First Reactions To “The Giver” Film Trailer

I read The Giver when I was ten. I’ve dreamt of a film adaptation ever since. And I’ve been waiting anxiously for the trailer from the moment the movie was announced, long before I wrote a post in which I worried that the adaptation would suck.

And then, it showed up. The trailer.

In some ways, this movie matters more to me than even the Harry Potter, Tolkien, and Hunger Games adaptations. When the first Potter movie came out I didn’t even know the series existed. I only read Tolkien’s books because the new version of The Hobbit debuted. I didn’t care about The Hunger Games when I saw its film adaptation.

But The Giver? I love it to pieces, and I didn’t even want to watch the trailer for several days because I knew it wouldn’t be the same as the story inside my head. But I did, eventually, and here are my thoughts. (You can find my other reactions to film trailers here, by the way.)

Warning: Spoilers ahead! Read/watch at your own risk!

0:05 – Nothing is happening in the trailer so I’ll just use this time to say that I saw Divergent on Friday and although this trailer was not shown before, I did see an ad for The Maze Runner and I REALLY WANT TO READ IT NOW.

0:12 – That better not be the Chief Elder narrating, but I think it is. …why? She’s not supposed to know about the past. She’s not supposed to be knowingly withholding anything from the community. She’s just as clueless as the rest of them.

0:21 – Eeee! Gabe! And at first I thought the other two were Jonas’ mother and father but at second glance, I’m pretty sure they’re Jonas and Fiona.

0:26 – Noooo, why would anyone want films to be accurate to their original books? Why would anyone want Fiona’s hair red like it should be instead of brown?

0:27 – Lily! And Asher! I think.

0:30 – The Giver just said, “The way things look, and the way things are, are very different.” Hey. Look. That describes my feelings about this trailer. This amuses me.

0:35 – It looks like Fiona is being Released? What?

0:36 – They don’t take morning injections! They take pills! I know this is a nitpick, but seriously. If a movie can’t even handle the little details, I don’t feel great about their ability to handle the big things.

0:42 – It’s hard to see what’s happening because the images flash by so quickly, but I see the sled!



0:46 – THEY’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO KISS! Blergh. I don’t mind love stories. What I do mind are unnecessary love stories – especially when the original book didn’t have one. Please don’t make The Giver the next YA-dystopian-with-romance thing.

0:53 – “There is something that has been stolen.” Oh, I agree. It’s called accuracy to the book. How can Fiona even say that? She doesn’t know what Jonas and the Giver know, and she couldn’t even if she tried. No one but those two know what’s wrong with their society.

0:54 – Rosemary could say those lines, to be sure, but that doesn’t look like Rosemary. She’s played by Taylor Swift and that’s not Taylor right there. I’m sure of it.

0:59 – “When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong.” Oh, I totally agree. If the filmmakers are included in “people,” that is. How would the Chief Elder even know about choice?

1:02 – It’s not like the book made a big deal about light-colored eyes being A) rare in the community and B) necessary to become a Giver or Receiver of Memory, or anything. It’s not like brown eyes make a difference. (Sarcasm! But seriously, why do movies do this? Aren’t there colored contact lenses? Isn’t there CGI?)

1:06 – Stop ripping off The Hunger Games there with the futuristic uniforms and motorbikes. How is this even happening? The Giver was published before. But those look exactly like the Peacekeepers. (Maybe all the dystopias share police?)

1:08 – Ah, this part looks familiar and un-messed-up. Jonas is escaping with Gabe! But wait, what’s that?

1:09 – Um.

1:10 – Why was Jonas just sucked in to a hovercraft-thingy? He doesn’t get captured. And the place where he ends up doesn’t have that kind of technology.

1:11 – I don’t even understand what the point of this movie will be, or how it will end.

1:15 – “Receive your destiny.” Mine will probably involve angry muttering in the theater.

1:21 – “Based on the book by Lois Lowry.” Screenplay written by people who have never read it.

1:23 – This is the best part of the trailer because it’s just a black screen.

1:25 – There is nothing quite like seeing a favorite childhood book just ripped apart. I feel like I’ll be more disappointed than I was with Harry Potter.

I am in a bad mood right now. I am in a bad nerdy mood. Disappointed nerds are dangerous. Or something.

But seriously. It’s possible that I’m being too judgmental about things like the color of Jonas’ eyes or Fiona’s hair, but what about the rest? What about all the things that seem to indicate that more than two people know the community is in reality a terrible place? That just doesn’t make sense.

Earlier, I was looking on Wikipedia for other information and it says the movie is loosely based on the novel. Yeah. That’s not what I want to see. What I see is that very little of the book made it into the movie. Or at least into its trailer.

What are your thoughts on the trailer for The Giver?


