Movie review: The Giver is no Hunger Games
The presence of Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep in supporting roles will help draw some attention from grown-ups who don't know the book series written by Lois Lowry, but this franchise won't come close to competing with The Hunger Games.movie reviews Updated: Aug 14, 2014 17:22 IST
Noyce is unsurprisingly capable in the short action sequence during which Jonas confronts his old schoolmates and makes his escape. But while Noyce is building suspense, cutting between Jonas' flight and the peril of his loved ones back home (Streep is wasted as the heavy, enforcing conformity on those tempted to follow Jonas), the screenplay (credited to Michael Mitnick and Robert B Weide) is preparing to let him down.
With the exception of the psychic sessions between Jonas and the Giver, everything about this scenario is grounded in the physical world; order is maintained not by some ancient magic, but by technology, pharmaceuticals and old-fashioned authoritarianism.
But (no spoilers here) the hurdle Jonas eventually faces is more akin to the enchanted object that a wizard-battling hero can simply smash to break the spell enslaving his kingdom. Wham-bam, no need for feel-good scenes of the peace he has brought to his fellow peasants.
This easy out should go over especially badly with readers attached to the novel's much more ambiguous end — though to be fair, audiences by now are so used to this type of nonsense that it hardly even registers.
Like Jonas' father — Alexander Skarsgard, who more than anyone in the cast finds a way to embody Sameness while being unmistakably human — we moviegoers tend to accept what we're told, never knowing the peaks of feeling and intelligence we should really be demanding