While I was watching The Giver opening weekend, I tweeted my impressions of the movie as I was watching. Here are those tweets, and what I was thinking at the time.
Buy The Giver to give yourself a plot refresher.
I really liked the opening. It opened to an almost Stepford-like world where everyone went around on bicycles and wore neat, uniformed clothing. I loved that the movie started in black and white. I think the set/costuming was amazingly well done and one of my favorite parts of the movie.
“Who are we?” “friends forever” is a very Hollywood line from #thegivermovie
I knew the movie was going to change some of the focus of the book, and this was my least favorite part about the movie. The young people had a stronger bond than they did in the book, and predictably, once the plot went this way, the friends helped each other out in the end.
I like the 1950s vibe. #thegivermovie
I didn’t think I would like 1950s dystopia, but it was well done.
The Giver looks like slobby Hemingway. #thegivermovie
What struck me the most about this movie was the subtle contrast between the different elements of the story. The Giver, who had the memories and wasn’t drugged, wore sloppy, rough-looking clothing. Everyone else wore neat, soft clothing like what you might find in a mental institution.
Build-a-tree seems a little over the top. #thegivermovie
Apparently, everyone in this universe is allergic to real trees. They had a scene where some workers were putting together a tree in a park like an artificial Christmas tree.
I wonder if Katie Holmes felt at home on the set. #thegivermovie
I was rather amused that she was in the movie. I wonder if she had Scientology flashbacks when filming.
The color effect is pretty awesome. #thegivermovie
The color gradually increased, and in some spots, it was difficult to tell if color was present in the scene. Gradually, the movie became brighter and brighter to show Jonas’ transformation.
This ride cannot end well. #thegivermovie
In this scene, Jonas wants to share his experiences with his friends, so he decides to go “sledding” with them. He takes a tray and slides down a stairway that is built like the McDonald’s golden arches. Somehow, even though they basically drop straight down for about one minute, they slow to a gentle stop at the end. No. You would be dead.
Showing afterbirth seems unnecessary. #thegivermovie
This came from one of Jonas’ memory scenes. He was learning about the joy and beauty in the world, and in one scene, a zebra gives birth. I still think the inclusion of after-birth was not necessary. It kind of spoiled the mood they were trying to capture.
So glad Jonas is older in the movie b/c 12-year-old romance is awkward. #thegivermovie
This movie played up the romance between Jonas and Fiona, which I expected. However, I was glad he was older, because I really don’t enjoy watching awkward 12-year-old kisses and lust.
Waterfalls are so dramatic. #thegivermovie
Jonas and co had a little triangular hiding spot behind a waterfall, and when Jonas decides to embrace the romance, Fiona walks through the waterfall to him and it is all dramatic and cheesy like a scene from The Notebook.
Not sure I like that the female characters are mostly evil. #thegivermovie
This bothered me. There were no male characters who had evil influences in the movie, and both the main elder and even Jonas’ mom were portrayed as evil. In the book, I never felt that anyone was trying to “keep the man down” so to speak, so I was a little disappointed that they took this angle.
For being language sticklers, they sure throw around the word “nice” a lot. #thegivermovie
Fiona kept saying that things felt, “nice.” I think she would have come up with a better word for it in precise language land.
Even with its issues, I felt The Giver Movie was really well done. The color transition was amazing, and for the most part, I think the movie showcased the best parts of the book. It even kept the original ending, which I was not sure how they were going to handle, since it can be interpreted as depressing.
And even though I hated it, the movie kept the scene with the newborn, which I never expected, but it is such a crucial part of the story.
The Worst Parts of The Giver Movie
My biggest issues were with the portrayal of Jonas’s mom and the elders as evil. For one thing, the chief elder sure did know a lot about the evil in the world for someone who had no memory of it. I did not like that any woman over the age of 16 was evil and wrong. I feel that promotes unhealthy thinking.
My second biggest issue was with the “best friends forever” angle. That is not what the original story was about, and I think it took away from the true focus and intent of the book.
The Best Parts of The Giver Movie
I loved the movie portrayal of both Jonas’ color transition and how they gave the society an innocent, Stepford-style feel. Jonas is an idiot in the beginning of the movie, but I imagine someone who lives in a world without pain of any kind would be like that.
His transformation from innocent to being fully aware of all potential problems, but still feeling that everyone should have the chance to make that choice for themselves was my favorite part of the movie.
I also thought the actor they picked to be The Giver was perfect.
Have you seen The Giver? What did you think? Did you like it, or did it crush all your hopes and dreams?
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