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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29 Responses to First Reactions To “The Giver” Film Trailer

  1. Lydia says:

    Yep, it’s bad. I’m raging too. What’s the point of a “loosely” based movie, anyhow? Start with your own story! No need to destroy someone else’s

    • nevillegirl says:

      Good point. I think the best adaptations are usually fairy tales, anyway – there’s a lot of wiggle room so the writers can interpret/change things however they wish.

      That doesn’t really work with a newer, absolutely-fixed-there-are-no-retellings story.

  2. matttblack42 says:

    A lot of times I understand why they change things from the book. Sometimes, things that happen in the books wouldn’t be nearly as effective when done in movie form. But with this, I have no idea what they were thinking. A faithful adaptation of The Giver could’ve made an amazing movie. I’m disappointed that it wasn’t done in black and white.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I think I could ignore a lot of the movie’s flaws if it were at least in black and white. And maybe it’s too early to tell – because we haven’t seen the real thing yet – but I don’t think there’s even a little chance they’ll have the movie in black and white because wouldn’t that be distinctive enough to include in a trailer?

  3. Miriam Joy says:

    I hate poor adaptations. I remember how psyched I was for Inkheart when it came out because I’d loved the book for years — I was pretty young, so I didn’t see promo stuff other than maybe the trailer, and I was expecting it to be great. And then … it was the biggest disappointment ever. (The Eragon film was also crappy, but I didn’t love the book as much, so it was marginally less painful.)

    • nevillegirl says:

      Aw, Inkheart was bad? That stinks. It was a lovely book!

      And I’ve only seen bits of Eragon, but I agree: I wouldn’t be as bothered by how horrible it was because let’s face it, the book needed work too.

  4. Charley R says:

    *relegates this trailer and the movie behind it to the list of things she will never acknowledge … except in the fact she’s going to integrate it into an Angry YouTube Video at the next opportunity because N O.*

  5. Bonnie says:

    Hi. The Maze Runner is amazing. I devoured the first three books in two days, and I want to get the prequel soon. Go read them now.

    Bonnie out. *ducks behind a wall*

  6. This trailer is horrific. No. I… I am traumatized. I thought they would at least make an attempt to keep it canon-accurate, but they aren’t. At all. I really hoped they would make it in black-and-white, while gradually CGI-ing colors in, like the book does it, but it looks like they’re gonna take away that one piece of cinematographical beauty. *sad*

    • nevillegirl says:

      *sobs* Why oh why did they even make this a movie if I had known it would turn out this way I’d rather just not have a Giver movie.

      Yeah, the lack of CGI doesn’t make sense. They clearly used it for the hovercraft-thingies, but they can’t bother to do the same for the colors?
      *attempts to fix your sad with cute cuddly puppies*

      • I don’t even get the hovercraft-things. Why would they even be there? It’s not canon at all, and it’s making me twitch. It kind of seems like they’re taking a bunch of elements from the THG films, doesn’t it?

        (aw yes cute cuddly puppies! I could think of something else cute and cuddly I could use… /attempts to be subtle/ *cough*you*cough*)

    • nevillegirl says:

      (Whoops, didn’t see this until now!)

      Yeah. It seems like they’re trying to make everything stereotypically futuristic… the community didn’t even /have/ a lot of technology. They just had weird mind things that stopped feelings and colors.

      Ahaha. *snuggles*

  7. Cait says:

    At first I was worried…buuut, now I’m kind of coming to terms with it all. I mean, I would LOVE more than anything for movies to exactly follow the books (like as well as Catching Fire did), but I’m kind of tired about worrying about it. I know they’re going to mess it up, at least a little bit. I’m trying to tell myself that movies are just…fanfiction, really. It’s an interpretation or a retelling. But yeah, I’d totally love it if they got it RIGHT instead of added lib and all that…*cries quietly because Jonas should be 12* And why isn’t it in black and white???!

  8. Boquinha says:

    0:30 – The Giver just said, “The way things look, and the way things are, are very different.” Hey. Look. That describes my feelings about this trailer. This amuses me.


    What I do mind are unnecessary love stories – especially when the original book didn’t have one. Please don’t make The Giver the next YA-dystopian-with-romance thing.

    YES!! Drives me CRAZY. I don’t even like the Peeta-Katniss-Gale “love triange,” because to me, that was not *at all* a prominent part of the series. I hear people say “Team Peeta!” and “Team Gale!” and roll my eyes, because it’s hardly the crux of that story!! Katniss is trying to stay alive and save entire groups of people. I highly doubt the love triangle was at the forefront of her thoughts. Bah.

    0:53 – ”There is something that has been stolen.” Oh, I agree. It’s called accuracy to the book.



