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Movie Review: Ender's Game 732

Posted by Soulskill
from the enemy's-gate-is-down dept.
Ender's Game is the quintessential classic military sci-fi book. It ranks near the top of virtually every list of good sci-fi novels. When Hollywood decided to finally go forward with a movie adaptation, the initial reaction from most fans was one of skepticism. (After all, we saw what they did to I, Robot.) But there was reason to hope, as well, because Ender's Game is more action-friendly than many sci-fi stories, and the filmmakers had a big budget with which to make it. The movie was finally released last week; read on for our review. In short: the film tries too hard to straddle the line between assuming viewers are familiar with the details and bringing new viewers up to speed. The cuts to the story were both too much and not enough. It left us with only brief glimpses at too many characters, and introduced themes without fleshing them out enough to be interesting.

Note: in the lead-up to this film's release, a boycott was organized in response to Orson Scott Card's efforts as an anti-gay-marriage activist. If you find your desire to see one of your favorite stories clashing with a desire not to support Card's political views, an organization called the Equality Initiative has offered an alternative. They suggest going to see the movie, if you want, and then simply donating the ticket price to any of several related charities.

First, let's get the obvious out of the way: they cut a lot from the novel. Really, quite a lot. As a book, Ender's Game is not terribly long, and it's a very quick read. That makes it sound ideal for a movie interpretation at first blush. But part of the reason it's such a quick read is that it's dense with plot, character development, and internal narratives. The movie is dense as well, but mostly with events. What makes the book great is not so much what the characters do, but why they do it and how. So while the movie conveys the majority of what happened in the book, it fails to convey the reasons behind the facts. I don't know that they could have done any better within a two-hour time limit, but it leaves us with a question: is this film for people who have read the book, or for people who haven't?

Since the book has been out since 1985, I'm going to assume most of you are familiar with the story. I won't reveal the major plot twists, but minor and intermediate spoilers may follow. If you aren't familiar with it, then here's the bottom line: go read the book! It's good.

Right from the beginning we see how deep the cuts go. Central to Ender's time at home is the whirlwind of conflicting emotions running through him about his monitor, his family, and his status as a Third. The film rushes through these, hitting each only briefly enough to show the viewer that there exists something deeper. Ender mentions being a Third, but doesn't explain what a Third is, or why it's a point of shame and embarrassment. They introduce Peter, but fail to show that their relationship is more complex than your typical sibling rivalry. In the book, Peter is brilliant, sadistic, intuitive, and a hell of an actor when adults are around. In the movie, he's just a jerk for a few seconds before Ender rockets off toward the plot.

Even Ender's early fight with Stilson loses much of its impact. In the book, it really isn't much of a fight; Ender immediately has Stilson at his mercy. The point of the scene was to show Ender's deliberate use of brutality and intimidation to secure safety from the larger group of enemies. He's reluctant, but not hesitant. In the movie, this is distilled down to a command for Stilson to "stay down" before the fight has concluded and a shaky warning to the others.

So, even just 10 minutes into the film, we see the film is not taking the time to illustrate these characters to a new audience. That trend continues: most of the minor characters are cardboard cutouts of their literary counterparts. Bean is somehow in the same initial launch group as Ender, and simply serves as an ally. Peter and Valentine just serve as occasional spurs for Ender's development. (Yes, that means the entire secondary plot was scrapped. I'm not too sad about that; there's no way they could have given it enough time to do it justice. And it was always the least believable thing, for me, in a novel about space battles and insectoid aliens.) Alai makes mention of peace, but he doesn't have a role as a peacemaker. The contrast between his connection with Ender and the constant violence surrounding them is lost. Petra has more interaction with Ender than most, but it has some bizarre romantic overtones.

