The Giver is one of my favorite books. I read it when I was in middle school and was enthralled by the narrative found within its pages. I believe it was also one of the first books to have a dystopian setting in a young adult novel, or at the least one of the first to win an award and have had some mass appeal.
With the current deluge of YA adaptations in Hollywood, it is no surprise that The Giver is being made into a film. Admittedly, it took fifteen years of development hell, but whatever it is coming to theaters near you at some point in the near future. In fact here is a trailer:
Now, those of you who have read this fine piece of literature might find this trailer a bit odd for some indiscernible reason. You are not wrong; this trailer is off for one main reason. Whoever green-lit this project is trying to get a large cut of that sweet, sweet YA money and is competing with other properties like Hunger Games, Maze Runner, and Divergent. Thus, because Hollywood seems to be capable of intelligent thought less and less with each passing year, the apparent way to compete with these popular juggernauts is to imitate them. I mean that is the only logical thing to do, right?
Don’t get me wrong. I am a fan of the previously mentioned titles in both literary and motion picture form. However, Giver is most definitely not like these other YA stories. I will try to not include any spoilers for those who have yet to experience the pleasure of reading the book, but unlike Hunger Games and Divergent the central conflict and story in Giver does not really have to do with a major looming war or mass rebellion. The main protagonist is not some secret leader, rebel, or figure head. In fact, while there is some violent acts within the book they are not anywhere near on the scale of other dystopian YA fiction.
Instead, the central focus of Giver is about rediscovering life and understanding what it means to be human in all its capacity. It is about small forms of rebellion and making a choice as to which path to take as opposed to it being thrust upon you. In short, it is seemingly the exact opposite of what the trailer is showing. I know this film has to compete with other popular titles, but I wish the people in charge would give their audience some credit and understand that not every film has to be Hunger Games in order to find an audience. After all, in a field where everything is the same, it will be the few standouts that will draw attention.