Friday, August 15, 2014

The Giver (Film)

I recently posted my thoughts on the upcoming theatrical release of The Giver.  In short, I thought the trailer looked terrible - and I still think so.  At least, the trailer I was referring to was terrible.  Since coming up with the idea for this post, I've come around a little bit on some recent trailers and have upgraded the movie to just above terrible.

I think when I last gave my little review of the trailer, I was judging the film as an adaptation of the book.  However, the problem with this is that in the past I've always tried to treat the film and book versions of a story as separate; this is completely necessary, because the two mediums provide different ways to tell the same story.  I think it's reasonable for a director/writer to take some liberty with the subject matter rather than just do a scene-for-scene adaptation of a book.

The Giver (film) looks at least like a lot of focus was put on cinematography and visual effects.  It also looks like the action has been ramped up quite a few notches from that seen in the books.  I think I can understand why; the book is not exactly the fastest in terms of what's actually happening between the pages.  If you were to just adapt the book as written, it would be a pretty short film.

Still, I have some nagging feelings about this movie.  I think it's definitely unfair to judge it based on how I think it's adapted the book (and my initial reactions were that I thought it looks more like a "loosely based on" type of movie).  However, from what I've seen in the trailer, I don't really like the direction they've taken - and some of the acting looks rather poor.  It's unfortunate that they seem to have used the poorer takes of some scenes in the trailer.

Lastly though I was just reading an interview given by Jeff Bridges, who acts as a producer for the movie.  Apparently he is a huge fan of the book, and even made his own 'fan film' years ago.  It's been my experience that when an actor really loves a book, the film they push to produce tends not to be the best quality.  That's not always the case (see Moneyball), but it happens often enough.

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