Saturday, August 30, 2014

Disappointed By The Giver

I've never read the book, but something felt off about Phillip Noyce's adaptation of The Giver.
The general design of the production seemed disjointed and out of place, the editing felt choppy and confused at times, and the attempts at adding and taking away colors didn't manage to work as well as I would have imagined. But those are only minor qualms, because there were far greater flaws. Most notably, the entire third act of this movie JUST DIDN'T WORK. This was not an action film by any stretch of the imagination (nor should it be), yet for some reason, in the last twenty minutes or so the audience was subjected to the most nonsensical of "chase sequences"... across thousands of miles... on foot... over the course of what was apparently a single day.
This is the kind of minor mistake that should be cleared up by the second draft, but if left unchanged can mortally wound a production. And I simply cannot believe the filmmakers allowed this project to reach theaters without finding a way to adjust the timeline at the very least.
As I stated above, I've never read the book. So my disappointment comes from a different place. I'm a big Jeff Bridges fan... after all, he is The Dude!! And knowing how important this project was to him... he took years and years as a producer trying to get this movie made... I'm just sad that the final product couldn't have been something more complete, compelling, and consistent. This is not to say anything against Jeff Bridges. He did an excellent job as an actor in the film, but in handing over control of the picture to Phillip Noyce and a couple of so-so writers (Michael Mitnick and Robert B. Weide), I feel he did not properly service a story that means a lot to him. It's unfortunate, because there is clearly a lot of heart here... it just gets muddled over by some unbelievable mistakes.
"Oh man, I really wish we'd given this script another read before we started production..."
The actors are fine, but the film just falls apart. It's not the end of the world, but if you're looking to actually enjoy your afternoon, this probably isn't the best way to do that.

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