Upon seeing a trailer for The Giver released, I had to give it a view. I’d been excited for the film since my undergrad years when Gary Oldman was rumored to be assigned the titular role. That being said, the movie rights have been in the air for 15 years, so it’s about time. While the trailer got several aspects right, it seems almost too futuristic for what the book had in mind, especially with planes capable of lifting people into the sky with a beam of light. That, of course, can be a stylistic choice, but it seems problematic when the way they introduce the jets is…one lifting Jonas into the sky with a baby? For those of us who’ve read the book, we know the final scene involves Jonas running through the snow with the baby, escaping Community to reach Elsewhere. He goes on a sled toward the lights of a house below, Christmas tree in sight and music playing…though with questionable perspective.
My issue is none of these elements line up with the book except the baby. It’s not winter, the plane has a “suction beam,” and Jonas looks well beyond his age in the book. He went from 12 to in his twenties! The whole puberty and coming-of-age metaphor has been replaced with hunky Twilight and Hunger Games imagery – their goal is to give the world another heartthrob actor, not tell the tale Lowry created. Yes, changes are bound to happen and I hate to call myself a purist, but it looks like they’ve likely gone too far.
Matthew Scott Surprenant’s personal blog and bookstore can be found at www.matthewscottauthor.wordpress.com