So we’ve talked about Enders Game and its sequels/prequels, today we’ll talk about the movie!! I am a big Ender fan, I’ve read all of the books well almost all I’m halfway through the newest one. I’ve read the comic books that have been released. I’ve read the short stories that have been published in various books. I have been hesitant and nervous about this movie since I first heard it was being made. As a big book fan having seen other books made into movies, some really good adaptations like Interview with the Vampire and Hunger Games, and some simply just ok like Bridge to Terabithia, and others totally atrocious like Tuck Everlasting, I worry about how it will be handled.
Orson Scott Card being involved in the making of the movie eased my fear somewhat, after all I think Anne Rice writing the screenplay for Interview is part of what made it such a good adaptation. The trailers for Enders showed me some things had been changed but they were for the most part things that were minor and I could deal with.
Then the movie came out. I have several friends who went to see it either opening night or that weekend. They came back with good reports. So I was excited to go see it finally. Most of the movie I liked, then there were the parts I didn’t, oh boy were there parts I didn’t like!
Let me start by saying I’d give this movie a B or 4 out of 5 stars, overall it was a good adaptation things were left out that I didn’t miss. Changes were made and some were good choices, some were logistical choices, and some were well facepalm. However, I would say if you enjoyed the book go see the movie if you haven’t yet. Now SPOILER ALERT if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book the rest of this post will give details you may not want to read. You have been warned!!
Ok so I’m a detail person when it comes to movies. I haven’t always been that way I blame it partly on my husband who picks up small details and partly on my brother-in-law who is big into movies watching and making and is also a big person for small details. Through the years my husband and I have gone from leaving movies and saying simply it was good or it was bad to saying it was good but… or it was bad and… This was no exception.
I’ve read the book several times so little things jumped out at me. The change in Ender’s age to begin with though it’s never actually said in the movie is clearly older than the book and the movie seems to occur in much much less time than the book. Ok I get both of these changes, there are a whole lot of people who would object to six year old children being sent to space to become soldiers. It would also be a logistical nightmare I’m sure to either cast each character several times at different ages or to age them on the computer. The change to Ender being in a military school was a bit strange but I suppose makes sense, if all of the Battle School recruits are coming from that type of school it explains their knowledge of standing at attention and at ease when they first get there.
Ender beating Stilson with a…I don’t even know what it was rather than just by hand bothered me but the end result is the same so ok. It is clear in the movie that they are moving Ender up through the ranks at the school quickly, I just wish it had been emphasized more exactly how quickly how much faster than anyone else. My first big UGH moment was when Ender was transferred to Salamander army and meets Bonzo. I just remember my jaw dropping, that was a definite *facepalm* moment. For those that have read the book you know that Ender is in more than one army before getting his own. In the movie it is just Salamander and to that end they seem to have combined the characters of Bonzo and Rose the Nose into one. It annoyed me! The biggest problem I had and my husband had was that Ender towers over Bonzo when it is supposed to be the exact opposite leading up to the shower room fight scene. Actually in the movie on the whole I missed Ender being the youngest and smallest well other than Bean that is. By the way one other small change Bean is in Ender’s launchy group again neither here nor there and though he is small he is not as tiny as I would have liked.
The battle room scenes are cool! I wish there had been more, especially when showing Dragon. I wish they had shown somehow the crazy schedule of battles for Dragon and shown Ender beginning to wear down. We did get the “enemy’s gate is down” and Bean using the line in the battle became almost an inside joke with the members of the audience who had read the book. The scene with Val back on Earth is good. The utter lack of the Peter and Val Earthside sub-plot didn’t bother me at all, I didn’t miss it. It does limit the sequel options but maybe they don’t plan on sequels.
Command school is on Eros an asteroid not a planet! Ok over it, I really loved the way they show the planet carved out the way the Formics would have made it! Mazer was good, Kingsley was a great choice as was Harrison Ford for Graff. The simulator was amazing, I loved that Ender and the others could see the battle in progress in 3D around them. I never pictured it that way when reading but it was awesome! The final battle was changed by using the Dr twice obviously to build suspense which worked for me because I always felt that the battle in the book was almost anticlimactic.
The battle ends and here’s where my rating went from A to A-, then B+, then B. Can we start with the kids celebrating but not the adults as in the book? Then Ender being livid about being tricked not because of the human lives he might have spared as in the book but because he killed an entire species. In the book he is pissed off about both almost equally but in the movie it seems that the pilots/soldiers are merely an afterthought as in “OMG you tricked me into killing and entire species, people will hate me forever, I’m a horrible awful person, you made me that way, oh and yeah what about all the soldiers that died, but the Formics I killed them all.” It just seemed so lopsided to me compared to the book, but maybe that’s due to the way I personally read the book. Then oh then is when he takes off outside to the ruins on the planet and finds the egg of a queen yes this is in the book but it’s on a whole other planet and two or three years later! Not only does he find an egg but a hive queen, at first I thought and hoped and prayed that it was a hallucination caused by the mind to mind communication of the Formics but no she was real. She managed to hide herself and her living egg on the planet that humans have been on for who knows how long without any detection, she managed to stay alive all this time without any workers to care for her. Ok I’m going to stop now before I really get wound up over it.
Final thoughts, I did enjoy this movie. I will watch it again though I may stop it right after the final battle. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there are some deleted battle room scenes. Again if you haven’t seen it and like the books go see it just be prepared for the changes!!