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The Order of Oddfish


Worcester Prep’s 90-Second Newbery: 9 versions of The Giver (1994)

The sixth graders at Worcester Preparatory School in Berlin, MD did nine different 90-second versions of The Giver. What an overflow of creativity and hilarity! It was great fun to see how the different groups handled the text.

It was, er, particularly amusing―in a grisly way―to see how all the different videos deal with The Giver‘s infamous “baby-killing scene.” The student dispose of the baby with various amounts of, let us say, enthusiasm.

Anyway, everyone at Worcester Prep did a brilliant job. Let’s watch them all!

The boy playing the main character is a really good actor! I thought the way they handled the flashes of memories at beginning was particularly deft, especially using a first-person shooter to illustrate “war.” Some pretty funny line readings too, such as the humorous switch from panic-to-resigned-acceptance: “Now you need to run away.” “WHAAAT?! . . . okay.” The use of the paper airplane, with the subtitles and freeze-frame, was very resourceful and clever! Well done!

Another really good one. The actress playing the doctor really threw that baby into the garbage with great commitment and relish! I wouldn’t want to be her little brother or sister . . . Nice “Elsewhere, Gabe!” at the end.

Good, ambitious use of black-and-white vs. color. The main character looking at the camera and saying “They skipped me!” and “I’m excited but scared” was effective and amusing. I also liked the music cues punctuating the revelations. Riding down the ramp bellowing “elsewhere” in color was a great way to finish! Surprised how much of the plot they fit in there!

Good flash of black and white to color at the beginning. Chanting of “Jonas” was funny. As for bloopers: at the end of the “Gabe Look Out!” one, I actually flinched. I hope his head wasn’t hurt too horribly on that table . . . And as for their favorite blooper: this movie, like all good things, seems to have ended in pantslessness.

Weirdly conceptual! I liked the airplane special effect at the beginning. And the “Bonus Jonas” joke. I also appreciated the witty use of instant replay. What’s up with the squeaky voice at the end? I snorted with amusement at the delivery of the line “Aggggh . . . DYING.”

The reaction shot to “Jonas is the receiver of memories” was fun. As for the baby-killing scene―the shot above the eyes, then toss over the head, was the most gleeful baby-killing of the bunch! Nice change to color at the end.

Especially notable for the battlefield scene, like a tween version of All Quiet on the Western Front But, um, why is a cowboy the doctor . . . ? Then playing shuffleboard with the baby, zipping him back and forth? “O, that’s a nice shot there…” Maybe there’s some questions better left unanswered . . .

Yessss! I was waiting for a scene with fake blood! And I see what you did there: the Capri Sun product placement. Resourceful! How much did Kraft pay you for that?

Another good use of black-and-white to color. That was a particularly well-played family-at-the-table scene, especially the girl complaining that someone cut in front of her in line. During the fake battle scene, I liked the twitch of rigor mortis when the girl was laying “dead.”

I’m really impressed at the talent, dedication, and resourcefulness in these movies. Thanks again, Worcester Prep, for some wonderful 90-Second Newberys!