Well, then, what about the scenery? If the movie is for fans of the book, it should at least be awesome to see expensive CGI of the scenes we imagined in our heads when reading it, right? And it is.. sometimes. The space battle sequences are impressive, and seeing the students fly around in zero-g was neat. But it was also jarring, at times. Take the Battleroom at the school, for example. In my head, it was an approximation of space, with a dark background interrupted only by the simple "stars" and the gates. In the movie, there's an awful lot going on, visually. The walls are windows dominated by a view of Earth. Everything's polished and shiny. The light pistols shoot bright, Star-Wars-like laser bolts that flash dramatically when they hit something. All the ships in the battlefleet look fancy and brand new, instead of hastily constructed and out of date. Ender's interface in command school is far more graphical and pretty than is sensible. It's cool to see, and I suspect viewers who are unfamiliar with the book won't think twice about it. But it's clear that this interpretation is not straining to be as faithful to the book as possible, which is mildly disappointing.

The movie's acting was decent. There won't be any Oscar nominations, but they didn't have a whole lot to work with. As I mentioned earlier, most characters had their subtleties stripped away. Asa Butterfield does a respectable job with Ender, using glances and body language to supplement some of the situations where the story was simplified from an internal narrative. The casting director definitely made the right decision going with kids in their early teens rather than the much-younger ages from the book. Harrison Ford played Graff well enough, but it'd be more accurate to say he played Harrison Ford. If you tend to like his characters, you'll enjoy the role. If not, you might like Viola Davis, who played a surprisingly good Major Anderson. Those two characters were tweaked a bit in order to separate out their conflicting emotions about training Ender, and they pull it off. Ben Kingsley does a fine job in his abbreviated role as Ender's adversarial mentor.

A few other random notes:

  • They gave up the biggest plot twist ahead of time; there were at least two obvious references to what was going to happen. Ender is kept in the dark, but the audience is not, which is too bad for new viewers.
  • The fantasy game was represented pretty well. Like most other plot elements, it was stripped down to its essentials, but I was surprised by how well they integrated it into the story. I was expecting it to be cut altogether.
  • Due to the trimming and simplifying of the story, the movie's dialogue was largely original. It mostly paraphrased the book. However, they occasionally threw in direct quotes from some of the more stylized lines. It happened infrequently enough that it broke immersion.

It's inevitable that a successful book won't fit within the confines of a movie script. We knew this going in. Nevertheless, some adaptations have succeeded by being as faithful as possible to the ideas behind the book. Ender's Game doesn't manage this. Other adaptations have been successful by reimagining the work for a new medium, thus drawing in new fans. Ender's Game doesn't quite manage this, either. It straddles the line, and in doing so, leaves us with a sequence of events that seems entirely arbitrary, when it should instead seem inevitable. If you're thrilled about the possibility of seeing expensive CGI for one of your favorite stories, go see it. Otherwise, give it a pass.

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Movie Review: Ender's Game

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  • by Russ1642 (1087959) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:44PM (#45348101)

    Hopefully they can make it as good as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. That movie was excellent.

    • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:05PM (#45348339)
      Agreed. Hitchhiker's Guide was almost as good as Matrix Revolutions or Alien Resurrection.
    • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:43PM (#45348767)

      Ok, I've got to stop you there. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy basically had nothing to do with the books, there's no way it could. But it WAS funny... I was crying with laughter in different parts of that movie. Was it an accurate rendition of the book? No... but even my wife, who'd never read the books and hates that sort of thing thought it was hilarious.

      • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @05:22PM (#45349289) Journal

        I hate reviews by people who read the book. Even if they mostly followed the spirit of the book, including major "WOW" moments, people still get bogged down bitching about this or that missing or changed detail.

        I saw The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo first (US version), and it was awesome. And the book was, too. I am holding off reading the second book until the movie because you can only see the story first once, and I want that to be the movie.

        Dune is perhaps a better example. I saw that as the movie first (Picard version, not tv one) and it was magnificent. It had tremendous, epic scope and science fiction feel. The only bad part were minor things like the worms with people riding looked cheap (otherwise worm scenes were grand) and the Emperor being involved gunning at the end seemed stupid and small as an operation.

