Finally! After what felt like a decade of stops and starts and production delays, we finally have a trailer for The Giver. Clocking in at under a minute and a half, it’s not a huge taste of what we’ll see in theaters, but it’s enough to give those who haven’t read the book a brief background of what to expect and those who have read the book a few hot glimpses at some of the novel’s bigger plot developments.
Based on a beloved 1993 children’s novel written by Lois Lowry, this version of The Giver has been altered and updated a bit. Rather than 12-years-old, lead character Jonas has been bumped up to 16. That will assumedly allow the undercurrent of sexual tension that boils throughout the novel to develop into something more tangible (as seen in a brief kiss shot), but judging by the trailer, it doesn’t seem to have changed the basic story arc. In short, Jonas and company live in a futuristic society devoted to sameness. Everyone has a role and everyone lives a very regimented existence. Jonas is eventually chosen as the Receiver of Memories, a coveted position that gives him access to knowledge withheld from others and leads him to question the system he’s living under.
I haven’t the slightest idea why this trailer would show footage from as far into the movie as it does, nor do I have any idea why Jeff Bridges’ beard is not of the crazy ZZ Top/ homeless variety, but all in all, the film still looks like it could be riveting. And it should be. The Giver is one of the most fascinating works for children released in the last few decades. It’s a perfect balance of character development and bigger, controversial ideas, and unlike so many novels, it seems like it should be able to translate to the big screen, with apparently one major exception.
SPOILER WARNING FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK...
I have no idea why this trailer isn't in black and white, or at least not partially in black and white. The footage we're given would seem to imply that everyone sees colors. Or it would seem to imply we're only getting Jonas or The Giver's perspective, I guess. If so, that seems like a big miss. Setting the world partially in black and white, Pleasantville style could have been really stunning visually, but maybe that was too expensive or ultimately, the director decided it didn't translate well enough.
SPOILERS FROM THE BOOK ARE NOW OVER.
The film stars Bridges, Meryl Streep (with bangs!?!), newcomer Brenton Thwaites, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, Cameron Monaghan and Taylor Swift. It’s scheduled to hit theaters on August 15, and given its built in audience (more than five million books sold), there’s a distinct possibility it could turn into one of the biggest live action films for kids and teenagers of the year.
We’ll keep you updated as the film starts releasing more footage. At some point, we should get an extended trailer (that hopefully doesn’t show too much) and more than likely, a full media blitz from the Weinstein Company.
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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