For every Harry Potter and Divergent, there are some books, no matter how good, labeled "unfilmable." From Infinite Jest to One Hundred Years of Solitude, many incredible novels will likely never get made, due to their convoluted plots, decades-spanning timelines, or even the objection of their authors (see: Catcher in the Rye). Occasionally, a few of these types of books make it to the big screen, but the results tend to vary. There are duds like Cloud Atlas and On the Road, but there are also favorites like The Lord of the Rings, Cosmopolis, and, maybe, soon, The Giver, the upcoming film based on Lois Lowry's beloved, but supposedly "unfilmable" 1993 novel. Our expectations for the movie are high, but judging by The Giver 's first trailer, released on Wednesday, perhaps we're better off just re-reading the book.
The problem with the trailer is not that The Giver looks bad, but that it looks exactly like every other YA dystopia of the last few years. The elements that made the book so special, like Jonah's young age and the sad, stark tone, have eluded the film. Instead, Jonah is played by a 24-year-old (Brenton Thwaites), and director Phillip Noyce seems to have gone for suspense over subtlety.
Still, there's no question that for fans of the novel, The Giver is a must-see. With a cast that includes Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Katie Holmes, there's still hope that the movie lives up to expectations. The fact that it already has Lois Lowry's approval certainly doesn't hurt; we'll have to just wait until August 15 to find out if it earns ours, as well.
Watch the trailer below: