Ender’s Game Discussion

The novel received SF’s highest accolades, and the movie stars some of Hollywood’s best. The author, alas, has surrounded himself with controversy, and some people plan to boycott Ender’s Game, which opened this week to respectable business and mixed reviews.

This would be the place to discuss the film and related matters.

8 replies on “Ender’s Game Discussion”

  1. As far as movie adaptations goes, this wasn’t too bad. The story is obviously compressed, and they left out one of my favorite story segments (Demosthenes and Locke) but the main gist of the book is there. The effects did not overwhelm the story, and were mostly well done. This is not a chapter by chapter movie of the book, but I did not expect it would be. I will probably see it again, and recommend that everyone see it once, just for themselves, but if you have read the book (everyone here probably has) go with a more open mind.

  2. Tried to submit some comments on this one but it keeps timing out when I do. I can comment on other stories OK though. The other one may be too long, trying this post to see if a shorter one goes through.

  3. [1/2]
    I also thought it was mostly a fair adaptation. I can understand why they made about 90% of the changes, some others didn’t make as much sense to me.

    I thought the actors did a great job, especially Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield. I don’t remember anyone in particular standing out as underperforming in my mind.

    Visually, the movie is damn near perfect. I’m not sure if it was the movie, or the theater I was in, but the whole thing was so crisp and clear and seamless between CGI and real, I couldn’t tell the difference. The only place the CGI was obvious was in the mind game, and from the look of it, that was intentional given that he was playing a game. If there was an IMAX theater within reason from me, I’d want to see it there if I were to go again.

    The low point for me was the very ending. The way they changed it from the books would make a sequel following the books very difficult. I can somewhat understand why they felt they had to end it that way, but it felt a little rushed/forced.

    Most of my other nitpicks are either minor or were a factor of the time compression needed to make it into a movie and keep the same actors for the whole period.

  4. [Part 2]
    A few random things, I’ll spoiler guard them just in case:
    * The Formics were not after water. Where did that come from? Perhaps it was just a lie Mazer told Ender to make it seem more dire. I sure hope so.
    * There should have been a lot more battle room time, even if it was just a montage of fights cut between the statistics board stats
    * Needed more Bean
    * They made the Ender/Petra relationship seem more romantic than it should have been
    * Where was Petras breakdown?
    * Needed more Bean
    * Why nerf the little doctor by making it a huge single weapon, instead of having them on all the ships? To make it seem like more of a challenge?
    * The adults shared way too many “secrets” with the kids. They didn’t even know about the ansible (except Bean) until after the battle was over, that was another reason Ender didn’t have any clue it was real.
    * Needed more Bean

  5. [Part 3]
    * Moving the forward base to a former formic planet caused a few problems, and solved some others. It made the ending they went for easier, and made for good visuals, but it blew their own “water” and lack of colonization theory out of the, um, water.
    * If the Formics had colonized no other planets, as Mazer stated, what was the planet their base was on?
    * If the Formics had colonized no other planets, if there is a sequel, it would be difficult to have it progress to the colonies like the books did.
    * The windows sure look pretty, but they didn’t exist in the book, but they’re pretty so I’ll forgive that one.
    * The battle room looked about how I expected it to look, except for the glass walls.

  6. [Part 4]
    * The lack of Locke/Demosthenes was already covered above, but it was probably dropped for time, and also with this ending it wouldn’t have had the same effect.
    * Letting them watch Bonzo’s surgery and such seemed out of place. If anything, Ender wasn’t as unintentionally violent as in the books.
    * I didn’t get the feeling of weariness and desperation for Ender in the movie as I did in the book. It seemed like he had it too easy, but my wife who hasn’t read the book all the way through seemed to think he had it pretty rough.
    * Oh, and it needed more Bean

    Despite the above, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a bit, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’d see it again in a heartbeat.

    Hopefully that worked…

  7. I think they did a great job in making sure that the movie hit all the right emotional beats, and that was a real feat. I didn’t feel there were any problems with the Locke and Demosthenes thread being removed from the movie. When reading the book, those parts just seemed to drag on. I was a little more frustrated with the little doctor being so big, but they made great use of that concept to drive the staging and execution of the final battle. I loved the way they used formic swarming techniques to get the little doctor ship through. I also think the movie did great conveying the horror on the adults faces as their entire fleet gets destroyed. The way the movie way structured, this had more impact for the final battle in the book. The final battle scene plays so well for people that have read the book, I’m not sure it plays as strong for people who haven’t read the book, but my wife liked the movie and hadn’t read the book.

    I really think the movie is good enough to merit a sequel, but I think Speaker for the Dead is a more art film and just doesn’t have the ability to draw audiences like this movie. Perhaps it could be done as a much cheaper and more compact film, but I’m not sure. Filming Ender’s Shadow would be a rehash of this movie and would be interesting, but wouldn’t be that big of a draw, since its a retelling. Shadow of the Hegemon or Ender in Exile would possibly be filmable, but the first would involve the loss of the main character and the second would be required to cover a lot of back story from Ender’s Shadow. I would love this movie to get a sequel, I just don’t know how that would happen.

    • I felt the final battle in the movie was somewhat more impersonal than the book in some regards. In the book those were not unmanned drones, each fighter was piloted by a person, so the losses were far greater than in the movie. Granted, the drones make a heck of a lot more sense especially given the progression of technology since the book came out.

      I’m of a like mind on the sequel idea. I’d love to see one, but I am not sure how they would do it – see my thoughts above. They made practically any direct sequel using the book almost impossible unless they decide to adapt the events from Shadows In Flight with Ender as the main character rather than Bean and his key-positive children.

      Another way might be to do Ender in Exile but have Valentine catch up to him in a faster ship. However, given their other decisions, Ender in Exile would not work without even more changes/retooling to the colonization.

      Most of the shadow series is too political/military to be a viable movie, IMHO, and most of the later Ender line is too hard sci-fi for a Movie. I could maybe see condensing most of that material into one movie, but it would still require a Speaker of the Dead to work.

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