Recently released on DVD, Da'Mon Guy checks out The Giver.
There is a focus now more than ever in modern movie making to cultivate the young adult target audience and bring stories to the screen to cater to that dynamic. The success of films like Twilight and The Hunger Games have given rise to a multitude of films attempting to establish franchises in order to sponge off some of the success that those movies have had. However, for every movie as successful as The Hunger Games there are countless misfires. Films like Divergent, Warm Bodies, I am Number Four, Beautiful Creatures and Mortal Instruments: City of Bones have all underperformed to the studios hopes and expectations.
The Giver is a mundane, sparsely enjoyable oddity that creatively commingles a number of elements to breathe life into a young adult themed story. It’s a creative outlook on life, choice, and consequence that really offers an interesting perspective on the nature of mankind. The movie is based on the book by Lois Lowry that was originally released in 1993. It hit the theaters near the end of the 2014 summer movie season and recently debuted on video. The movie star Brenton Thwaits (The Signal), Taylor Swift (Valentine's Day), Jeff Bridges (R.I.P.D.), Meryl Streep (Into The Woods), Katie Holmes (Batman Begins), and Alexander Skarsgard (Straw Dogs)
The biggest issue with The Giver is that it really isn’t that entertaining. There is no phase of the film that really grabs a hold of you and forces you to take notice of it. While I have never read the book at the time of this review, I can most assuredly assume that this was a better book than film! No aspect of The Giver is especially outstanding or worth becoming memorable. The concept and the cinematography is very good, unfortunately the story and the acting doesn’t match it. A very creative touch was the use of black & white to color cinematography. As the film begins it is presented in the old monochrome filming style to demonstrate to what degree the utopian society has made everything so bland and indifferent. This was a great way to establish a mood for viewers.
Despite being mired in mediocrity, The Giver does have a number of positive themes that surround the film. It attempts to grant a fresh perspective on the often told post-apocalyptic/utopian society that has been the focus of countless science fiction stories. The theme of The Giver is also one of its best aspects, it focuses on choice, consequence, and free will. The movie shows what it would take to rid mankind of its wars and suffering, and that is the elimination of free will. The film does a great job at illustrating how the only way to eliminate the bad aspects that come as a result of free will is to eliminate it all, which includes the good aspects as well.
In spite of being loaded with a good balance of youthful and established acting talent, The Giver truly underused it. The acting isn’t anything special. Young Brenton Thawits does as much as he can to portray the gambit of emotions that his character must undertake as part of his training, but the boorish nature of the movie never really allows the audience to truly attach to him or feel for this film. The lack of being able to connect and become sympathetic for the false sense of utopia that is illustrated in The Giver is where the film truly fails.
The Giver is yet another painfully mediocre attempt to capitalize on the current infatuation that Hollywood has with attempting to appeal to that young adult target audience. It’s a product of the craze that is occurring currently in modern film making. Whereas The Hunger Games succeeded, The Giver does very little to distinguish itself and has nearly none of the appeal that The Hunger Games has. It’s not a bad watch, but it’s also something that if you never see it, you’re not missing anything.
Da’Mon is a
writer and artist, a graduate of Coppin State
University and an avid, life-long lover of film. Da'Mon has been actively
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