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MOVIE REVIEW - The Giver

on 19 August 2014.

Here comes a great example of a really good and successful book that school kids love becoming a movie. And shouldn't have.

This 1993 book has been, and is a favorite of many. But this is a great example of a movie that gets lost in translation  - big time.   Sometimes the mind can simply paint a better picture than Hollywood, and that's certainly the case here.  Although this really didn't, and won't fine a gigantic audience, it will find a dedicated one as loyalties can run deep when remembering a favorite book.



This is in the future. After "The Ruin."   Society has been reborn by the Elders, and now "sameness" is the way of life.  Everyone is exactly equal and live the exact same life, in the exact same house, and clothes.  And all memories of the past are erased from society. Daily injections are given to make everyone numb, and without emotion.  There is no disagreement, no conflict, or drama, music or anything really great.  Everyone dresses the same.  No feelings, no sex, no love.  Families are arranged, including raising children not born by the raising parents.  In short, life really stinks.

The only wrinkle is, that one person is chosen to store all of the memories of the past in their mind, and he must keep to himself.  Why? I'm not really sure why, since the Elders are so bent on making sure that no one ever knows about it.  But  The Giver (Jeff Bridges) is that man. And his job is to transfer and share all of the memories of the worlds past to his new and younger protege' Jonus (Brenton Thwaites).   But can someone who knows nothing except "sameness" and literal total equality handle the fact the world was once a far more conflicted and complicated place?  And what will he do with all that secret info?  Will he attempt to share it with the world and restore the beauty once known?



First off, this is boring for the most part. And it is a bit disturbing to see in front of you what actual and literal total equality would look like.  This is filmed in a black and white, and gray settings, with large CG sets and backdrops. This is yet another look at a horrible and gloomy future, that will make anyone want to not have children  - starting today.

But in its defense, this may actually be far more relevant today than when it was written 20 years ago. With the NSA scandal, and all of our privacy seemingly under siege by various government agencies and foreign governments, it does strike a uncomfortable chord within.  This shows what happens when all privacy is lost, and and or surrendered to the government, and what they then choose to do with it. And that's an eye opener for sure.

But in the end, it still may be better to view this in your minds eye while reading the book, as opposed to watching it play out on the big screen.   In addition to Bridges, Katie Holmes stars, Taylor Swift with a small part, and somehow they managed convince Meryl Streep to do this as the Head Elder.  But even if you put makeup on a frog, it's still a frog. And big stars can not save this.   

The Giver.  Some things should just be left alone, like this book.

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