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The Giver Blu-ray Review

The Giver Blu-ray

“The Giver” is an adequate, but unspectacular adaptation.

Based on the acclaimed novel by Lois Lowry, “The Giver” centers on a Dystopian society where everyone is equal and the same. Emotion, love, and color do not exist in this world and the people (and weather) are controlled. The protagonist of this piece is a young teen (Jonas) who has just graduated. Instead of being placed into an ordinary assigned career, however, Jonas is given the rare honor of becoming the Receiver of Memory. Aside from himself, only one other person in this world has been given this gig (an old man known as The Giver). Giver educates the naïve Jonas about his new duties which involve receiving memories of the forgotten past. As Jonas learns more about the world that was, he begins to change as a person and become something that is forbidden- an emotional individual. Even with all of the problems of the past, Jonas wants life to return to the way it was, but, of course, this does not sit well with the community leaders known as the Elders. Can Jonas start a revolution or will his ambitious plans be squashed before they even begin?

Much like the similarly themed “1984,” “The Giver” novel has become a school curriculum staple as of late and it’s not hard to see why given the film’s weighty themes and messages. There’s a lot going on in the story, but unfortunately, the material isn’t given its due with this film adaptation.

While “The Giver” is undeniably a well made film, it feels more like a layman’s version of the source material. It’s an unsubtle “what you see is what you get” adaptation that is clearly more concerned with capitalizing on the young adult film craze of late. Considering this has been a long brewing passion project from actor/producer Jeff Bridges, one has to wonder how the film would have looked if it was made a decade or more ago as originally planned. As is, it feels like it’s trying to be a companion piece to “The Hunger Games” more than being its own unique adaptation.

Cast wise, this movie has a lot going for it. Jeff Bridges shines as the gruff Giver while Brenton Thwaites is a serviceable lead as Jonas. Perhaps the film’s best performance comes from Meryl Streep (who can seemingly do no wrong) who portrays the memorable antagonist the Chief Elder. Also worth noting here is a bit part by music superstar Taylor Swift as a character I won’t spoil.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? The locals, sets, B&W imagery, and the the colorful vision of the past are visually stunning in hi-def.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? This DTS track handles the music, sound f/x, narration, and dialogue admirably.

Extras:
* The Weinstein Company trailers.
* DVD copy and Digital HD copy.
* “Highlights From The Original Script Reading Featuring Lloyd Bridges”- An archival 40 minute script reading from around 18 years ago.
* An extended scene called “Jonas’ Harrowing Journey.”
* “Making The Giver: From Page To Screen” contains film clips, cast and crew interviews, behind-the-scenes clips, discussions about the film and its journey to the big screen.
* “Press Conference With Filmmakers and Cast”- The title says it all.
* “Ordinary Human With OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder”- Tedder talks about OneRepublic’s “Ordinary Human” song created for the movie.
* “Author Lois Lowry On The Giver”- The author about her creation for 3 ½ minutes.
* “Study Guide”- A series of 4 clip segments accompanied by teaching suggestions.

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December 4, 2014 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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