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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Discussing Published Hooks & Books » Ender's Game Movie

   
Author Topic: Ender's Game Movie
tesknota
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I have just returned from watching Ender's Game. It was excellent.

The sci-fi elements of the book - Battle School, battle rooms, the mind game, the Formics - were very well done. The cinematics were amazing. I would have liked more battle room battles, but I understand the time constraint.

There were some glaring differences. For me, the most obvious one was that the kids looked around 5 years older than they were in the book. However, I suppose it would be difficult to find 6-year-old actors capable of acting as well as these actors did. I'll refrain from talking too much about the other differences, but I think all of it was necessary to fit the story coherently in the time frame given. Asa Butterfield was a great Ender. All of the cast was great. Everything was great.

I can't really be objective about this movie because Ender's Game is one of my favorite series of all time, but overall I'm impressed. I was afraid of being disappointed, but I am not disappointed at all. I'm so very glad that all these years of planning this movie paid off!

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History
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My local paper published a...less enthusiastic critique. However, I find I like most movies, especially those that inspire wonder and/or touch the heart [If they do both, I'm thrilled].

Based on your review, I've changed my plans to see it locally today and will travel Monday to see it in IMAX. It os good to support our Hatrack host.

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Going to see it tonight.

By the way, we "support" OSC by going, but as I understand it, he will receive no direct remuneration from the movie profits. They've already paid him for the movie rights.

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Merlion-Emrys
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I figured that might be the case. I know there are a few out there that plan on boycotting the movie in protest of OSC's views on various things, supposedly keep money out of his pocket or whatever, but I had a feeling he probably wouldn't be getting anything apart from the initial payment for the rights.

I disagree pretty strongly with many of his views but I don't remember any of them really being present in the Ender's Game story, so it all seems a little silly to me. Plus, I don't think he's an ill-intentioned person, just wrong about some stuff.
That being said there are at least 3 movies I'd like to see in November and only so much money, so its going to be a hard choice...

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Osiris
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Can't wait to see it, just have to find a babysitter.
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tesknota
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I, like Dr. Bob, also like most movies. My friend was not too impressed with the movie, but she had just reread the book two days before the movie and was way more affected by the changes that were made than I was. I forgot to mention this earlier, but the movie did not include any mention of Locke and Demosthenes.

To be honest, the main reason I liked this movie so much was because it brought one of my favorite stories to life in a way that wasn't disappointing. The movie changed some things, but the soul of the novel remained.

The reviews aren't all so favorable, but hey - this movie beat Man of Steel by 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. That's saying something. [Big Grin]

As for OSC's views, I can't say I fully agree with all of them, but I always see him back up his opinions with fair reasons.
I don't find Ender's Game controversial though. All I've found in this book (and series) are truths I needed to hear and lessons I needed to learn.

[ November 02, 2013, 02:58 AM: Message edited by: tesknota ]

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axeminister
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By beefing the movie's receipts, other studios might be more inclined to option other OSC books.

So, support is support. Even if the options don't pan out, they send $ Scott's way...

Axe

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Robert Nowall
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Not my thing---I think I said I didn't like the original "Ender's Game" story when it was first published and have avoided the universe since then---but best of luck with it, and I may unbend and watch it when it comes out on video...
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Saw it last night and was very pleased.

They had to move things faster than they happened in the book, and they weren't able to do much with the zero-g battles, but the one they showed when Ender was in charge was wonderful.

I also liked how they handled the mindgame/dream stuff. It didn't seem to integrate all that well in the book (maybe there was too much for my taste), but it worked very well in the movie.

So, read the book again AFTER you see it, but I recommend that you see it. It's very well adapted.

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shimiqua
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The dialog is awful. It's like characters were just in a scene to show their motivation. That's just a symptom of trying to show things quickly, where the book is clear and fascinating.

And I think the movie lacked a sense of justice and celebration at the end. They never took the time to show the formics hurting anyone, so when Ender wins, it's just devastating. In the book, I'm always glad that he destroyed the planet, even though you later learn that it's a horrible thing that they tricked him into doing. I guess I feared the aliens enough that I understood the human motivation, but then Ender taught me to see past my fear and see what atrocity has been done in the name of fear.
The movie didn't show any fear of formics. There just beautiful and waiting and hopeful, so the ending is just tragic.

Also, the movie points out plot holes I never saw before.

To be clear though, I really loved seeing it. Seeing the Formics and the battle room, and the suits, and Valentine and Mazer was amazing. I cried several times, just because I love the book so much it was awesome to see it.

It's worth seeing just for Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham. Perfection.

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Robert Nowall
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Well, "Ender's Game" opened Number One at the weekend box office with twenty-eight million. Strong, but not as strong as some other teen-oriented movies (at least according to the analysis I read.) Attempts at a boycott failed, apparently.

I suppose congratulations are in order...

