Below, the first teaser for the movie of “THE GIVER,” based on a book you may have been forced to read in middle-school about (all together now) a tween hero with a special destiny bracing against a dystopian future where free-will has been suppressed.
In fairness to Lois Lowry, this was written in 1993 when only most of it’s component parts were tedious cliches. Either way, I’m not sure how this premise is going to work in 2014 – but that involves SPOILERS so hit the jump for those…
Okay, so if you either don’t remember or don’t care about spoilers, the book of “THE GIVER” was pretty-much the main thing “EQUILIBRIUM” borrowed it’s setup from: A dystopian future society that enforces an emotionally-numbed “sameness” largely by excising the population’s collective memories of the past up to and including what color, music, emotion, etc “were.” Our hero is a 12 year-old who’s next in line to become “The Giver,” i.e. a guy who gets to be a human backup-drive whose mind will contain all those “lost” memories in case the leadership ever needs to look something up. He befriends the current Giver, and the two of them start thinking about kicking off a revolution against The System.
Here’s what I want to know (apart from why it doesn’t look like they’re doing it in black-and-white gradually transitioning to color when that’s pretty-much how the hero’s development is layed out in the book and also damn near the only way to make any of this look visually dynamic): Are they still working from the premise that this is the future of our world? Because if so, they’re going to have to change what the big inciting “Must Fight The System” issue is.
Short version: Every dystopia needs a big central horror underlying it in order to prevent the audience from asking “yeah but” questions about liberty vs security, and in “The Giver” it’s that The Community practices Spartan-style population control by euthanizing “aberrant” babies in infancy (example of aberration: identical twins). Problem: In the time between the writing of the book and now, the existence of prenatal genetic testing has made the basic premise of that (apart from being barbaric) wholly obsolete… or does The Giver remember everything about the earlier world except that particular technology?
From the looks of the teaser, it would appear that “save that baby!” is still the big Act III suspense-kickoff; but I’m given to think they might’ve been better acknowledging that the world has moved on and a new angle was necessary overall: Now, however good the movie is, they’re going to get swept up in a bunch of media nonsense about whether it’s a “pro-life metaphor” (which won’t be helped by the presence of Walden Media, which has connections to right-wing Christian activist Philip Anschutz, as producers.)