Reaction to The Giver Trailer

So I have watched the trailer for The Giver at least three times now. Every time I watch it, I tell myself that it can’t be as bad as I think and every time I am proven wrong. I just get angrier and angrier with each rewatch. I so badly want to be excited for this movie.

I completely understand that when adapting a book to movie, things need to be changed but the changes have to make sense and they have to stay within the integrity of both the characters and the plot. This does not seem to be doing that.

Like everyone else, I am, of course, upset about the up in ages, the level of technology, the stupid romance, and the lack of black and white. But there are some other things that are bothering me too that people either aren’t seeing or aren’t focusing on. 

Meryl Streep’s character and the council as a whole almost seems to be evil. It seems like they are purposely suppressing people and their feelings as part of some grander plan. This did not seem to be the way in the books. They were all generally ignorant of what else there was and were happy in the way things were.

Along with the above point, the trailer makes it seem like there is going to be some kind of big rebellion against the council with Fiona being somewhere near the head of it. In feel like this completely compromises the book as a main theme was Jonas’ loneliness. No one else could feel what he felt because, again, they were just plain ignorant of what else could be. This was one of the big pushes for Jonas to leave and really showed how alone he was.

Jonas’ age. Yes, I have seen that people are upset about this but no one ever seems to say why. I can understand some movies’ desire and need to change a character’s age and there are times when it is completely justified. This, however, is not one of those cases. One of the reasons this story hits so hard is because it IS through the eyes of a child. A child has to see and bear war, death, famine, horrible pain, a different style of living, learning what love and fun are, and so much more. A child is learning that there is so much more to the world than he realizes when he is only at the stage where the world is starting to make sense. Where a teen or an adult would likely try and be able to justify why the world is the way it is now, a child simply sees injustice through their innocence and it will fuel a desire to change things and the way of the world.

The giver himself. While we only see a few snippets of him, he seems a bit too worldly. Yes, he does have all these memories and that makes him wise but I always saw him in that he is still held back by the limitations of his world and what he has been raised with. The trailer scene where he and Jonas are over looking the view and the giver says “the way things look and the way things are, are very different” just seems to confuse the integrity of the character. He wasn’t necessarily extremely wise because of these memories. He just had all the pain, joy, and weight of all these memories. But that could just be my interpretation of the character. I never saw him as overly wise. I simply saw him as a very tired, old man and yes, while he did have knowledge of the outside world, that was of the past. They made it seem like he knew so much of what the world is like, even now. Admittedly, I am probably reading a bit too much into that one line but it just really struck me the wrong way.

The rules of the world just don’t seem to be there. Judging by what we’ve seen in the trailer, i feel that things like precise language, the big secret behind release, the speaker system, the public yet not direct public shaming, and things like that will be left by the wayside in favour of glomming onto the recent dystopian genre cliches. These things really made this story special and made the world so distinct, well built, and real and I am very sad that they will probably be left out.

There are several scenes in particular in this book that I hold very dear to my heart and I am very scared to see how they are handled. These include the elephant scene, the kids playing the war game, the release of the twin, the Christmas memory, and the “do you love me?” scene. It’s very rare for me to have a scene in a book overwhelm me but this was the only book that has ever really done that for me.

Admittedly, this is only the first trailer and maybe it’s just a poor representation of the movie (I sincerely hope) and it will actually be much better than I expect but I am not holding out too much hope.