Dystopian storylines sees to be catching fire (pun intended) as dystopian young adult novels are coming to life on the big screen this year. For many that are keeping up with the new Giver movie you may have seen the newest trailer. But already the 1st official trailer is already getting mixed reviews and understandably so. As a big fan of the book myself, I was excited to learn that a new trailer was finally being released. However like many others who were fans of the book I could not help but feel let down. Although I intended to write this post sooner considering I first wrote about my reaction to who was playing Jonas in an earlier post. I now have time to collect myself I hope to present my initial reactions to The Giver trailer in a more objective fashion. Besides the obvious aging up of the characters here were my initial reactions below of some of the changes…
1. What happened to the black and white world?
That was my first reaction as I watched the trailer, which mind you, was all in color. For those that read the book, Jonas’ world is devoid of color with only the sporadic glimpses of color that Jonas is able to see. It’s only later in the story when he meets The Giver, that he gradually can see fully in color. To me it felt like a slap in the face that such an important aspect of the book was being ignored. With color you had choices, something Jonas’ world deemed to be unwise even dangerous. The lack of freedom to allow people to make their own choices was a main theme of the story. If the movie is all in color, mention of Jonas being able to see a rainbow would lose all significance.
2. This is not what I imagined Jonas’ world to be.
The beauty about Lowry’s work is the simplicity. When I read the book I got the impression that Jonas lived in a small close-knit community with some touches of modern technology but mostly living a very simple, ascetic lifestyle. Watching the trailer, I get more of an overt futuristic feel to the movie from the sleek modern interior of Jonas’ home, to the end of the trailer (not sure why they needed to add a spaceship?) Although the book does take place in the future, I am worried that the movie is aping past futuristic/dystopian movies that recently came out.
3. That didn’t happen in the book.
There were several things that I noticed just from the trailer that the movie plans to alter so I’m not even going to take the time to address all of them. Obviously when books are adapted to movies you can’t expect the filmmaker to copy it word to word. Things are bound to be altered or omitted. At the same time you don’t want to change too many things in the story otherwise you might as well as call it a derivative work.
Although I can’t speak for everybody, I personally worry that the movie is trying to emulate other futuristic/dystopian movies (eg. Hunger Games), at the expense of losing its originality and what made the story so compelling in the first place. After I had my little rant, I realized that this is just the trailer and only one at that. Regarding the trailer being in color, they want to make the movie more “marketable” to people who may not be familiar with the book (even though they run the risk of alienating fans in the process). Thankfully, according to one source, The Giver movie will still be shown in Black and white (Thank God someone listened to my request). While I wasn’t blown away, from an objective standpoint the trailer gives the average viewer a gist of what the story is all about without giving too much of the plot away and is visually appealing. Considering the book is filled with introspection this movie looks to ramp up the action to make it more appealing to the mainstream audience. While I am skeptical about some of the actors/actresses selected to play the characters, I am pleased that Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep play their respective roles. The trailer piques my curiosity as to how the movie will play with the concept of “stirrings” considering the characters are older. (you’ll have to read the book to know what I mean by stirrings) Despite my initial disappointments, I’m not writing-off the movie anytime soon. My only hope is that the movie does the book justice. What are your thoughts on The Giver trailer or the movie in general? Despite obvious changes to the book do you still plan to see it? I would love to hear your thoughts.