        Later read the whole series, felt no rage at differences.

        A movie is something like 50 pages of a book -- a lot must be consolidated and eliminated or glossed over, while still maintaining the feel and "WOW" moments that made the book stand out.

        Oh Baron Harkonen, what a magnificent fucking pig you were!

      • by GonzoPhysicist (1231558) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @05:32PM (#45349451)
        But the books aren't even the original story, the radio program was. That's one of the best things about H2G2, in each of it's incarnations it starts the same way but the plot eventually diverges.
        • by DaveAtFraud (460127) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @06:33PM (#45350221) Homepage Journal

          If you hadn't pointed this out, I was going to. Actually, I think HHGG did a great job of optimally hitting each media it was released in. The radio show was a good radio show but had to do things differently than the TV show which ws a good TV show but did things differently than the print version which was a hilarious read but did things differently than the movie which wasn't bad considering all of the legacy media versions that were released before the movie. Each presentation followed the same basic plot but added or subtracted depending on the limitations and capabilities of the media.

          Bottom line: different media require different approaches to telling the same story. I prefer books because the only limitations to what is coveyed are the author's ability to tell the story and the reader's ability to imagine it. Visual media tries to make up for this with spectactular special effects and is usually found wanting for real substance. I'd much rather know what's going on in the protagonist's head then see yet another CGI explosion. Oddly, radio seemed to recognize the limitations of audio only and not attempt to overcompensate.

          Cheers,
          Dave

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by westlake (615356)

        Ok, I've got to stop you there. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy basically had nothing to do with the books, there's no way it could.

        The story has never been cast in stone.

        Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978, later it was adapted to other formats, and over several years it gradually became an international multi-media phenomenon. Adaptations have included stage shows, a "trilogy" of five books published between 1979 and 1992, a sixth novel penned by Eoin Colfer in 2009, a 1981 TV series, a 1984 computer game, and three series of three-part comic book adaptations of the first three novels published by DC Comics between 1993 and 1996. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [wikipedia.org]

  • by metrix007 (200091) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:47PM (#45348123)

    Firstly, homophobic is a ridiculous word -- inaccurate as hell. You can be against homosexuality (generally due to religious beliefs) and not have a phobia about it.

    Secondly, it's a shame so many people will reject this movie because the author doesn't share their views or beliefs. Separating art from the creator is all too often a very important skill, that too many people lack.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:52PM (#45348173)

      Fine, what term would you use? Gay hating? And what about his racist views?

      And as far as rejecting this movie, this is a wise move. If this movie fails, then he won't get additional money from film rights on the sequels. This will reduce the amount of money that he has to donate to organizations that are designed to deprive citizens of their civil rights.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by intermodal (534361)

        Why does hate for others have to enter into it?

        Christ taught that we should love our neighbours as ourselves, but also told sinners to stop doing so. As one who professes to be a Christian, Card has every right to regard sins as sins without hating anyone over it.

        • There's only two things it is socially acceptable to judge people for in present society: Smoking, and judging people for things, including those in this list.
        • Back in the day, Card has openly supported sodomy laws, and lamented at their demise. Those go way beyond "telling sinners to stop doing so".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Yosho (135835)

          Why does hate for others have to enter into it?

          The "hate the sinner, not the sin" mentality is one of the biggest pieces of cognitive dissonance affecting modern Christianity. A person's sexuality is an integral part of their self; it is as much a part of them as the color of their skin. When you tell somebody "homosexuality is a sin," what you are actually saying to them is, "You are fundamentally wrong and deserve to be tortured eternally because of who you fall in love with. I believe society should oppress you and not allow you to have the same f

          • The "hate the sinner, not the sin" mentality...

            It's typically phrased "love the sinner, hate the sin", but given the context of your comment, I think you simply accidentally wrote "hate" instead of "love".

