Ender’s Game: an amateur review

Saw Ender’s Game tonight because there are too many movies I’ve been wanting to see lately and while Gravity would have been my first choice, I knew Chris was likely enjoy the more action-oriented classic sci-fi flick. I’d heard mixed reviews from others who’ve read the book, but that it certainly wasn’t overtly bad. Then I was torn about the whole boycott: Orson Scott Card is a fucking douchebag and I don’t want to give him any money, but the combination of Lionsgate saying they wholeheartedly do not support his anti-LGBT views and plan to donate some proceeds to LGBT-oriented charity, that Ender’s Game in and of itself doesn’t perpetuate those hateful views in any way, and that unfortunately some people out there make it so to enjoy their art or craft you have to ignore them as a person had me deciding I could live with myself if I saw it. How many batshit or jackass actors or musicians do we know that are extremely talented at what they do, but horribly people? Yeah I try not to support them either if I can help it, but… I don’t know. You can like things while admitted that they are problematic, or the people behind them are problematic. Then again I don’t know. It’s generally accepted to love Michael Jackson’s music even though he was a supposed nutjob with questionable morals when it came to children. Mel Gibson’s widely known for the derogatory shit that he spews and you’re not looked down on for loving Braveheart, etc. Then again, everyone gags a little if you admit you bought a CD of Chris Brown’s. So who knows. I was TORN.

But Ender’s Game is one of my favorite classic science fiction novels that I read when young and it blew my small mind even though I didn’t understand any of the political aspects of the plot in 7th grade and always just wanted the story to get back to Ender and his games. I remember it was the first of the “classic scifi” that my parents handed me when I’d proven that I officially enjoyed the genre and reading and wanted MORE (but there were an overwhelming number of Star Wars books so mom, dad, help!) I read that, then Doorways in the Sand, which I hardly remember understanding at ALL, and then attempted the Chronicles of Amber and Dune, but didn’t quite make it through either before I went back to my Animorphs.

That disclaimer out of the way, my brief thoughts under the cut, because I’m pretty tired tonight and just want to crawl into bed with some Netflix – spoilers for anyone who’s not read the book, if you have I guess still spoilers for how main plot is handled, but not details? For anyone who hasn’t read the book, I’d say READ IT FIRST if you can manage. I’d say knowing what I did made me enjoy the movie more, even if it means I’m a bit pickier about it too. The emotions just pack such a bigger punch in the novel.

I made this blog to ramble about videogames WHY AM I TALKING ABOUT BOOKS SO MUCH LATELY?

Another disclaimer: I haven’t read the book since jr. high. I’m sure I’d be nitpickier if had, but having only the main notions and feelings I remember from the book may have helped me enjoy it too. Which, I did, more than I had anticipated! There were three main issues I had with it, but none of them were large enough to make me actually disappointed. The first was that it seemed pretty rushed but for pretty understandable reasons: there’s a lot of shit to get through and so his training was bam-bam-bam one thing to the next. I think he mentioned ONCE that it was taking “months” but otherwise you feel like it’s all gone by in the matter of 30 days or less. That also sort of led to my other bummer was that you didn’t get to know the characters and his friends anywhere near as well as in the books, but they made a valiant effort to give them an impact. Again, it just felt like a bit of a stretch because you weren’t feeling these kids getting to know each other over a longer period of time. Not sure if having that background let me appreciate the kids more than someone who hasn’t, though Chris didn’t seem to mind. The last and main disappointment for me, and again, kind of an understandable one, was that the big twist was definitely obvious well before it’s actually revealed. Telling the story beyond Ender’s point of view kind of meant that was going to happen though, and I’m a little surprised they didn’t reveal it earlier than they did because of that. It didn’t really hurt it for me, but Chris said he was not shocked at all, and that’s just so sad, cause to my little 7th grader brain, I remember the bombshell was my first real introduction to the science-fiction mind-fuck, and it’s a pity that people watching the movie first won’t have it hit them nearly as hard. Even if by now it’s not an unusual twist anyway.

I really liked the kid who played Ender, Harrison Ford was a fantastic Graff (as the typecast he’s got these days fits the character), and the visuals were of course, stunning. I really loved the designs of it all. Apparently there’s some criticism of the game graphics, but it’s CG within CG, not CG that’s supposed to fool us. And honestly, making the simulations at the end look so real is part of what gives it away, so they could have pushed that farther.

Oh also, the Peter & Valentine arc isn’t in there at all other than just establishing who they are to have shaped Ender. Which, like I said, I didn’t care for that line when I read the book as a kid, so I didn’t give a crap about that plot anyway, but for those who DID, you’ll miss it.

And that is my completely unqualified and uneducated point of view! Came out happy, enjoyed my time watching it, although I would have been content to wait to rent it too. Bedtime.

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  1. I might go ahead and redbox it when it comes out on DVD. I love love love the book in all its twisted racist homophobic xenophobic violent glory, and I actually love the political aspects of it, too. I can’t imagine it without the bombshell at the end! I’ve read it about 3 or 4 times over the years and so I think I’m just set up to dislike the movie. I just feel like they’re going to strip all the interesting and controversial bits out of it, and tone down all the violence that shows us just how fucked up and damaged Ender really is.

    All that to say, SCREW Ender’s Game, I’m seeing Thor 2 tonight 😀

    Also, I LOVE that you’re posting about books, but duh. It’s me. Also, you should read Across the Universe by Beth Revis (no relation to the Beatles song or the movie) and tell me what you think. It’s a sci fi/murder mystery/romance. I have conflicted feelings about that trilogy and want to talk to someoneeeeeeeeeee.

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