So the first dystopian novel I ever read was Lois Lowry’s The Giver as part of the Grade 7 curriculum. Needless to say, I loved it. As time passed, I learned that book-to-movie adaptations generally were disappointments, and when a movie for The Giver was announced, I was a little less than unenthused, and with reason, given the trailer that was released two days ago:
While I was reading The Giver, I pictured their society as some sort of idyllic suburbia where everyone knows everyone else and we all bike to work. i.e. Nothing at all like what’s pictured in that trailer.
The Giver is one of those books you can’t turn into a movie. There’s too much thinking involved, too little visuals. Which may sound weird, considering that the Giver only ever gives Jonas memories. But these memories are more than just pictures or clips of video. They are the sensations of touching snow, the smell of ocean air, the sound of music, the warmth of love at Christmas.
Speaking of visuals, there’s a huge concern that the movies isn’t in black and white, which is simply further proof that this book can’t be a movie. Jonas’ world is without colour. That’s fairly easy to put on screen.
What is hard to put on screen is the realization that the government is so controlling that they have claimed a monopoly on colour. When Jonas realizes the world is lacking colour, so does the reader. It’s a huge revelation to both of them, for different reasons. The revelation isn’t as big if the movie is in black and white from the beginning.
If it was, right away the audience would wonder, “Okay, what’s up with this place? It’s 2014 right? Where’s the colour?”
Compare that to: “OMG this world has no colour? I thought it had colour! I just assumed it had colour! Why the hell doesn’t it have colour?”
Trying to hide all the faults of Jonas’s world would be impossible with a movie. Right away we’d notice the lack of music, colour, animals, and weather changes. We’d notice how everything is too neat for its own good.
So, to the people who decided to turn The Giver into a movie, good try, but no cigar.
“Frightened meant that deep, sickening feeling of something terrible about to happen.” ― Lois Lowry, The Giver