            A person's sexuality is an integral part of their self; it is as much a part of them as the color of their skin.

            The problem is that they don't see it that way. I'm sure you're aware that plenty of them (not all, of course) believe that homosexuality is a choice. In that way, "being gay" is as unnatural as dyeing your hair sky blue; it's a conscious deviation from what's "normal".

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by intermodal (534361)

      The true irony is that they are being intolerant in the name of tolerance.

    • by fightinfilipino (1449273) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:56PM (#45348211) Homepage

      it's not about separating art from the creator, it's about not giving money or publicity to someone who still actively fights against equality. Card was on the board of the National Organization for Marriage and is still (afaik) a member.

      quite bluntly, i don't want to give him any of my money, because that money is being used to deny human rights to millions of people merely because they love someone of the same gender.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:57PM (#45348219)

      It's not Card's beliefs, it's his desire to force them on others that's offensive. Anyone should be free to practice their religion, as long as its not destructive or doesn't interfere with the freedom of others to live as they see fit.

      I've read the series and found it quite entertaining and provocative (especially Speaker for the Dead), but I'm not inclined to feed the coffers that will facilitate an anti-gay agenda of the sort Card promotes.

    • by swimboy (30943) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:02PM (#45348303)

      First off, why be so pedantic about the word homophobia?I don't see you or anyone else complaining that the word hydrophobia doesn't mean that someone has a phobia about water, it just means that their throat is becoming paralyzed and it's becoming difficult to drink. There are lots of words in the English language that don't mean exactly what you'd think they mean by comparing them to other words.

      Second off, the people boycotting this movie don't just think that OSC doesn't share their views or beliefs. He's gone on the record saying some outrageous things about LGBT people, not the least of which is claiming that homosexuality should be made a felony, and concentration camps should be set up to imprison them. Even the National Organization for Marriage, an extremely anti-gay organization, has tried to distance themselves from him, and he used to be a prominent member of their board of directors.

      I have no difficulty separating art from the creator. I *loved* reading Ender's Game, it was a brilliant book. But I can't abide putting one cent into OSC's pocket no matter how much I may want to see it, and if I had known at the time what kind of person OSC was, I never would have purchased any of his books either.

      • by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @05:35PM (#45349483)

        First off, why be so pedantic about the word homophobia?I don't see you or anyone else complaining that the word hydrophobia doesn't mean that someone has a phobia about water, it just means that their throat is becoming paralyzed and it's becoming difficult to drink. There are lots of words in the English language that don't mean exactly what you'd think they mean by comparing them to other words.

        Because the word isn't an innocuous curiosity of linguistic evolution; it's a deliberate construction of language to intended to manipulate people by controlling the words they use to communicate. Same as the current shifting of the word "terrorist" to mean "someone the government doesn't like", and a whole bunch of other examples.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mjwx (966435)

      Firstly, homophobic is a ridiculous word -- inaccurate as hell. You can be against homosexuality (generally due to religious beliefs) and not have a phobia about it.

      You're right, but not for the reason you stated.

      Homophobia is a ridiculous word simply because it's not a phobia. It's just someone being an arrogant jerk because of something they dont like.

      If you're a straight male (such as me) how does homosexuality or homosexual people actually affect you? Well they dont, if you're straight and dont like gays it's extremely easy to avoid them.

      Personally I cant give two shits about whether someone is gay or not, the more sensitive ones have confused this with hom

      • If you're a straight male (such as me) how does homosexuality or homosexual people actually affect you? Well they dont, if you're straight and dont like gays it's extremely easy to avoid them.

        Unless you're a cake decorator or wedding photographer, in which case you can go to jail for trying to avoid them.

        BTW, you shouldn't separate the art from the creator because to do so removes a lot of the meaning from the work. Its like saying we should never consider why an artist painted what they did and only accept that they did paint it.

