In the book, one Jonas gets out of his society and into the territory of “Elsewhere” with baby Gabriel in tow, he’s all set. Smooth sailing until the ambiguous ending signifying plausible death. But here, he’s hotly pursued!
10. The spaceship. There’s a spaceship in this trailer. I don’t feel good.