Friday, August 22, 2014

YA Adaptation Duel

Today I went to see If I Stay. The Giver, based on the bestselling dystopian novel about twelve year olds that I read as a twelve year old, was playing down the hall. If I Stay stars seventeen year old Chloe Grace Moretz as seventeen year old Mia Hall. I haven't read the book, but the match is so spot on that I couldn't resist buying a ticket the day it came out. The Giver features twenty five year old Brenton Thwaites (and Taylor Swift in a brown wig).

I have mixed feelings here. I love seeing another YA novel hit the screen and draw both teen and adult viewers. But I can't get over the fact that Brenton Thwaites is twenty five. That means he's playing a character less than half his age. Daniel Radcliffe played a seventeen year old Harry at twenty five. Logan Leerman played twelve year old Percy Jackson at seventeen. The Lightning Thief received unanimous scorn from the fans. So this is the equivalent of watching Daniel Radcliffe play Logan Leerman play Percy Jackson. I've seen some egrergiously wide age gaps before, but never anything like this.
Chloe Grace Moretz is a welcome remedy to The Giver. She doesn't have to smear her face in makeup to make a youthful facade. She looks like a girl who could sit next to me in chemistry class, and that's because she is. You can't beat authenticity.
Maybe I'll see The Giver once it comes out on DVD. I loved the book and liked Odeya Rush, the seventeen year old actress who plays Fiona, in The Odd Life of Timothy Green. And I have to admit I'm intrigued by the idea of Taylor Swift acting.
The Giver was published sixteen years before Is I Stay, so it's had more time to gather fans, but they're both well known titles. Let's see which one wins in the box office games.

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