    AGREED! WHY do they do that?!? Be unique. Be true to your own story. Why be a copy-cat? That’s such a cop-out and so boring. One of the things I like about the Giver is that it had a different feel and look than the Hunger Games, so why, when it’s turned into a film, would I want to watch a HG copycat? I wouldn’t!

    1:10 – Why was Jonas just sucked in to a hovercraft-thingy? He doesn’t get captured. And the place where he ends up doesn’t have that kind of technology.


    1:15 – “Receive your destiny.” Mine will probably involve angry muttering in the theater.

    1:21 – “Based on the book by Lois Lowry.” Screenplay written by people who have never read it.

    ROTFL!! I am not sitting here laughing out loud and people are looking at me.

    GREAT review. Very fun read. Thank you!

    Oh, as for the Black and White vs. Color thing. Have any of you seen Pleasantville? It very much employs that device to illustrate what happens when new things are introduced to a uniform and very controlled society. Maybe they didn’t want to copy that? (Then why are they copying Hunger Games?). As if people are so stupid as to only like what they’ve recently seen. Geez. Respect our intelligence enough to challenge us more! Gah.

    • nevillegirl says:

      I am really, really sick of love triangles. Besides, they usually don’t even work properly – they’re just love angles. Isn’t a real love triangle when everyone in it is interested in the other two vertices? So with a mixed-gender love triangle like in THG (…if people are going to insist that there is one in THG) the characters would have to be bisexual or pansexual for it to work.

      Indeed. Dystopian stories have similarities to one another, but that doesn’t mean they’re EXACTLY THE SAME.

      Thank you for reading! 😀 I’m glad the post amused you.

      I haven’t seen Pleasantville, but in the comments of a post I wrote earlier about the movie, people mentioned it. And it seems silly that the same isn’t being done with The Giver.

  9. AgnesDomini says:

    The movie trailer reveals that it is almost NOTHING like the book, and that the film has been gussied up for Hollywood teen consumption; Jonas is chosen by the elders to be the next Giver in the book, and does not stumble upon the current one. His baby brother Gabriel not being euthanized by their own father is central to Jonas’ discovery of what is wrong with his surface society, but the film turns it into a teen romance and action flick, which seriously undercuts the emotional impact of the original text. I wonder what Lois Lawry (age 77 and now living in Hawaii) must think of the drastic changes to her work…

    • nevillegirl says:

      Well, I don’t think he /stumbled/ upon the current Giver. I think that scene showed him arriving at the Giver’s location after receiving his Assignment…

      But yes. I completely agree with the rest of your comment. It’s a good book for making one think. It’s not about action. It’s not about romance.

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  11. Sasifras says:

    I always thought Jonas was a blonde and everyone else was, except for Fiona of course and for some reason Jonas’ dad. I mean, does red hair look similar to brown to color blind people so that’s why? I can’t find anywhere in the books that says he has brown hair.
    The second trailer was better with black and white at last and though I agree with the pill nitpick, I will say I would take that as one of the worst things about the movie if they actually chose someone around twelve to play Jonas. The dude will be twenty-five when the movie comes out; he looks just as old as his parents. I know, they live in an ideal society were the elderly barely have wrinkles but come on. I know they say child actors suck but look at Ender’s Game. I’m not saying use the same kid but at least one of those kids in that movie could have done the job justice better than Mr. Can-drink.
    And did Rosemary have red hair? I can’t remember but I am much more willing to let that one go. In the second trailer, it is clear she is the one being released.
    I agree, they are riding on the current trend and anyone who reads the book afterwards will be utterly confused. I read it in the fourth grade and got more out of it than this movie seems to be offering. Mass audiences don’t need an embodiment of evil…

    • nevillegirl says:

      Yeah, I didn’t understand why Jonas’ actor is so much older than the character. The whole point is that Jonas is so young and up against so much.

      Yep, I believe she did have red hair.

  12. Charlee Remitz says:

    I JUST finished the Giver book and I have to say when I watched the trailer I was like umm is this even the same story? I thought the dude was twelve? Since when are twelve-year-olds that smoldering? Also since when do twelve-year-olds kiss so passionately? I LOLED when she said the best part of the trailer was the black screen because I totally agree hahaha

    • nevillegirl says:

      I know, right? I keep hoping and hoping and hoping that the movie adaptation will be good, because I love the book so much and I just don’t want to think about how badly messed up it’ll probably be.

      I think that in the movie, Jonas is sixteen. Idk why. *rolls her eyes*

      • Charlee Remitz says:

        Lol can we start a twitter account or something. Like he doesn’t even look sixteen. He looks like sex on a stick–not that that’s a bad thing. I like T-Swizzle in the movie though. I think she makes a good rosemary. Idk how I feel about the fact that Jonas could probably be in a relationship with Mother.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ehehe, that’s an… interesting… description of Jonas. 😛

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