They made a movie of "The Giver" & it looks wretched [book spoilers]

The preview is out for a movie “adaptation” of Lois Lowry’s book “The Giver”.

I really like the book - it is a simple parable of a dystopia in a supposedly perfect utopia. Though marketed as a YA or even children’s book, I thought it was wonderfully written in a way anyone could enjoy. A classic.

This horrible, horrible looking preview shows a film with teens defying the order of things, planes shooting at the main character, Meryl Streep spouting dreadfully obvious lines - oh I can’t go on. I may vomit. I realize this is only a preview, but I believe this may be a trashing of a classic to match what was done to the Grinch. Humbug.

I’d say it looks disappointing, but I wouldn’t compare it to The Grinch from the trailer.

My biggest complaint is that it looks too Hollywoody. I recall the society in the book as being conspicuously bland, whereas this looks…ordinary.

Yeah, it looks moderately OK, but it will not do the book justice. I just pray they never consider making any of the sequels. They’re terrible.

Also, I hope that:

It keeps it unclear whether Jonas and Gabe survive. I think the ambiguity of this is a huge asset to the book. Again, you can see why I don’t like the sequels since she answers it.

Mahaloth - I too liked the ambiguity of the book’s ending. The sequels are awful.

Wait, in the sequels Lois Lowry clarifies the ambiguity at the ending of “The Giver”? I never thought it was ambiguous at all, but this can’t possibly be good. Please, please don’t tell me that she has Jonas and Gabe survive.If that’s the case, anything Hollywood does is too good for her and her characters.

It should have been in black and white.

The actor playing Jonas is too old.

Plus, Taylor Swift. Just, no.

I’m not going to watch the trailer because I don’t want to be spoiled. I haven’t read the book(s) and I don’t care about what’s been changed or whatever. I’m there opening day because it’s directed by Australian director Phillip Noyce (The Quiet American,Rabbit-Proof Fence), because it has a great cast, including Odeya Rush who is going to be a huge star someday, and because the absolute last people I would listen to when deciding to see a movie are book whiners.

If I listened to book whiners I would have missed some damned good movies, and missed reading some great-to-good books, including The Lord of the Rings (all of them), The Millennium Series (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo etc.), The Hunger Games & Catching Fire (I didn’t like Mockingjay) and even the Harry Potter series, though the tantrums by book readers, especially about Prisoner of Azkaban which was the first HP movie I really liked, put me off reading the books until after the 6th came out.

I’m still convinced that book whiners sabotaged the Jack Reacher movie, which I thought was pretty good. I hope they have no effect on The Giver’s box office, because that’s not going to help the book reach a new audience at all. I plan to read the book. After seeing the movie.
Btw, why knock Taylor Swift’s acting when we haven’t seen Taylor Swift’s acting yet? If she’s good enough for Phillip Noyce and rumored for The Secret Service by Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake, Stardust, Kick-Ass & X-Men: First Class) she’s got my attention and I’ll give her a chance and wait to see her in action.

I don’t think the ending of the Giver is ambiguous at all. It’s patently obvious what happened and the fact that sequels exist just goes to show that authors don’t always get their own books.

Movie looks bleah, but I remember the book being bleah, so they’ll go well together.

I remember this book as the single most fascinating story I read in all my years of going to school. Most of the stuff I had to read was dreary Charles Dickens and Shakespeare, only some of which was even marginally enjoyable.

This, however, was an awesome book.

[Spoiler]I don’t want to see this movie unless they did it right. The society in the book was indeed conspicuously bland. Unless they capture the heartless, emotionless, colorless, tasteless uniform society just right, it kind of ruins the entire story.

The only thing worth running away from in that society is basically the fact that freedom of thought and memory and feeling are all suppressed. If there’s obvious freedom and emotion and color everywhere then it’s no longer The Giver.[/Spoiler]

I hope they explain, in detail, how they manage to cause everybody to be born without the ability to perceive color, or (IIRC) taste or smell.

Because those were the things that made the entire story so implausible that I couldn’t enjoy it.

And although I never read them, just learning that sequels existed pissed me off even more than finding out that Geena Davis apparently didn’t go straight back to the abortion clinic after the credits rolled at the end of The Fly.

That’s actually rather simple.

[spoiler]You can locate the genes related to natural colorblindness (which occurs randomly in people and then the trait is passed down through heredity) and then select for those genes or transplant them into genetic code and clone a whole next generation of a society to be completely colorblind by design. All you need to do is manipulate the genetic code of the original cell before it begins to divide, and the individual that it becomes will have that trait.

