REVIEW: THE GIVER
OVERVIEW: Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company are proud to announce the home entertainment release of the dystopian thriller, THE GIVER. Directed by Phillip Noyce, the film is based on Lois Lowry’s beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold over 12 million copies worldwide.
The hit film features an all-star cast that includes: Jeff Bridges (Tron franchise, R.I.P.D, True Grit, Crazy Heart), Meryl Streep (August: Osage County, Upcoming Into the Woods, The Iron Lady), Brenton Thwaites (Oculus, Maleficent, Upcoming: Son of a Gun, Ride), Alexander Skarsgård (The East, What Maisie Knew, “True Blood”), Odeya Rush (Upcoming: Goosebumps, The Odd Life of Timothy Green), Katie Holmes (Jack and Jill, Mad Money, Batman Begins), and Taylor Swift (The Lorax, Valentine’s Day). The epic adaptation is a passion project for Bridges, who also serves as a producer on the film and spent close to twenty years developing the novel into a motion picture. Audiences can get the film on digital download on November 14, 2014 before heading to DVD and Blu-Ray™ Combo Pack with Digital HD Ultraviolet in time for the holidays on November 25, 2014.
The story of The Giver centers on Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), who is the sole keeper of all the community’s memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community’s secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined – a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most. At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all – a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before.
REVIEW: Originally published in 1993 (six years before “The Matrix”), and according to online sources, Lois Lowry’s novel is itself a patchwork of ideas borrowed from Aldous Huxley, George Orwell, Jack Finney and Ray Bradbury and their imaginative depiction of totalitarian groupthink masquerading as peaceable utopia. More than that though, is that the obvious fact here is this theatrical effort comes more than twenty years after the book’s first release. The content would have been quite ground breaking and fresh, had the powers to be, made the right decisions to develop the film back then. Unfortunately, at this point, this movie is a class “A” movie with a class “A” concept that simply falls victim to being a bit too late to have the intended effect on audiences. If one has seen, M. Knight Shyamalan’s “The Village” or more recently, the sci-fi flick “Divergent” or any of the likeminded releases, then it totally ruins anything interesting about viewing this flick. No surprises to be had, everything is pretty much predictable from start to finish. It almost appears as though all of the releases with similar concepts over the past twenty-one years have taken a page from this novel.
According to Jeff Bridges in an interview on the red carpet, in bringing the book to the big screen, director Phillip Noyce (Salt, 2010) and screenwriters Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide have stayed reasonably faithful to the plot and characters, However, understandably they jettisoned much of the philosophical weight and, perhaps made inevitable concessions to commerce. Bridges himself along with Academy award winner Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift, Katie Holmes and a lineup of fresh talent, all give great performances here. Other than the great lineup of talent, nothing really sets this film apart from any of the more than half dozen movies of the past two decades that have similar themes and plots.
Overall, this could have been a four and a half star flick if audiences were experiencing it twenty years ago, but unfortunately the story and plot is very much a part of a played out genre and regrettably I have to give it a three and a half out of five stars and cannot recommend it for a night out at the movies. This is more of a DVD release or Pay-per-view type of story at this point.
By Movi-Man Stan
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 2.39:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (2.39:1) 16x9
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish DTS Digital Surround 5.1
Subtitles - English Spanish
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Jeff Bridges Presents The Original Script Reading Featuring Lloyd
Making The Giver: From Page to
‘Ordinary Human’ featurette with OneRepublic’s Ryan
Author Lois Lowry on The
Study Guide. Additionally
“Press Conference With Filmmakers & Cast.