Maybe I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was, especially since I had heard mostly positive things, but I was surprised by how much the movie adaptation of The Giver worked for me. I knew going in that there were quite a few changes, that was obvious just from the previews, but I felt all the changes worked and made sense. I liked how Jonas seemed more connected to his friends. I liked the added dramatic tension. I liked that the ending provided a little more closure.
At the end, I was kind of taken aback because for a moment I felt I might have actually liked the movie better than the book. Now, before you stone me, let me explain how I actually sorted it out in my head…
The book made a bigger impact on me when I read it than this movie did when I watched it, but in hindsight the book’s impact on me has lessened over time. It is a very good book but it has not stood the test of time for me as an absolute favorite. The movie provided a sort of instant gratification to experience what I liked about the book, but included the added bonus of seeing the memories, which is something I liked a lot because I’m pretty visual, and then was changed up in the right ways to keep it fresh and new to me. In reality, as a movie The Giver is not as good as The Giver is as a book, but I could see myself rewatching this movie more than rereading the book.
In terms of casting, I felt most of it was spot-on. Fiona felt off a couple of times (and then when I found out how much younger the actress who played her was than the guy playing Jonas that felt a little… ewww…), but I did usually like her. And I liked everyone else; even Taylor Swift was decent. There were a couple of small things that bothered me, but I felt overall it was a very good adaptation, even with its changes, and Lois Lowry agrees and that’s all that really matters.
I read The Maze Runner trilogy (and prequel) before I started blogging, and I never got around to reviewing it the way I meant to, but I know I’ve mentioned fleeting thoughts on the blog before, and I’ve definitely left comments on other people’s blogs along the lines of: “The ending is so disappointing and not worth it.” I liked the first book the best out of the series though, and thought I might want to see the movie when I saw a lot of positive comments about it, some people even saying it was better than the book.
Is this a better movie than it was a book? I would say no. Is this a good enough adaptation where I feel you aren’t missing a lot if you didn’t read the book? To that I would say yes. There are some missing details of course, but seriously, not a ton happened in the book, so it was well-suited to be adapted to a movie. I especially appreciated that Theresa woke up earlier in the movie and got more screen time (even if she wasn’t quite as interesting in the movie as she was in the book).
I honestly don’t know what I was expecting though. I think I hoped to get some sort of satisfaction at the end of the movie that I couldn’t get from the entire freaking book series, and I don’t know why. No, the ending isn’t satisfying because it ends like the book did and leaves you all set up for the second book, where you’ll only get more questions than answers, and then will then leave you hanging for book three where again, the answers are not satisfying and the ending is just completely hollow.
(Not that I’m bitter or anything.)
I can’t find anything in this movie to complain about, except it being based off the book. I thought the Glade looked perfect, the Grievers were well-done, and the actors were pretty spot-on. But I don’t think I’ll be able to continue watching the movies because I’ll just frustrated all over again.