        That's an interesting point, however what does Ender's Game have to do with homosexuality? Not every facet of the creator is relevant to every artwork he produces. I read Ender's Game in total ignorance of anything whatsoever about the author, and found the book interesting and entertaining regardless. I experience all sorts of visual arts without knowing the context of the artist's productio

  • by js3 (319268) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @03:55PM (#45348207)

    Ender's Game is all about being in Ender's world, you are in his head you experience things the way he see and experiences it. That's why the ending of the book was shockingly good.

    However this is difficult to translate into a movie especially with the Captain American/Iron Man style they chose to make it in.

  • Some disgreement (Score:4, Informative)

    by mcmonkey (96054) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:04PM (#45348325) Homepage

    go read the book! It's good.

    If you're a teenager (or younger), yes, give it a read. If you're an adult, meh. There are worse ways to pass a rainy afternoon, but it's not a must read. It's young-adult fiction that does not hold up well for adults.

    As for the movie, this is rare movie I thought could be longer. You get one hit of every major plot point--one fight with the bully in the first school, one interaction with Peter, one training battle with each team, etc.

    What gets lost is why Ender thinks the way he does. In the movie, he's just born this tactical prodigy. In the book, he's a gifted kid, but we get to see how he learns to use those gifts.

    And I didn't think the give-away for the final twist was that bad. Over all, I left not feeling angry for the money spent.

  • by invid (163714) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:06PM (#45348351) Homepage

    Ender's Game is the quintessential classic military sci-fi book.

    I have to disagree with that quote. Ender's Game is an anti-war book. If you want the quintessential classic military sci-fi book, read Starship Troopers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Would you like to know more [wikipedia.org]?

    • by chill (34294) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:45PM (#45348795) Journal

      If you want the quintessential classic military sci-fi book, read Starship Troopers.

      But DON'T watch the movie. Nothing but a T&A gore fest that had little to nothing to do with the book, other than insects waging space war.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @05:45PM (#45349627)

        Starship Troopers the movie is a parody of WWII propaganda films. The plastic characters and ultra-violence is Verhoeven making fun of exactly what you loathe. Watch the movie again with the director & writer's (same team as RoboCop) commentary for a better understanding. It really is a brilliant movie, though you're right about it having little to do with the book.

    • by Valdrax (32670) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:49PM (#45348863)

      I have to disagree with that quote. Ender's Game is an anti-war book.

      Since when do you have to think war is awesome for something to be quintessential classic military science fiction? "The Forever War" by Joe Haldeman is widely considered one of the greatest military science fiction books ever written and (outside of those who sneer reflexively as science fiction) one of the best antiwar novels ever written. If you haven't read it, then you really must. It well deserves its impressive list of awards.

      (There's also the newer (and excellent) "Old Man's War" series by John Scalzi. As the series progresses, it can hardly be considered pro-war, but it is still excellent military science fiction.)

      "Ender's Game" is very much about the hard choices that governments have to make in a time of existential crisis and how they frequently push off the responsibility for those choices on those executing them. It's about what kind person makes the best warrior when a society decides to clinically set out and create one from birth. It's about the cost of war. It's about diplomacy and the inevitability of conflict when two sides cannot understand the others. It's about the tension between necessity and morality.

      If you don't think that's classically military fiction, then you must only have a shallow, spectator's mentality about war. War is hell, not a Sunday outing. I respect authors who show the costs along with the victories far more than the Teddy Roosevelt-esque rose-tinted take.

      • by invid (163714) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @05:18PM (#45349239) Homepage
        Ender's Game is a fanciful allegory, a forced, fictional situation someone would come up with in a classroom in order to made some sort of philosophical point about ethics. I personally wasn't in the military, but a good friend of mine was in Special Forces, and everyone in his unit read Starship Troopers and would quote from it and even use its terminology in the performance of their profession. Ender's Game is as much about war as Swordfish is about hacking.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:09PM (#45348375) Homepage

    First off, they paid for Harrison Ford, so they had to let him talk too much. In the book, Col. Graff doesn't say much. Also, Graff with his little aluminum thingie on his hand pulling in the kids in the battle room ("Use the force, Ford!") doesn't fit with the rest of the movie. Nowhere else do they have gravity control or tractor beams. Or magic.

