Like most readers of The Giver, I approached the movie with some trepidation. However, I had read somewhere Lois Lowry's advice to see the movie with an open mind (and not with an open copy of The Giver to spot the differences). So, I took my BH along with me (he has not read any of the books). I must tell you that the premier red carpet coverage was fun to watch. One of my tweets even made it to the stream. Here are some photos I took in the movie theater.
When the movie began, I fell into it as I had fallen all those years ago into the novel. I did not care that Jonas was older, that there was a love interest. I did not care at all because the heart and soul of the book was there on the screen in the actors' portrayal of the characters, in the exquisite cinematography, in the VISION so successful presented to the moviegoer. Even when I knew what was coming, I was on the edge of my seat. There were times I had to turn away (as Jonas did) because the sorrow was almost too much to bear. The black and white reinforced the SAMENESS. The flashes of color and then the gradual warming of colors as Jonas begins to receive the memories was perfect.
So, which is better? Oh, there is no right answer for that question for me. My first and then subsequent readings of the novel continue to elicit response from me every time I read a scene. But the movie evoked responses as well. And I love it for faithfully capturing its own vision of what the book could be visually. I love them both. I know I will want to read The Giver again now that I have seen the movie. I suspect the reading of the book will drive me back to the movie as well.
We know from research that one of the activities middle and high school kids find motivating is to see the movie and then read the book. I suspect we will see The Giver rocket back to the bestseller list once the movie opens nationwide.
One final note: there is a great deal of good stuff for educators at the Walden Media site for the movie: http://www.walden.com/.