REVIEW: The Giver


The Giver
Directed by: Phillip Noyce
Written by: Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide (screenplay), Lois Lowry
Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Odeya Rush and Meryl Streep

The Giver is a bad movie, but it’s not generically bad like many of its other teen dystopia kin.  It tries to recreate the world of Lois Lowry’s middle school reading staple almost too precisely, creating a totalitarian community that feels like a futuristic Pleasantville without any humor or personality.  Color floods the black and white town as Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) experiences more and more new, human things, but the movie’s pulse rarely participates in that awakening.

Unfortunately, The Giver’s script has only a small fraction of Pleasantvilles humor, though it produces many unintentional laughs.  The way the characters talk, like programmed robots taught not to say things like “love,” just doesn’t translate well to the screen.  This is largely a failure of performance, with cast members either going way over the top (Jeff Bridges) or comically flat (Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgaard).  Brenton Thwaites, despite being much older than Jonas is in the book, finds the right tone for his emerging personality even if he feels slightly out of place.

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Batman Begins
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer (screenplay)
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, and Katie Holmes

Christopher Nolan goes the route of Stanley Kubrick in his take on the Batman mythology.  Kubrick was infamous for taking acclaimed works of literature and making them his own, just ask Stephen King.  It’s hard to say what Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Batman’s true origin, would say about Nolan’s origin story.  The colorful world is all but stripped away, replaced with the gritty streets of Gotham City and induced with a tinge of noir.

Though he would go on to create a masterpiece in 2008’s The Dark Knight, Nolan needed to establish his version of this world and the principle characters in it.  In that respect he is mostly successful.

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