    We don't see much of Ender's development as a tactician. Ender is presented more as the Chosen One than the one who claws his way up to be the best. There's a flavor of M. Night Shyamalan ("The Last Airbender" and other overproduced turkeys) here.

    As is typical of space battle scenes in movies today, the CG effects are great and the tactics are wrong. Battles are in way too tight a space, and everything is turning too tight and going too slowly. It's the George Lucas WWII biplane school of space battle. Big tactical idea: line up all the little ships as armor around the big unarmored ones. That dates back to the Roman legions, and went out when machine guns were developed.

    • First off, they paid for Harrison Ford, so they had to let him talk too much. In the book, Col. Graff doesn't say much. Also, Graff with his little aluminum thingie on his hand pulling in the kids in the battle room ("Use the force, Ford!") doesn't fit with the rest of the movie. Nowhere else do they have gravity control or tractor beams.

      Haven't seen the movie, so can't comment on that scene. But the teachers in the book had "hooks" that let them move through zero-g without having to care manoeuvring like the kids (Ender comments that when he finally gets his own hook, he has ceased to need it, as manoeuvring in zero-g has become second nature for him) and they definitely do have gravity control (Ender mentions it - to Bean I think - when discussing how the battle rooms can maintain zero-g when still attached to the rotating space station,

  • by rotor (82928) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:11PM (#45348405) Homepage

    I thoroughly enjoyed the movie version of Ender's Game, but agree wholeheartedly with the reviewer's take on what succeeded and what failed. In fact, I probably enjoyed it so much because I expected much less. The glaring failures were all necessary to make a successful movie, but they still managed to indicate the most important philosophical points. Yes, Graff was harder than in the book (and Anderson's softness was used to make up for this), Bean was introduced too early and wasn't adversarial at first like he should have been, and what were they thinking with the romantic overtones with Petra... But we know why Ender did what he did and how it affected him, and that didn't change from the book.

    My one sadness about this movie is that it didn't inspire my son to read the book (he started it last year, read the first paragraph of Graff's pre-chapter conversation, and decided he didn't want to read it). But at least my copy is now on loan to one of his friends who was inspired to read it.

    • by Meditato (1613545) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @05:45PM (#45349625)

      I actually didn't see any romantic overtones with Petra that didn't occur in the book. Rather it's that Orson Scott Card is very bad at portraying platonic love in a way that doesn't look creepy in our society. It's similar to how Frodo and Sam would look completely homosexual if that relationship was put directly into the movie without any sort of translation.

      Petra was meant to be Valentine away from Valentine, a mother or sister figure, I think. That's how it came across in the books and that's how it came across (but a bit too directly, as I said) in the movie. Just my opinion.

  • Enders Game was ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:38PM (#45348689)

    I've read Enders Game, and it was an "ok" sci-fi book. It's more about Drama and human relationships than sci-fi really. Think "deep space 9"... basically a soap opera with space ships. The ending is very predictable, I saw it coming by about the 3rd chapter. Even his name is a dead giveaway to his inevitable fate. But the books that came later... are horrible. I mean some of the worst stuff I've ever read. It turns into this magical fantasy land where trees and computers have telepathy and God knows what else.

    I've yet to see what I'd consider a "Great" scifi novel turned into a movie. I'm not even sure if it's possible. Though I thought the same of the Lord of the Rings and they seem to have pulled that off with some success. Granted my threshold for a good movie is much lower than my threshold for a good book as a movie only wastes a couple hours of my time.

