Double Bill Reviews: The Giver(2014) and The Maze Runner(2014)

Another two films based on YA fictions, as if there aren’t enough of them already. The Giver by Lois Lowry probably was the first “Young Adult” novel of this genre. Unfortunately, its adapted screenplay was twenty years too late, making it looked more like a copycat of others, instead the opposite is true. Hence, when watching subsequent films the likes of The Hunger Games(2014), Divergent (2014), Ender’s Game(2013),…déjà vu will be as unalarming as having vanilla ice cream: not another four factions with highbrow names. While most take place in some dystopian world, magic kingdom, or human space-station, The Giver presents first a utopia world of harmony, but gradually turns to be the opposite: another one of dystopian worlds.


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The Giver (2014) rights was purchased by Jeff Bridges some time ago, and finally the film came out but ended up competing with other YA films shown that year. The younger actors were mostly unknown, but the adult’s include some big names: Meryl StreepJeff BridgesAlexander Skarsgård, and Katie Holmes. In this version of a utopia turns dystopian world, everyone is equal, and everyone must address the others with an apology first likens a Hello. There are words that no longer used or allowed to speak; most of them are expressions of feeling and emotions. If spoken, the mom will say, “Precise language, please!”.

Streep is the chief elder, and she performs an annual ceremony for the graduates, junior and senior, where the graduating senior’s life paths are chosen, while the juniors get their own bikes. Fiona(Odeya Rush) becomes a nursing mother, Asher(Cameron Monaghan) destined as a flight pilot. Best friend  for both is Jonas(Cameron Monaghan) the Receiver of knowledge, and Jeff Bridges is the Giver (I got a chuckle, yet respectfully, because of their colloquial connotations). In other words, Jonas is the only one who has this job. The idea is that the Giver will pass all his knowledge to the Receiver, and so it goes. As expected, a teenager full of his own ideas wrecks havoc of an otherwise tranquil world of politeness. It confirms it really only takes one to ruin for all.

SKIP… if made ten years ago, it might have been a good film, but not in 2014.



At the beginning of The Maze Runner(2014), I was going, “Oh, boy! I know the lines before they speak them…that can’t be good”. Sure thing, the rebellious, arrogant, know-it-all, why-why-why, curious Thomas(Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in an elevator steel cage called the Box. Disoriented after being carried out, the leader of the group, Alby(Aml Ameen), introduces him to his new communal life, where everyone has to pitch in. The bully, Gally(Will Poulter), just doesn’t like Thomas. Chuck(Blake Cooper), the scenes stealer, becomes Thomas best friend. So, this group of young males lives in an open village surrounded by forests and behind them are tall enclosed walls. A narrow slit opens up leading to a pathway every morning. The runners of the group are to run inside and explore, its leader is Minho(Ki Hong Lee). They are the elite group among others. 

In fact, the whole thing is a maze, which changes everyday. The challenge is to come back out before night time, cause no one has survived after dark being inside. Rebellious Thomas wants to find a way out of this commune (maybe because there is no girls?) … anyway, he enters the Maze and survives. In fact he kills a bio-mechanical spider looking thingy, while saving Alby out to the village.

The new crowned hero creates two factions: leave or stay. Suddenly a girl shows up in the Box with a note saying she is the last one, which means they will have no more food and supplies. Teresa(Kaya Scodelario) mumbles,”Thomas..” while still inside the cage.  

This is when it gets interesting! Let’s say the cliffhanger redeems my earlier disappointment.

I will like to see the sequel, cause I wanna know how the story unfolds, which I am still thinking why the experiment?

WATCH… be patient, it will get better.



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