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History
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The movie was an enjoyable 2hr.
I found it included all the key elements and scenes of the story very well, to the best of my recollection. But it did seem rushed at times, as if the director was going through a checklist of plot points culled from the novel. I, too, wished more time had been spent in Battle School, more time developing the relationships between the Wiggins siblings, between Ender and his teammates, between Ender and Mazor Rackham. The threat of the Formics could have been built up further, as shimqua suggests--that way we would intimately share in Ender's horror and guilt at discovering he's committed xenocide. Our joy at their annihilation would similarly be twisted against us. Thus, the denouement (which seems a bit long in the movie) would have worked better to set up the presumed hopeful sequel, Speaker For The Dead.
In other words, the movie Ender's Game is a very well done novel adaption and worth seeing, but I believe it would have been a better 6 hour mini-series. [Smile]

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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wise
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I enjoyed "Ender's Game", but was disappointed, as I expected since I've been waiting decades for this book to appear in film. It's always difficult to bring a book to life in all its intricacies, but there were a few points that really bothered me.

1. All through the book Ender tries to convince himself "I'm not Peter!", but this was never mentioned in the film. Trying not to be Peter was Ender's big psychological struggle. Where was the snake, Peter's face in the mirror? Peter was only on screen for a few minutes - we never got a good feel for his character. What I loved most about the book was the psychology - how to push a person (even a prodigy) to his breaking point while manipulating him to tap into him creativity and leadership skills? A missed opportunity in the film. Which leads to:

2. The transformation of Ender from naive kid into confident leader was pretty much ignored in the film. He seemed to know what to do from the beginning with no self doubt. Where's the character development?

3. He was never isolated (more character motivation). Bean, Petra, and his other friends were with him from the start. Again, this isolation is what helped shape him.

4. I would've loved to see a montage of some battles (in battle school) so I could sense the progression of Ender's talents. There were a lot in the book, but maybe 3 in the film.

5. The film seemed to cover a few months, not 5 years (in Battle School) as the book did. It makes Ender's progression seem that much more absent. No one can grow their talent that far in just a few months.

6. Other than Bonzo, no one else seemed threatened by Ender's talents. And the fight with Bonzo was an accident??? Again, lack of motivation. We need that conflict between Peter's agression and Valentine's compassion.

However, it was very satisfying to me to see this beloved book come to life. The casting was excellent. The battle school set was believeable and visually interesting - very true to my vision of it. (Thank you CGI!) I realize the time constraints, but an extra 15 minutes would've allowed for a lot more battles between the teams.

I also liked the "bugger". At first I was afraid it was going to be "Alien"-like, but was pleasantly surprised by the design.

I was glad at least some of the Giant game was included. But again, would've liked to see Peter in there somewhere.

In conclusion, I thought the film was a very thin, watered-down version of the book. I still enjoyed it for what it was, but was left feeling a little cheated. Alas, that's Hollywood.

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History
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quote:
Originally posted by wise:
1. All through the book Ender tries to convince himself "I'm not Peter!", but this was never mentioned in the film.

It was. Ender states his fear of becoming like Peter whenever he engages in violence, both with hurting the bully really bad (knowing he had to win not only that battle but in such a way to win all future ones) as well as when he does the same to Bonzo, whose permanent incapacity by Ender's actions lead to an emotional breakdown that only his sister Valentine can assuage and bring him back to balance in order to go on.

quote:
2. The transformation of Ender from naive kid into confident leader was pretty much ignored in the film. He seemed to know what to do from the beginning with no self doubt. Where's the character development?
I think in both the film and book, Ender acts decisively but always doubts whether he has acted ethically--which makes his final act such a tragedy for him. In both, he has to learn from others; such as Petra teaching him how to survive in the Battle Room, and Mazor Rackham teaching him not to presume he is ever safe from anyone, and that his enemies are his best teachers.

quote:
3. He was never isolated (more character motivation). Bean, Petra, and his other friends were with him from the start. Again, this isolation is what helped shape him.
Again, I disagree. In both book and film, Col Graff makes the other launchies hate Ender by publically saying he alone is worth praise, and Ender accuses Graff that he thus made the others hate him, which Graff does not deny. Ender eats alone in the mess hall twice before his standing up to the sergeant and Graff earns him respect. He was also deliberately "isolated" by Bonzo from the rest of Salamander Squad, although Petra befriended him.

quote:
4. I would've loved to see a montage of some battles (in battle school) so I could sense the progression of Ender's talents. There were a lot in the book, but maybe 3 in the film.
I agree, but understand the time restraints of the film.

quote:
5. The film seemed to cover a few months, not 5 years (in Battle School) as the book did. It makes Ender's progression seem that much more absent. No one can grow their talent that far in just a few months.

Again, the restraints on film-making. This didn't bother me as much as you, however.

quote:
6. Other than Bonzo, no one else seemed threatened by Ender's talents.