  • by unfortunateson (527551) on Wednesday November 06, 2013 @04:49PM (#45348861) Journal

    The movie suffers from the compression of the novel -- the audience deserved more of the battle room, if nothing else, and a better idea of how grueling the schedule there and in Command School really was -- it looks like a couple days at most.

    But the biggest issue with compression is moving command school to near the Formic homeworld. I couldn't figure out why, especially as they kept with the concept of instantaneous control with the ansible (FTL communication). But it was mainly so that they didn't have to break from Ender's shame at his destruction of his enemy to the hope of restoration by finding the last queen's egg.

    Ok, I can see how that helps streamline things, until you realize that, uh, he just stepped off a military base, brought something alien back with him, and now he's going to traipse across the galaxy to find a place to put it? Um, no. That can't happen until he's already been out of the military.

    They should have split it in two: Battle school, maybe up until the first victory of Dragon Army (going any further leaves too little for a second movie), then the rest. That would have let the characters breathe, let them have a decent epilogue reuniting Ender and Valentine, and the Hive Queen, and maybe even some way of bringing in Locke and Demosthenes.

    • the concept of instantaneous control with the ansible

      Fun fact: there is an anagram of 'ansible' that's connected to much of the discussion here.

  • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Thursday November 07, 2013 @09:35AM (#45355365) Homepage Journal

    My problem with the movie is simple: dozens if not nearly hundrets of completely unnecessary changes to the story.
    a) the fornix never have attacked earth, the battles where in space, hence the defenders where not flying air planes but space fighters
    b) even the idea that they had motherships and drones is questionable, in the book the attacking ships all look the same, hence it was a "genious masterpiece" to figure the ship of the queen in between them (just killing the mothership, obvioulsy is not hard ... well, figureing which it is at least)
    c) in the movie the dragon team does only one single battle (against two teams) while in the book that is the final battle of a long series
    d) a Fornix queen shows up ... and is UGLY. In the book no queen ever is seen. In the sequel book "Speaker for the Dead" the hive queen is described as the "most beautyfull creatue ever seen"
    e) the movie completely leaves out that the human space fleets are flying with just below speed of light and are under way since decades to the fornix planets while on the other hand communication is instantly
    f) point e) means: it was difficult for earth forces to reach all enemy planets in a relatively short time frame. The farest away planets where reached with the oldest ships, hence the huge variation in difficulty and strategy in the "simulations" while the fleets started more recently where bigger and had more modern ships. In the movie they only have "the fleet" which is ridiculous overpowered in comparision to the book.
    g) Ender is not in deep space (movie) when he battles the Fornix, he is on the Sol Systems asteroid Eos (book)
    h) in the movie it is completely unclear (at least none I talked to got it) that most of the so called "simulations" in the battle school where actual battles (not only the final battle)
    i) in the movie they don't explain how they figured a faster of light communication system ... more important: the whole discrepancy between sub light travel and instant communication on one hand and the suspicion that the hive queens can do mind communication instanty is put away
    j) and no, the hive queens did not come for the water of planet earth. They simply wanted to found a collony and _gave up_ after they finally figured that there was _sentinent_ live on earth. As man kind never answered to their communication attempts the hive queens assumed humans only where _dumb_ like fornix worker/warrior drones.

    Ofc there are changes that are necessary, at least to get a "rated for 12 year olds" label.
    E.g. Stilson, the bully in the school at the beginning of the movie: he gets killed by Ender (yeah, the guy writing the review obviously missed that). The other bully, Bonzo(?), the latino troop leader, also got killed by Ender, he did not die by an "accident" or survived as seen/claimed in the movie. Ender killed him deliberately (not aiming to kill him, but attacking him with potential deadly techniques and accepting the risk)

    Funny ofc is that Ender is practicing Aikido (or more precisely Aiki Jujutsu in the movie with Petra ...) gave me a smile, especially as some idiots behind me in the ranks imediatly started talking loud over the movie sound that those techniques would never work, rofl.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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