When I found out that The Giver was going to be a movie I was excited. When I found out the trailer for the film was released today I was really excited. One minute and 27 seconds later, I was mad. (If you haven’t seen the trailer you can watch it here.)
My immediate reaction: “What is this crap? Why is there color? Why is he so old? I know they did not have spaceships. No.”
Black and White is Better
My biggest beef with this film is the fact that it’s in color. The lack of color is a vital part of the story. Jonas’ discovery of color, memories, and ultimately all the good things in life bring beauty to the story. I’m assuming that Hollywood thought the targeted teen audience wouldn’t respond well to a partially black and white film. If it’s not romantically creepy, like Twilight, or packed full of gore and action, like The Hunger Games or Divergent, teens these days won’t like it, right? My answer: Why does it even have to be targeted towards teens?!
First, to think that the audience doesn’t have the mental capacity to comprehend the metaphor of the colorless world is just condescending. If anything having a black and white film of this genre sets it apart from all of the other dystopian society type films. It emphasizes the cultural message rather than just the action and thrills.
Second, changing such a major part of the story cheapens the whole thing. I understand that they have to make money, but from the look of the trailer they sacrificed the essence of the story just to jump on the “futuristic and screwed up society” trend. The Giver was written before any of these so-called trendy trilogy novels. It won the 1994 Newbery Medal. For me, it was actually required school reading in the eighth grade, it wasn’t some book bandwagon I hopped on.
Age Does Matter
Speaking of eighth grade, Jonas should be 12, not 17. The fact that they made him older only adds to the idea that they’re just jumping on this trend. When Jonas is 12, it’s a story of a boy growing and finding out the truth about the world. He’s not some teenage badass, he’s a growing kid. Again, this change changes the heart of the story.
Teens want to watch teen badasses in movies, we know this, but I’ll say again, why is The Giver automatically targeted to teens? I’ve talked to at least 10 twenty and thirty-somethings today who are as livid as I am. For many of us this book is the first book we actually loved. I concede that movies cannot be a direct translation of books because they must appeal to the masses, but this is just ridiculous.
The Giver Doesn’t Deserve This
I really think this book deserves more justice than this. It’s a fantastic and truly great story. They could have marketed it to adults. They could have used black and white and transitioned to color, like in the book. They could have not have given it such a sci-fi vibe. They could have not completely exploited this book to fit the mold of the teenage dystopian society trend. But that’s just my opinion.