Wednesday, August 13, 2014

6 Reasons Why I'm Terrified to See The Giver Movie

It feels like I've been waiting centuries for this movie to come out. I remember being a teenager and hearing rumors (over 10 years ago) about a possible adaptation "coming soon" and I remember freaking out and fan girling (though I don't think fan girling was a term) like crazy. I also remember being severely disappointed when year after year passed and nothing came of it. I held out hope though. I had faith.

Then BAM. Last year I found out that The Giver really was becoming a movie and I just about pooped my pants. I'm trying to remember when I saw the first Giver trailer. I was definitely at the premier for another movie - possibly Hunger Games? Or maybe it wasn't until TFIOS, I don't remember, but anyway - I was so excited because it was the freaking Giver.... yet I felt a twinge of wariness in the pit of my stomach. It annoyed me a bit, too, because I was busy trying to love the shit out of that trailer but I could tell that something was off - it was too different from what I'd pictured.

Let me clear the air first - I am incredibly generous when it comes to reviewing book-to-movie adaptations. I am used to changes, I am fine with cutting out unimportant things or things having to be moved around for the transition to the big screen. I take every adaptation with a grain of salt and with the understanding that things aren't going to look and play out the exact way they did in my head. Need proof? Dude, I liked Vampire Academy. Enough said.

Maybe I'm being irrational and holding on to my childhood/teenage ideals as far as what The Giver movie should undoubtedly be rather than accepting what it is, and maybe I am this close to throwing a massive book-related tantrum, but it's The Giver. THE GIVER!! You know as well as I do that this movie is going to blow and HARD. Here's why:

1.    Too modern: I understand and appreciate that the adaptation needs to speak  to the now and speak to its target audience, rather than to the young adults (by that I mean actual young adults such as my self, in their 20s) and middle aged readers who read this back when the book was written, but it's not even staying remotely true to the book! With hovercrafts and sleek buildings, unnecessary techologies, injections (rather than pills) - it's all just too modern. Have we forsaken the simplicity and bleakness and "innocence" that is The Giver? I guess the writers/directors figured that since they made part of the movie in black and white, that was all they needed to capture the concept of Sameness but no. It's just all wrong.

Why are they on a poster together?! Fiona doesn't
even frickin' matter!!!!!!!!
2.     A Romance!?: Am I suffering delusions right now or are there scenes with Jonas and Fiona frickin' kissing?!?! Just For the love of all that is holy - whyyy!? I get that Jonas is older in the movie because no one is interested in a twelve year old playing this role and I've accepted that but adding in the element of romance and a connection that is barely even thought of in the book does it a huge injustice. Even if book-Jonas had more than just some fleeting thoughts about Fiona, he wouldn't have even begun to know how to have any kind of romance or probably even want one. Because no one had those feelings or types of relationships in their community! It would've been all new to him except through memories given to him from the Giver! Not to mention that there are so many more important things going on in this book that, other than the fact that love and other feelings are suppressed by the society (which, yes, is a pretty important aspect), romance just cannot be. It can't exist in the context of what is important in the story.

3.    A Rebellion!?: The few scenes I've had the opportunity to watch make Jonas seem... rebellious. There's Jonas telling Fiona to skip her morning injections (because he's secretly been doing the same, but WTF because in the book Jonas is told to skip his pills), and Streep declares that Jonas is dangerous, when again WTF because no. He isn't looking to incite rebellion! He just wants to make things right, and he doesn't even come to that conclusion until right before the end!