Lack of taste or smell are similarly traits that can be selected for and bred out of a society.

We can intentionally make our dogs short-haired, long-haired, short stubby legged or long legged. There’s a lot you can do simply by identifying traits and selecting for them, or by direct gene manipulation. Far from being far-fetched, that kind of control over a society is the kind that eugenicists seek. It might be out of fashion now, but just wait until someone figures out how to selectively breed out traits like lactose intolerance, or a vulnerability to certain types of cancer.[/spoiler]

Thanks for the explanation, but I can’t accept that a society that would do that would have the foresight to allow for throwbacks to be permitted to live, let alone be assigned a specific (and crucial) contingency role.

Also, the business of mind-to-mind transfer of emotions, memories, and experiences from the Giver to the Receiver was far too much woo for me to put up with.

Haven’t read the books but the trailer looks like a generic teens fight the future dystopian government that has banned love or something. YA adaptations are really hot right now, and there’s four books in the series so that’s five movies right there.

Yeah, that kind of makes any objections based on colorblindness rather pointless. Despite the marketing, it’s not a science fiction story. It’s a fantasy story that’s heavily dependent on pure magic, even though it’s not called such. It just happens to take place in a fantasy world with a past that superficially resembles our own present. I haven’t read the sequels either, obviously, but based on the plot summaries on Wikipedia, they are also dependent on a number of fantasy elements and what in our world would be supernatural abilities.

I wasn’t a big fan of the novel, but one thing I did like about it was that it didn’t draw a distinction between science and magic from the POV of the characters. The elements that we would identify as magic were just part of the world for the characters. It was a bit disconcerting having them show up in what I’d thought was a science fiction story, but that’s not the author’s fault; she’s not the one who told me it was science fiction. And part of the story is that the protagonist himself doesn’t know what kind of world he lives in because he’s so young, and because the society he lives in keeps knowledge suppressed. (Not specifically magical knowledge or scientific knowledge [again, a distinction that doesn’t exist in the world of the story], just knowledge generally.)


I can allow for one completely unscientific thing to happen in a story before I start to lose interest. Okay, so someone has the power of cryomancy… still a nifty story.

[spoiler]Basically the idea is that knowledge of these corrupting influences (such as emotion, often responsible for the clouding of one’s judgment) should be removed from the typical person, however, there are memories of things which might be vital for society to still be aware of, if only concentrated within the mind of one trusted and honored individual, a keeper of memories.

This person can offer judgment against or for certain things, without everyone having to know in great detail why they are for or against a thing.

It’s basically the theory that the enlightened and great Leader knows best, and we the little people are infants too irresponsible to know anything.

All perfectly in line with a thought-controlling totalitarian society. Some thoughts are too dangerous for us to have, so someone else should have them. Everyone is the same, and equal, but some people are more equal than others.

If you remove the somewhat magical power from the story, and instead, these were physical storage devices containing data about these experiences, videos, sounds, and perhaps direct stimulus to the human brain resulting in flashes of emotion, would it be more interesting or plausible to you?[/spoiler]

Lowry clarified that Jonas was alive at the end in a relatively recent Q&A about the book.

Shoot me now, I read *Gathering Blue * and liked that low-tech world (and Kira the protagonist) and I also *don’t mind that Jonas and Gabe live. *. I know that’s going to be an unpopular opinion, but I agree the ambiguity of “did they live or didn’t they?” should be kept in.

EDIT: Here’s her quote (from the National Book Festival in Washington D.C)

To add something to this, as a Year 7 student in Sydney this book was my class novel for English.


Since the author spoiled it herself, I’m going to go ahead and say it was a stupid decision to say that the protagonist survived. Sure the author got to create a series and make more money but this decision seriously lessens my respect for her as an artist.

As far as being called a “book-whiner” - I feel I’m allowed my opinion. I saw from this preview that a lovely book I enjoyed has been turned over to the YA-dystopian-kids-save-the-world mill. I don’t like that. and I don’t like being dismissed as a ‘book-whiner’ - these are HUGE changes from the book’s tone, not minor nitpicks.

Poppycock, sir! Again, I say Poppycock!

By putting a fighter jet in the very first scene of the story, the author is implicitly promising at the least that it’s NOT a fantasy. And with the genetic engineering of an entire populace, she’s [del]implicitly[/del] explicitly presenting us with science fiction.

The part that bothers me the most is that Jonas and his friends are going to be 18, not 12, as in the book. I understand why they’re doing it this way (more commercial, for one thing) but part of the horror of the book is that Jonas is so young when he discovers what his community is like.