The Weinstein Company’s upcoming adaptation of Lois Lowry’s The Giver fits into the larger trend of young adult dystopian fiction in Hollywood. While this is true, this isn’t a title with the huge blockbuster book sales of the likes of The Hunger Games, Divergent, and others. What it does have is long history and multiple generations who read the novel as part of their school curriculum. I am not one of these people, and haven’t read the book, but this new trailer does something none of the others have done yet, it makes the movie look interesting.
The Giver is taking a page from the Pleasantville playbook, starting in black and white and gradually making the transition to color as the characters learn to experience the world in a real, authentic way, instead of simply buying into the sterile, totalitarian way of life. In addition to clarifying why the movie uses this particular device we’ve been puzzling over—it’s apparently a key part of the plot—this trailer, from Yahoo, also provides a broader idea of the story. What we’ve seen before has been vague, and though you know what it all meant if you were familiar with the novel, the rest of us were left to scratch our heads.
Set in a faux-utopian society that takes away its citizens right to choose and experience the world in the way our sense are intended to, this is a bland, though seemingly innocuous world. That is, until a young man named Jonas (Brenton Thwaites, Oculus), encounters a grizzled man named the Giver (Jeff Bridges). I have to admit, I laughed when he says, “They’re called books.” Stupid kids. Jonas has always been a bit of a free spirit, which is frowned upon, but when the Giver, who is the keeper of the history before everything got super boring, opens his eyes, he starts to see just how messed up everything really is. Armed with this new knowledge, that also appears to show his father as some kind of official executioner of the young and old—you might pick up a Logan’s Run vibe from this part—which must be a bummer of a fact to discover.
The way The Giver looks in this trailer has obvious parallels to Divergent. On the surface everything is hunky dory and peaceful, there’s a ton of action, and there’s also a mysterious edge to their world, which no one is allowed to pass. This is an easy way to keep a story contained, trying to convince your reader that no one has ever questioned this particular fact or gone exploring always feels kind of lazy.