Young adult novel adaptations set in dystopian societies might be all the rage right now, but the world of Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel The Giver was brainwashing its citizens to conform to rigid ideals way before that sort of thing became cool. Now that it is cool, however, an adaptation of The Giver is set to join the ranks of movies about adolescents living in not-too-distant-future civilizations (see also: The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner).
One widespread complaint about the initial trailer for The Giver was the lack of any black-and-white footage. In the futuristic society of Lowry’s novel, the ability to see colors has been eliminated along with everything else considered inconvenient, distasteful or dangerous, but upon receiving memories from the Giver (Jeff Bridges), young protagonist Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) begins to see objects in color. Gary Ross’ 1998 film Pleasantville is a good example of how this kind of transition can be represented onscreen.
A new 60-second trailer for The Giver has now been released, and although it shares some common footage with the first trailer, some of the clips have now been swapped out in favor of black-and-white versions. It would be nice to think that the change is due to complaints from fans of the book, but it’s more likely that the initial trailer was shown in full color so as not to put off audience members who had never read the source material.
The Giver boasts some respectable actors in its cast, including Bridges as the title character and Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder trying to sustain a utopia by chopping up and rearranging people’s memories, personalities and destinies. Jonas’ parents are played by Katie Holmes and Alexander Skarsgård, and pop starlet Taylor Swift also has a minor role. Phillip Noyce (Salt) directed The Giver from a screenplay penned by newcomer Michael Mitnick.
Based on the presentation of this trailer and the previous one, comparisons to other recent and upcoming YA adaptations (Divergent in particular) are inevitable and it’s possible that this is a deliberate move on the part of The Weinstein Company. We’ll find out this summer whether this marketing approach ultimately helps to attract fans of other YA sci-fi movies or simply causes The Giver to fade into the scenery.
The Giver is out in theaters on August 15, 2014.