Two others: The bully Ender defeats as a cadet, and Bernard when they first arrive at Battle School.

quote:
However, it was very satisfying to me to see this beloved book come to life. The casting was excellent. The battle school set was believeable and visually interesting - very true to my vision of it. (Thank you CGI!) I realize the time constraints, but an extra 15 minutes would've allowed for a lot more battles between the teams.

I also liked the "bugger". ..
I was glad at least some of the Giant game was included. ...

Agree with you on all these points.
quote:
In conclusion, I thought the film was a very thin, watered-down version of the book. I still enjoyed it for what it was, but was left feeling a little cheated. Alas, that's Hollywood.

Because I understand "that's Hollywood", and the differences necessitated between media (literature and film), I did not feel cheated at all. I believe this film was one of the TRUEST adaptions of a science fiction novel I have ever seen (anyone recall I, Robot or I Am Legend or Dune?).

Respectfully,
Dr. Bob

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Robert Nowall
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Heard that the movie dropped to fifth place on the box office chart this week...hope that doesn't bode ill for it...
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Robert Nowall
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Heard in addition that the movie reportedly got the SF fan market, but didn't engage the teen and YA crowd needed for a box office bonanza. Sorry.
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J_Jammer
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It dropped off, sure, but that doesn't mean much.

World Wide matters too. I think it'll make the money back.

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MartinV
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I'll give the movie a go but I'm going to watch it with very low expectations, otherwise I won't be able to watch it.
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tesknota
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A very bad idea would be to read the book right before going to see the movie.
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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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I heartily agree. If you want to read it (or re-read it) do so after seeing the movie.
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Robert Nowall
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Yup. Bad idea. If you liked the book you'll be disgruntled at the changes. Go without reading it first, if you're so inclined...though sometimes there's no hope of avoiding it, like The Lord of the Rings for most of us, or Harry Potter for some.

I suppose I could get by...it's been some thirty years since I last read the short version in Analog (and didn't like it), and probably I've forgotten all the important details.

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legolasgalactica
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Nowall:
Yup. Bad idea. If you liked the book you'll be disgruntled at the changes. Go without reading it first, if you're so inclined...though sometimes there's no hope of avoiding it, like The Lord of the Rings for most of us, or Harry Potter for some.

I suppose I could get by...it's been some thirty years since I last read the short version in Analog (and didn't like it), and probably I've forgotten all the important details.

I guess I'm in the same boat I read it so long ago and so early in my reading career, that I hardly remember more than the title and kids vs aliens. I know this is like blasphemy for some--especially on this site, but I don't even recall whether I liked it very well. Well enough to read some of the sequels I guess. Was shocked that he'd have little kids swear so much. But I guess im free of prejudice and will go see it with an open mind.

And while I'm blaspheming, I have only read LOTR once in the last 7 years but have watched the movies dozens of times and that has basically kept my Tolkien mania satisfied. I do miss some things from the book, but over all the movies could have been recorded from my own imaginings of the books.

As for Harry Potter, the movies were alright if you like everything thrown at you in fast-forward.

[ November 19, 2013, 10:27 AM: Message edited by: legolasgalactica ]

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Robert Nowall
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Of course, in some cases you're unlikely to have not seen the movie before reading the book. Gone With the Wind the book was very much like the movie, but with more detail and characters and incidents (and a few important changes in memorable dialog.) But nearly everybody nowadays has seen the movie before they've read the book---if they've read the book at all...
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babooher
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I was discussing this film with a friend of mine. I opined that the book could have been broken into three parts (I. Earth to Leader of his Own Army, II. Valentine and Peter on Earth plus Battle School screwing with Ender's army, III. Graduation to the end of the War). If the Hobbit can be three films (and take longer to watch than to read) why not three films for Ender?

My friend thought for a moment and said the Hobbit had the Lord of the Rings movie fan base already built in. Ender's Game only had the book. Less risk in only one film lest you end up with another Golden Compass.

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Utahute72
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quote:
Originally posted by babooher:
I was discussing this film with a friend of mine. I opined that the book could have been broken into three parts (I. Earth to Leader of his Own Army, II. Valentine and Peter on Earth plus Battle School screwing with Ender's army, III. Graduation to the end of the War). If the Hobbit can be three films (and take longer to watch than to read) why not three films for Ender?

My friend thought for a moment and said the Hobbit had the Lord of the Rings movie fan base already built in. Ender's Game only had the book. Less risk in only one film lest you end up with another Golden Compass.

Plus there are a dozen other Ender books out there if there is enough interest in a sequel.
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Meredith
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I finally saw this the other night. My take is actually that the movie tried to include too much of the book and by doing so diluted all the elements too much.

The Giant's Drink game is an example. Ender is shown playing this only once. Because of that, Ender's solution appears more ruthless than it really is--almost worthy of his brother Peter.

Some things just really need more development in the story.

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Strychnine
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I agree with you Meredith. I thought that the movie felt rushed, and in so doing managed to make the movie feel like a two hour video trailer for the book.
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