4.     Seems like a sequel to Divergent: It seems as if every YA dystopian adaptation starts with a reference to "Before" but Jonas doesn't even learn about Before until mid-book and no one, I repeat, no one understands the concept of Before or even cares. It's not part of the book until Jonas learns about it from the Giver which he then passes on to no one but an infant, and to add it into the movie as though it is the motto of the community, blah blah blah a Time of Great Suffering and there was a Solution, communities and no choices, blah-blah-blahdy-blah, is not only blasphemous, but sounds exactly like the opening lines to Divergent and that little video they play at the reaping in Hunger Games. Not to mention when Meryl Streep says something like "When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong." Much like the concept of the test in Divergent that divides people into their factions. Add in all the rebellion and the romance and it just seems like The Giver is trying to cash in on the success of Divergent and other YA dystopians that are so popular right now. That'd be wonderful except for the fact that they are cashing in on something that doesnt exist in the book! At least Divergent and The Hunger Games stayed true to their cores and what the books are actually about.

Let me say again before I continue, in case you think I'm being nitpicky and irrational and freaking out because "movies are not like books" - I am okay with changes in book-to-movie adaptations that make it easier for books to be transitioned to the big screen. I am not okay with movies that change the fundamental ideas of a book to make more money off of it.

5.     It's (practically) all made up: I was watching PLL last night and there was a "special sneak peek" or whatever it's called of The Giver movie showing the scene where Jonas tries to convince Fiona not to take her injections. I mentioned this above but my outrage now is over the fact that the scene they showed, along with some of the things Jonas mentions (like sneakily skipping his injections) don't happen in the book at all. Actually, that conversation never even remotely happens! How about Jonas and Fiona kissing? I mentioned that before too and it's not even a little true. It's made up. Oh, how about when they show Jonas being captured - scooped up by a hovercraft/plane thingy (just like in Catching Fire!), because um WHAT? Ohhh and how about when the elders (Meryl Streep, etc.) freaking have the nerve to question the Giver himself and tell him he "should have known better"? Once again, we're losing the entire point of the book, we're losing the concept of Sameness and how clueless the community, including its Elders, really are. No one is looking to start a revolution here! NONE OF THIS HAPPENS! IT'S ALL MADE UP!!

6.     My Childhood will be Ruined: Not only do I hate a bad adaptation (ahem Beautiful Creatures, I'm lookin' at you) which is bad enough all on its own, but I grew up on this book. 7th grade English class was never the same after I read this book. This was the one and only book I was ever assigned in middle and high school that I went out and bought myself (I liked my elementary school reads), went back and re-read on my own. This was the first book I ever really loved, and now it's being butchered in the public eye and made out to be just like everything else when it is not. What upsets me more is that the people who tend to get into certain books or become part of fandoms because of the movie releases (bandwagoners, yes, but I can't be mad due to the fact that they are actually reading or enjoying the stories I've loved for so long) will see this movie, will think "oh no, not another Divergent/Hunger Games/YA dystopian book-to-movie" and will be missing out on one of the best books I've ever been blessed enough to read. DAMN YOU HOLLYWOOD!

Why don't you see for yourselves:

I think my tantrum and the trailer were enough to show you what I mean, yes? Basically, if you want to like this movie, don't read the book. But if you want something better than what's already out there, better than just another money-making copy of all the popular YA books/movies, read The Giver. If you don't, you'll be missing out, I can promise you that. And, no, I'm not going to say "then don't see the movie". Obviously I can't tell the future. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this will be the biggest, baddest adaptation to ever grace the screen. Unfortunately, evidence points to the opposite, but in either event, I am going to see The Giver this Friday when it comes out, (1) because I am a HUGE fan of the book/series and Lois Lowry and loyalty dictates that I see this movie no matter what, (2) my job as a blogger means I must enjoy the good, suffer the bad and grit my teeth and bear it through the ugly for you, my loyal readers, who obviously depend on me to inform you about this adaptation and whether this movie is worth $10+ bucks and almost 2 hours of your time.

Well what do you think about the trailers? Please don't tell me you think it's going to be awesome? Kidding. Actually, if you think that, I'd love to hear why. I want to like the movie, so maybe there's something you can say to change my perspective a little? Or you can just rant with me about this nonsense and we can cry together when our favorite childhood book is ripped to pieces.

