Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Undefined Gamer: "The Giver (2014)" Review

Ok, time for a break in our normally scheduled programming.

      The Giver is a 2014 science fiction film directed by Phillip Noyce based on the best selling book by Lois Lowry. Starring Jeff Bridges (The Giver) and Brenton Thwaites (Jonas, the Receiver), The Giver takes place in a post-dystopian community in which emotion and color have been eradicated in human society.
      So, too, was the history of all these emotions. Well, not entirely. One person in the community stores these memories (because you can't just leave it on a flash drive), so they can provide wisdom to the elders, who control the place. 
      Because in The Giver's society, age=ability to lead. By no surprise, all the elders are terrible at leading. Funnily enough, the Receiver, whose sole duty is to advise the elders with their knowledge of the past, are completely disregarded throughout the film. 
      Young Jonas (Thwaites) is chosen to be the next Receiver. As the beauty of the past engulfs him, the lies of the present begin to crumble. 
      Visually, the movie is almost a masterpiece. Its use of color(or lack thereof) is more effective than in even The Wizard of Oz.We are plunged into a world without color, but as Jonas slowly gains memories of the world's beauty, color slowly returns. Not only is this clever, but when paired with 1080p HD and the best CG money can buy, the effects are stunning. 
      One criticism moviegoers might have is the awkward dialogue. Yes, I understand that it's supposed to be awkward due to the communities use of "precision of language," a practice to eliminate rudeness, but just because something is explained does not make it work. To be honest, I feel that this really held the movie back, as it only served to take me out of this world rather than engulf me in it. 
      As far as acting goes, everyone does an extraordinary job. Dealt with lines worse than those of the Star Wars prequels, everyone manages to convey some degree of emotion and characterization. Well, except for Cameron Monaghan (Asher), but we don't like to talk about him. Of all the performances, his was easily the weakest. 
      Overall, I recommend seeing this. Though no masterpiece, this film is still extremely clever and beautiful. Many moments are shot so wonderfully that you can't help but shed a tear. The problems with this lie within the book itself; some things just don't transfer well from novella to film. 

The Giver gets 4 stars out of 6.

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