Film review: The Giver (dir. Phillip Noyce)

I’ve only read The Giver twice in my life, in the fifth and sixth grades, but it left an impression that I haven’t shaken off since.  So when negative reviews for the film adaptation poured in, I went to see it anyway—but after doing so, I have to agree with the criticisms.  While The Giver has its moments of real resonance and emotion, they’re dragged down by a lifeless script and a depressing descent into the very Sameness it condemns.

First, I’d like to clarify that I’m not against adaptational changes.  Books and film are two very different mediums, and smart changes do wonders to smooth the transition.  But The Giver doesn’t make changes for the sake of translation: it makes them for the sake of pandering, of fitting squarely into the box of the young adult sci-fi adaptation-slash-cashgrab.  (Unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on how you see it—The Giver's underwhelming marketing campaign almost certainly suggests that The Weinstein Company gave up on its moneymaking potential months before release.)  By aging up the characters, it loses the innocence and wonder of the source material, and since loss of innocence is basically the emotional cornerstone of the book, the film is left feeling bland and thematically clumsy.

Not every change is for the worse: The Giver adds coherence to the worldbuilding, and the romance between Jonas and Fiona is surprisingly sweet and well-done.  It fits with his discovery of love in its many forms.  But there’s a difference between seeing an almost-adult discover love and seeing a child feel it for the first time.  The resonance of the book hinges on its simplicity, on the poignancy of children losing all the world has to offer; it works doubly as a metaphor for growing up and discovering truths both bright and terrible.  With twenty-four-year-old Brenton Thwaites playing Jonas, the film loses all of the metaphor and much of the resonance.  Thwaites attempts to recapture it by playing Jonas with wide-eyed wonder, but he simply doesn’t have the charisma to pull it off.  Jeff Bridges is the real star, giving the titular Giver all the presence and wisdom such a character demands. The rest of the performances range from surprisingly subtle (Alexander Skarsgard as Jonas’s gentle, child-murdering father) to unintentionally flat (all of the teenagers) to absolutely ruined by the terrible script (Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder).

Oh, the terrible script.  It tries to make up for the loss of the book’s emotional grounding, but it ends up trite and overdone.  In the vein of recent YA dystopians, the Community is made out to be menacing before it has the chance to seem safe and good, and its leaders are so blatantly oppressive they barely feel real.  The cold, futuristic set design only adds to the general sense of dystopia, completely ridding the Community of any moral nuance it could have possessed.

The end product is derivative and emotionally manipulative, with little weight, passion, or subtlety.  It has a few bright spots, mostly in performances that bring life to nearly unworkable material, but the rest is lost potential and not much more.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Watch on mariellesasaki.tumblr.com

Do you have a lust for life?! #cashgrab #epicawine #parktheater

Watch on this-is-gonna-shock-them.tumblr.com

You can’t stick it in your top! #manlyleagues #manly #fastbuck #cashgrab @benjaminkiehne

Watch on diabloshift.tumblr.com

I completely agree to this. Blizzard should end.

Intents and Purposes
  • Intents and Purposes
  • Bedhead
  • Singles / EPs / B-Sides

Bedhead - Intents and Purposes 
(Bedhead 1992-1998)

Yup, I guess that’s what it takes to pull me back into tumblr.  My beloved Bedhead is getting the deluxe reissue treatment.  God I hope this is a precursor to a shameless cashgrab reunion tour.  If not, at least there’s 2 whole songs in it that I’d never heard before.  Horray!  


flamma-man replied to your post: “flamma-man answered your post: You know, JUST IN CASE YOU WERE NOT…”:

Oh, shit, didn’t notice it was an RE-release WITH subtitles. Don’t know how I missed that. Sorry, totally in the wrong there. That’s Star Wars re-release levels of money grabbing. Apologizes.

Yeah, at least in cinemas it was kinda justified.
Why sell a new DVD just for the bouncy snowflake karaoke cue when regular copy has normal subtitles anyway? Cashgrab. There’s literally no other answer than shameless cashgrab.

Apology accepted

Skyforge Has its Sights on the Stars, its Feet on the Ground

One of the biggest challenges facing modern MMOs is the paradoxical nature of the subscription-centric business model: if a game should require monthly fees, then it’s too expensive for fans when there are better alternatives out there; if it’s free-to-play, however, then it clearly must be a cashgrab completely littered with exploitative microtransactions and pay-to-win elements. It’s hard to see how the developers can possibly win. But if you compare a title designed to be played without sub fees like Guild Wars 2 with one in which they were initially present before transitioning (admittedly poorly, at first) to a free-to-play model, it should be easy to see which is preferable.

Continue reading…

via IGN All http://ift.tt/1mLYrPm