Let's talk!




    I'm not quite as generous when it comes to book to movie adaptations, I understand change is necessary but I'm a small bit of a purist when it comes to them. Watching this movie develop from the moment the trailer hit online and the theaters, I have cringed, raged so much that coworkers actively told me not to look up anymore information on the movie, and even cried over the fact that they've completely ruined everything that was a major /factor/ in this movie.

    It bothers me that it's so much like Divergent, which is a wonderful series though I haven't had time to read books two and three yet. Just far, far too modern. When it was originally announced, I cringed in disgust because they hadn't mentioned that parts of it would be shot in black and white. I understand that people don't really want to watch movies in black and white (I'll admit to being one of them depending on the movie), it's written in the first few lines of the book that the sameness includes the removing all colours, emotions, weather patterns, etc. A romance is a horrible thing to add into it, even if the characters are aged up for the big screen.

    I think this movie will probably end up in the category that I've classified the movie adaptation of Inkheart (another fantastic series that wasn't given justice), Avatar the Last Airbender (based off a cartoon but so ridiculously far off from the cartoon), and countless others that are escaping me right now. I don't even know that I can muster up the desire to go see this in theaters, I might wait until it eventually trickles down to Netflix or Redbox.

  2. I think the movie will be interesting...BUT, only if you go into the theater not even thinking of the book..just thinking it's its own little invention. Because I'm not sure anyone involved in this project ever even cracked the cover of the book. It's despicable.

  3. I totally agree with you on ALL these points. This is so freaking spot on. I mean sure I'm excited for the movie but it looks exactly like it could be a sequel to Divergent and I still don't get the whole romance while everyone loves romance, it's like what happened in the Narnia movies. I don't remember there ever being a romance between Prince Caspian and Susan. No just no.

  4. My sister is probably getting sick of all of my Giver complaints since the trailer released because ever since I got the news about a movie, I've been telling her she is coming with me to see it - only now I'm demanding she attend this monstrosity with me.

    I loved Divergent. I love the book series, I thought the movie was well done (all things considered, but still, I'm pretty generous), but I there are already three more movies coming out in that series, I don't need one more! I havent seen Inkheart or Avatar the Last Airbender but I've heard the controversy surrounding them and you're right - this will probably end up much like those. I'm just expecting a lot of annoying backlash from non-book fans when they start saying Giver is a copy-cat of Divergent. I'm getting my battle armor ready - I will defend Lowry tooth and nail til the very end, even if the movie is a copy. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I also think it will be interesting. I struggle with thinking that the stuff I see in the movie is cool because it is so contrary to what I want. But really, you're so right - if someone hasn't read this book, the movie might just be fantastic (if they can get past the Divergent similarities). Hell, I might even be lenient with a review and say it's good, but in comparison to the book, I don't think it will be deserving of the honor of sharing the name "The Giver" with the book. Thanks for your input!!

  6. YES!! I'd completely forgotten about Narnia. Ugh, it's going to be just like that. How disappointing. Thanks for stopping by!!

  7. I agree with a lot of these points, the thing I am the most upset about is the aged up Jonas. I think it takes away some of the characters innocence by doing that. I remember they did that with Prince Caspian as well, so it was weird seeing an almost 30-year-old man saying lines meant for a 13-year-old. Also that accent.

    That said, what didn't you like about Beautiful Creatures ?

  8. I really loved the Divergent movie, it was really well done with everything considered. I'm looking forward to the Hunger Games finale coming out as well.

    I've been promoting the book version of The Giver in my library since I got here, and I'm mildly proud to say my branch alone offers three copies of it and two always seem to be checked out. My battle armor is ready, I'm just working on my arsenal of ways to bring people into the book, even if it means having to suck it up and see the movie to defend it.

  9. I saw some gifs on Tumblr a while back, of them on the hover bikes, and that was more than enough for me to go "NOPE." It's probably going to go up there with Ella Enchanted on my "Why did they even bother calling it an adaptation" list.

