“The Giver” excels in visual transitions but has stagnant moments throughout the plot.
Cinematics(Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.)
“The Giver” is an adaptation of the Lois Lowry novel titled the same. It’s based around a seemingly perfect utopian society which is slowly revealed to be more of a dystopian society. As their utopia is deconstructed, “The Giver” seems to intersect with the theme of Ray Bradbury’s “Farenheit 451” which identifies sources of emotion being the cause for a society’s collapse. If you have not read the novel then you may be able to make another comparison in regards to film. If you’ve seen the film “Equilibrium” then “The Giver” could be best described as a tamer version of that film focusing less on action and more on dialogue.
As the characters develop a majority of the dialogue seems stale. This staleness is more of a result of the emotionless plot, which is understandable but still leaves behind a lackluster experience for many connections. The Giver (Jeff Bridges) and Jonas aka the receiver (Brenton Thwaites) carry the emotional weight of the film while everyone else seems like catatonic robots. Their interaction with the rest of these emotionless “robots” lacks the suspense and fear that we’d hope to receive from a film’s antagonists.
From a cinematography point of view, I found myself engaged from the fluid cohesiveness between the plot and the scene transitions. “The Giver” starts out in complete black and white then slowly transitions into color to convey emotional change. This approach felt very reminiscent of “Pleasantville” which followed the same style of transition. What I like about “The Giver” version of this method was it seemed to correlate more with how the human eye would interpret new colors. Instead of seeing the true colors of an object, we are presented with highlights of an object’s color slowly transitioning to the object’s defining visual aspects.
Outside of the visuals, the premise of the story was intriguing but had extended periods of repetition throughout that made “The Giver” seem longer than it should be at times. I would say that the story is engaging enough for most audiences but lacks that depth and explanation that we would desire from a sci-fi, futuristic film such as this.
Based on visuals and story I think that “The Giver” has an ample amount of entertainment value for most. Sure there are some lingering moments throughout the plot but there are many parts of the film that would be enjoyable. I would consider this more of a film to have on in the background while you’re doing some other task rather than hoping to be engaged for the entire 97 minutes of runtime. The underlying theme, visuals, and premise make “The Giver” a go to film for one of those many indecisive, collaborative movie nights.
Expanding upon the film’s entertainment value, I think there is reason to watch the film again. It’s simplistic in regards to the story, so you don’t need to re-watch to catch something you missed, but it may be a short yet fun ride for those just looking to unwind. Personally I would probably watch the film a second time but probably not a third. After that I think it’s served its purpose.
The extras on the disc are geared more towards fans of the novel. They are very interesting for those looking for a connection between the novel and the film with many featurettes showing the transition. There is one feature that goes through the process of transcribing the pages into an actual script while other features include commentary from the novel’s author Lois Lowry and Jeff Bridges’ perspective on the film being adapted from the novel. For those looking for deleted and extended scenes, those are scarce but even if you are a process oriented person, the process of adapting the novel to film is interesting enough…even if you didn’t read the source.
- Entertainment Value
Overall I thought the film satisfied on some levels but remained stale on others. I appreciated the visuals and underlying theme of the film but felt a bit cheated on the overall execution. The acting and character development was hindered by the nature of the emotionless plot but the concept and visuals made up for many parts where “The Giver” was lacking. From a non-analytical approach I enjoyed the film but from a cinematic stance I wasn’t that pleased.