Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found them to be fascinating.
The Giver, by Lois Lowry, came out when I was 9 years old, and I think may be the only person my age who didn’t read it. I’m not sure how I missed it, as I read a lot and even had a copy of it, but somehow I never got around to it. So I was more than a little intrigued by the trailer for long-awaited film adaptation and by the reaction of fans of the book. Based on what I’ve read, I think it’s safe to say that this may not be the most faithful film adaptation in recent years. Take a look at the trailer below, and read on for my thoughts:
Considering I know very little about The Giver, this trailer is interesting, with some echoes of other post-apocalyptic stories we’ve seen in recent years. If I didn’t know this was based on a 20 year old book, I’d think it was an attempt to cash in on movies like The Hunger Games and Divergent. You’ve got a story about a boy living in a functional society after some sort of war/manmade catastrophe, who learns the truth of what’s out there and fights back against the system. Add in some interesting production design and you’ve got just the latest in a series of attempts to capitalize on this trend. Of course, when you realize that Jeff Bridges has been trying to get this movie made for ages it becomes clear that at least as far as the film adaptation goes, The Giver might end up being the victim of unfortunate timing.
The movie does have some things going for it in addition to the book’s solid reputation. Jeff Bridges has always been one of my favorite actors, so I’m glad he finally got his wish to be in the film. There’s also Meryl “Don’t mess with me or I’ll trash talk your film in order to get an Oscar nomination” Streep, who is still a spectacular actress despite what may have happened in the last six month to make me sour on her. I don’t know much about the film’s star, Brenton Thwaites as Jonas, but the trailer doesn’t give us much of an opportunity to judge his acting skills. There’s also Katie Holmes and Alexander Skarsgard as his parents, and even a brief glimpse of Taylor Swift in a supporting role.
What really worries me, however, is the response from fans of the book. From what I understand, Jonas and everyone else in the story sees the world in black and white, with him only gaining the ability to see color as time goes on. Of course, it could be that the trailer is simply in color so as not to alienate people who have a problem with black and white, but if I were a fan I’d be worried. There also seem to have been a large number of other changes to the story, which are obviously to be expected in any adaptation but seem particularly concerning here.
Full confession: I’ve been trying to do a Trailer Tuesday on The Giver for a couple of weeks now. Each time I start writing it I realize that I just don’t have that much to say about it, which perhaps is part of my problem with the trailer. For people like me who somehow missed the book, the trailer just doesn’t make much of an impression. Compare that to the trailer for The Maze Runner, which was more dramatic even if I wasn’t thrilled with the book. Considering the number of similarly themed movies coming out in the next couple of years, the marketing people are going to have to do a really stellar job making their film stand out, and I just don’t feel like they succeeded with The Giver.
What do you think? Have you read The Giver? If so, what did you think of the trailer? How does it compare to what you imagined for the film? If you haven’t read the book, what did you think? Did the trailer do enough to make it stand out from other similar films? Does the knowledge that it came from such a famous book make any difference to you? Let me know in the comments!