  10. So yes - all of these things. (But PARTICULARLY the kissing, rebellious, Divergent knock off bits) I mean it's no surprise I feel this way - I have already acknowledged the great sacrifice you are making for all of book-kind in going to see this movie for us. But who knows? Maybe the trailers aren't the actual feel of the movie, and are just trying to target the Divergent/Hunger Games audience that isn't already aware of this movie because of the book? I'm also interested how different it seems, because it seems like Lois Lowry was pretty on board with everything, so I guess we'll see...

  11. I agree! Jonas's age is probably what I'm least upset about in the grand scheme of things but it definitely takes away a certain quality that the book has, seeing things from the perspective of a 12-year-old.

    Beautiful Creatures was difficult for me because I struggled with the books. I liked the first one and disliked the rest. I watched the movie hoping I would enjoy it because I find that when I dislike a book for the issues I had with BC the book (mostly that it was way too confusing and by the end of each book I still didn't know what was going on. Oh and Lena [was that her name?] was annoying), I tend to enjoy the movie more because they often cut out the tedious annoying things that may not be necessary. With that in mind, and understanding that BC meant significantly less to me than Giver does and that I personally believe it is much less meaningful as a whole, I just didn't think BC the movie was well done. I liked the actors, but I felt like everything I did like about the book was removed or underplayed. Not to mention that a lot was changed that I just didn't understand - once again, things I found to be integral to the point of the book (I'd have to watch it again to give specifics because it's been so long). AND they changed the ending. They could've left it open. Do you know how many series books are made into a movie without ever making the next one? They don't change the ending just because there's no plan for another one, they at least stay true to the book. I thought the way it ended was stupid. All in all, I remember scoffing and rolling my eyes at the movie a bunch and mad at the things they did change that I happened to actually enjoy about the series. Maybe I'll watch it again and post a book-to-movie review... then again I don't know if I can sit through it, haha.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. That's such a good point - I'm now thinking that this movie might be more along the lines of its own story, simply "loosely adapted" from the book, rather than a true adaptation that sticks mostly to the book and only changes what needs to be changed. In that case, it's still annoying but I suppose if they change enough that it becomes its own thing, I can't be mad, can I? Pfft, nevermind, I'll be mad either way, haha. Thanks for your input!

  13. Tonik Productions sent me a link for a quick video of Lois Lowry talking about the movie and how much she loved it. I was actually pretty surprised and started to kind of rethink things. I am hoping to use my fears against Lowry's positivity to go in with no preconceived notions (probably impossible) and just take it for what it is. I feel like if I go in there thinking I'm going to hate it, I probably will, but I refuse to trust that it will be everything we've always wanted.

    I hope Lowry is right - I hope they haven't butchered it. I can appreciate them "taking it to the next level" to make it more exciting, more marketable, more meaningful. I just hope they don't go to far with the things that really messed with my head, which were like you said, the kissing and rebellion. I'm going tonight around 8 Eastern time so, naturally, my review will be up first thing tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!

    (Also, when I was sitting on my couch watching TV and the godawful Giver sneak peek came, in my outrage, I wanted to rant and scream to you immediately, but I couldn't. Do I have your e-mail? I thought I did, but I couldn't find it that day. Maybe it was because I was blind with rage haha.)

  14. Do you know Into the Woods? I have similar feelings on the Disney production they're doing of the musical. They've changed some things that are essential to the entire meaning of the musical. Like. REALLY important things. And Sondheim (the creator of the musical) seems totally on board with all the changes. I'm kind of in the mixed boat feeling because that feels the same as Lois Lowry being on board. It might be good? AGH I can't wait to read your review so I know whether I should go or not haha (or really wait for it to come out on dvd since I'm broke and know I can't afford to go lol)

    And it's probably sitting in the recesses of your e-mail - I'll shoot you an e-mail so you have it again :)


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