I have never written a review before. I usually don’t even read them. I don’t have to. I have my husband reading them and then yapping endlessly about them at me. But this is a special occasion.
About 7 years ago, my husband handed me a copy of Ender’s Game. I am not your typical sci-fi fan. Especially if it has to do with space. But I gave it a shot. I. Loved. This. Book. The development of Ender, the struggles that he endured, mostly psychological, and how he grew was amazing. I loved the side story of Valentine and Peter. I ended up reading and loving the whole series. I even considered naming a son Hyrum (my husband’s last name is Graff).
After reading that, my husband (the man who would probably easily choose his blu-ray collection over me if the house caught on fire) and I discussed how awesome this would be as a movie. We decided that it would probably be done best with computer animation because of the Battle School dynamics and the problems of gravity.
So, when my other half told me that there was going to be a movie, I was thrilled. I even re-read the series recently to get ready for it. I hate to admit it, I was actually excited for this movie to come out. I never get giddy over movies. I really hoped that I wasn’t going to be let down.
Dropped the kids off at my parents’ and off to see the movie we went.
So much of the development was lost. You never saw why Ender was considered such an amazing commander. You don’t see how he trained his army of misfits in Battle School to be the best, sacrificing their personal rankings for the good of their army. You don’t see how everyone was manipulated around them by Col. Graff to dislike Ender, but he ends up earning their fierce loyalty anyways. The complex relationships with Valentine and Peter are briefly mentioned. Hell, the game with the giant is in the movie, but doesn’t give as much importance as it does in the book. He kills the giant the first time he plays.
In fact, the characters were pretty empty on the screen. It’s a few kids that train a little bit, a colonel that pushes a little, and a counselor that tries to care a little about them. It all looks like it happens within a few days. The only thing that shows that there is ANY time passage more that a few days, other than Ender getting a little taller, was a screen that shows that the battle fleet will be at the Formic’s planet in 28 days (and they don’t ever call them Buggers, not once, the whole movie).
Now, I completely understand that there are some time constraints. No one is going to sit in a movie for the length of time that would be needed to put everything in the movie that needed to be there. But they left out so much that is needed to see the genius of the book.
All that being said, I liked the movie. Though I don’t think I would have liked the movie if I hadn’t read the book. I have the knowledge of what the movie didn’t show. This is a beautifully done summary of the book. Cliffs Notes.
The sets were stunning. I love how they did the battle room. Almost exactly how I pictured it when I read it. The acting was astounding. This movie is definitely worth seeing in the theater (and I don’t like going to the movie theater). Though I will understand if someone who hasn’t read the book doesn’t enjoy it. I would just encourage them to read the book and re-watch the movie.
I stay hopeful for a extended cut of the movie. Please let there be more to the movies that the studio cut out.