Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ender's Game: A Movie Review from a Die-Hard Fan of the Book

Warning: If you want to see the movie, don't read this post.

As the title of this blog post has established, I absolutely LOVE the book Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.  I read it in 6th grade and it has been one of my favorite books ever since.
The movie came out last week, and since my friend Jacob had just finished reading the book (after I had been telling him to read it for about four or five years), we decided to go see it. Let me just say that the movie made me really angry.
I understand that movies have to take some liberties in comparison with the book. Obviously, you have to cut some stuff out, and I don't think it's a horrible thing to add a couple of meaningful and necessary scenes. The thing that irritated me most about this movie is the fact that it lost the whole tone and feel of the book.
There was no character development at all. You don't feel Ender's personality. You don't understand his internal conflict about becoming another version of his brother, Peter (Peter only showed up in one scene and that wasn't enough to establish his ferocity and ruthlessness), and thus it's harder to understand what is actually going through his head. When he starts to play the Giant's Drink game, the game takes so much mental capacity and is so psychological that it's hard to establish that in a movie setting. Also, you don't feel Ender's isolation in the movie at all. It seems as if he is a brilliant Launchee that people don't like just because he's Graff's favorite. That's not the case. The script doesn't take time to establish the sheer size of the battle school in order to point out that Ender is isolated. You don't feel Ender's personality at all, which was such a shame. As for the other characters, they didn't get enough time in the movie to establish their personalities. They seemed to happy. Why were they smiling? I'm pretty sure that if I was going through battle school, I wouldn't be smiling. I would be stressed 24/7.
Another major problem that I had with the movie was that it wasn't tactical. There were only two battle room scenes, which really upset me. I think the battle room set was really well done. It looked amazing and it was such a shame that only two battles took place. There was no buildup. There was no drama surrounding the success of the Dragon army. There was no discussion of strategy. These are all MAJOR parts in the book that should have been in the movie. Instead, the battle scenes were too short and made it seem like success was simple. I didn't like that.
Let's talk Mazer Rackham. WHAT WAS WITH HIM  BEING A SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD. It is not okay. Ender is the original Speaker for the Dead. He wrote The Hive Queen and the Hegemon and then started going about the other planets and speaking for other people. Why was Mazer Rackham established as a Speaker for the Dead? That's just not necessary and it didn't even have to do with anything in the plot of the movie.
Also, Ender and Petra. This was a thing that I suspected would happen. Let's not forget that in the book, the characters start at battle school when they are about five and Ender goes to command school when he is 10. They're too young to like each other!!! From the moment Petra came into the movie I was extremely upset. It was just so unnecessary. There was no point to it. It was an unnecessary romantic subplot that shouldn't have happened.
Something that I wish had been in the book was Locke and Demosthenes. I think this part of the book was extremely interesting. When I read it in 6th grade, I think I was a little young to really understand how political it was, but it was so fascinating when I reread it because it shows how smart Valentine and Peter really are. I really think that Ender's siblings needed to play a larger part in the movie not only to bring out Ender's fear of Peter, but to open discussion about the state of the Earth at that time.
Also something that really annoyed me was the fact that everyone called the buggers the "formics," which after looking it up, is apparently the more technical term for buggers. But in the book they called it buggers and everyone in the Enderverse calls them buggers so WHY NOT call them buggers? It's little changes like that that don't add anything to the movie that really bother me.
One thing that I did like were the special effects. I think that the graphics for the Giant's Drink were really well done and the battle room was pretty good as well.
So, I think you've gotten the vibe that I didn't like this movie. I knew that I was going to be disappointed in it and I gave it a chance. But it failed. I'm really disappointed too because I love the book. I love Ender's Shadow and Speaker for the Dead. But the movie lost the whole tone of the books, and I think (at least if I were the author of a book that was being turned into a movie), the tone is something that should be the first thing to be preserved.
I hope I don't sound to angry in this post. I personally don't think you should see this movie. Unless you want to be in a bad mood, then you should immediately rush to the movie theater and watch it.