Master Oscar players Bob and Harvey Weinstein rarely invest tens of millions of dollars in movies with little awards appeal, but “The Giver” is not your run-of-the-mill dystopian sci-fi gamble. Its blockbuster potential is huge, given the source material, a Lois Lowry-written young adult bestseller with a following in pretty much the same ballpark as “Hunger Games” or “Divergent.”
And while The Weinsteins seem to have altered the film’s basis greatly, targeting a more mature audience than the novel centered on a 12-year-old boy, the premise is just as intriguing and meaty, and the cast… boy oh boy, does the cast look terrific.
Jeff Bridges takes on the titular-yet-not-leading role of “The Giver”, channeling a wise, “colorful” The Dude in a grey world devoid of pain, conflict, sickness… and passion, Meryl Streep is the big baddie (Chief Elder), a Miranda Priestly-like antihero with the fashion sense of Andy Sachs, Alexander Skarsgard and Katie Holmes are… in there too, and Brenton Thwaites, the “Maleficent” prince, is just the right amount of charming and ingenuous to sweep teenage girls bored of Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth off their feet.
Of course, this thing’s 2014 opening, which is only one year after comparable dystopian sci-fi flicks “Oblivion” and “Elysium”, doesn’t exactly help its cause. Nor does the release timing hot on the heels of “Guardians of the Galaxy” and directly against “The Expendables 3”. But the trailer below is compelling, the marketing campaign is off to a good start, and all in all, “The Giver” has the distinct scent of a smash hit. Who’s with me?