REVIEW — “The Giver”
The only real problem with “The Giver” is that it is too mediocre. Based on the 1993 Newbery Medal winning novel, it tells a story that most in the audience have heard many times over, and does nothing to set itself apart from all the other Young Adult films currently being produced.
As the movie opens we are informed that “from the ashes of ruin” communities have been built up that are protected by boundaries and that all memories of the past have been erased. In addition, all emotions are removed from the citizens via daily injections. This sterilized world is presented, quite effectively, by showing everything in shades of gray. The extreme politeness and general naivety of the citizens makes the first quarter of the movie play like a classic “Leave it to Beaver” episode. But, as these things go, there is a current of darkness running beneath the still waters. This is no EPCOT-esque utopia! It’s a murderous dystopia run by victims of self inflicted ignorance!
During a ceremony in which 12 year olds are assigned their future career, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is singled out to become the next “Receiver of Memories.” He’s instructed to report to “The Giver” (Jeff Bridges) who is the sole repository of all past memories. These Memory Men exist to advise the counsel who don’t have the experience necessary to make all decisions. The odd thing is, given the current state of things, no one has apparently EVER listened to The Giver’s advice. Bad things happen, expositions are made, escapes are attempted, and a completely nonsensical Deus ex machina saves the day.
Besides Jeff Bridges, who is enjoyable in literally everything he does, the acting is quite flat, but it matches the monochromatic palette nicely. The special effects employed are an uneven bag. Some look very good, and the slow appearance of color is well done, but others are extremely cartoonish. Further hurting the movie is the snore-inducing pace.
Most adults will want to pass on this one. However, I believe that young adolescents who are not familiar with the story may be the perfect audience for the themes introduced in this movie.
2.5 out of 5 Stars