Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ender's Game - Is It the Last?

Ender's Game, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, and Ben Kingsley, was an enjoyable ride, and I hope we get to see more Orson Scott Card book adaptations.

Yes ... I know ... if you've been reading my blog from the beginning, you know I have a strange bromance with this author.  I just love the way he writes.  His stories are always interesting and thought provoking.

And yes ... my review might be a little biased, because I know what Uncle Orson has said: If Ender's Game bombs, then I'm not doing another movie.  So, I'll go ahead and admit ... I want this movie to succeed.  Still, I'll try my best to give a non-biased review.

As a fan of the book, I enjoyed it and was amazed at the adaptation.  Most of the good parts of the book make it into the movie.  I enjoyed watching Ender going through all his stages in Battle School and his promotions.  I loved the portrayals, with Ender, Graff, and Mazer being the strongest matches.  The CGI was well done, and the climax was pretty awesome.

Harrison Ford gave a great performance (after a not-so-great performance in Cowboys and Aliens).  He successfully pulled off the mentor and manipulator angle.

Some parts felt rushed.  For example (very minor spoiler), at the beginning of Battle School, when the kids go out in zero G for the first time, Ender immediately comes up with "The enemy gate is down."  But he does so prior to learning the rules of the game.  The book, instead (as I remember) has the kids flailing around in a couple of matches before Ender comes up with that gem.  And then this idea isn't really used for the rest of the movie.  It's only in there to please the fans who want to hear that line.

Then again, I understand that in a two hour movie, sacrifices have to be made.  While things are being rushed through, there's hardly any time to get bored.  The fast pace keeps the whole movie interesting and watchable.  (Though I'd like to see this movie redone as a miniseries ... that would be awesome!)

Also, there were some strange changes made that I didn't understand.  For example, the Command School was moved from the local Eros to some far away outpost near the Formic homeworld.  When Ender was transported across many light years, I struggled to remember if Earth had the technology to warp like that.  I thought that came in the later books.  And also, I couldn't understand why the change facilitated anything that made the story more portable into the movie format.  It was distracting, but not enough to make me hate the movie.

I have to mention one "bad science" moment.  Right before they entered zero G, the gravity was all wrong.  The room just outside the gate would actually be spinning in relation to the battle room (which would be stationary).  Again ... not enough to kill the movie.

Finally, I should warn you that the anticlimactic ending in the book is pretty much replicated in the movie.  I think someone who hasn't read the book might be confused by what's supposed to be a transition from the Ender's Game proper to the second book in the series.

My suggestion ... go see the movie.  It's pretty cool in IMAX.  If you want to see it in that format, you better go in the next couple of days, because I think Thor will be needing that room.  Help this movie to be a success and let my favorite author know that we want to see more of his books turned into movies.

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