Not another teen sci-fi, novel adaptation movie. Oh, this was based on book from 1993? Well I guess it's different then. Right?
In a world without war, pain and emotions, a perfect world full of sameness, young Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is chosen to take on the responsibility of the receiver of memories.
Although I enjoy book to movie adaptations from Perks of Being a Wallflower to Fight Club, when I saw that yet another teen sci-fi film was getting made I can't say I was overjoyed. Having not read the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry, I didn't have anything to go by apart from the trailer and the diverse set of actors. From legends like Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges to new comers Odeya Rush and Cameron Monaghan. This concept and these actors gave the film potential to be different from every other futuristic teen movie.
The story of The Giver is original and complex. This perfect world full of sameness was oblivious to war and pain due to their memories being wiped and having a daily injection to keep them from straying away. Their elders believed this world was more practical and of course their had to be the hero that disagreed. It's the typical 'teen wants to change their messed up world' plot, far too predictable. As much as the concept interested me, this world was boring and bland. Only towards the end did I start to get invested in these characters and this story. Barely exploring the outside world and our full history limited the opportunities for the actors to shine. They wanted to show people's pain but I never saw theirs.
Our main character Jonas is played by Brenton Thwaites whose performance was good but just wasn't satisfying. Defiantly a hero but not a hero that stood out. Learning all these new things and emotions should give you a chance to make this character likeable and different. I expect to be fully invested in a main character from start to finish and I wasn't. Jeff Bridges plays The Giver, a man responsible for keeping the memories of the past world. Bridges portrays this character with the weight of the world on his shoulders, ever laugh, cry and death was buried inside his mind. As always he delivers a good performance but not a great one. Scenes been the two were fascinating to watch as the world unraveled itself during their lessons together. Their chemistry was strong and I like how they played off of each other. Supporting actors did their jobs but in this world of black and white, it's hard to stand out.
Due to the slow pace I wasn't invested for the first half of this film. We spent too little time with the giver, exploring all of the wonders of history and too much time with the characters that were boring and oblivious. A bit of action and excitement would have done wonders for this film, engaging the audience and keeping them on the edge of their seats, eager to see what happens next not fall asleep in their cinema chairs.
A concept that could have been a game changer in the young adult fiction genre turned out to be similar to the likes of The Host and Divergent. The Giver just didn't give enough.