Movie review: The Giver

Aug 15, 2014, 14:56 IST | Mihir Fadnavis

The Giver
U/A; Sci-Fi
Dir: Phillip Noyce
Cast: Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges

It’s coming to a point where one can’t help but roll one’s eyes, groan and moan at Hollywood’s completely senseless attempts at cash grabs. While watching The Giver, there is only one thing that you feel – that you’re watching yet another young adult sci-fi movie. The young adult sci-fi genre has been a big success thanks to The Hunger Games’ films. While those movies aren’t as such terrible, mainly thanks to Jennifer Lawrence, every other film that has tried to ape it, has failed miserably. We’ve seen Divergent and it was less than spectacular. The Mortal Instruments was not only not spectacular, but also absolutely awful. I Am Number Four was atrocious as well. Now we have The Giver, which is just another retread in the dystopian sci-fi area filled with heroic teens.

To set it apart from other young adult sci-fi films, The Giver has the talent of Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep. Perhaps the producers didn’t realise that Divergent had Kate Winslet, but it didn’t work on any level. So anyway, the story this time has a boy (Thwaits) as the protagonist, the dystopian community is called The Community, the chief of which is named The Elder (Streep).

Everything else about the narrative is a mash up of‘Divergent and Logan’s Run, so if you’ve seen those movies, you’ve seen the entirety of The Giver. The themes of tyranny, societal pressures, the need for dictatorial order to control chaos have all been done before and director Philip Noyce doesn’t really try hard to make his film unique. If you thought his previous movie Salt was derivative, this one makes it seem like a once in a lifetime film.

It’s perhaps a bit unfair to criticise the source material so much, because The Giver by Lois Lowry was published almost twenty years before Divergent and The Hunger Games. In that way, this film faces the John Carter dilemma – even if you’ve arrived before and inspired countless other films, how do you become interesting and different. Sadly, The Giver falls prey to awful dialogue, clunky CGI and mediocre direction, rendering the impressive cast completely useless. Even a Jennifer Lawrence wouldn’t have been able to save this one.

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