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Author Topic: Spoil Ender's Game for me
Foust
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Ender's Game won't be released here in South Korea.

I want to know how it stacks up to the book.

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Heisenberg
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It wasn't a game after all. They were fighting a real war and Ender killed every last bugger. Or DID he?

/spoilers

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millernumber1
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I think my friend put it best when he said that Enderís Game the film functions as a trailer for Enderís Game, the book. The filmmakers, from the director and cast down to the designers of the tiniest details, clearly were big fans of the book - but whether because they wanted to fit too many details from the book into the film, or they were cut down a lot, all the moments from the book are presented so quickly that thereís no time for the weight of whatís happening to sink in and hurt and break open your heart and make you feel alive again the way the book does.

The actors are great. I wouldnít necessarily have picked them all, but I have no problems with any of them (except maybe Ben Kingsley, and thatís mostly just because I wish theyíd gone with someone actually Maori, like the great Cliff Curtis), and really enjoyed all of their performances. (Okay, I take that back - the kid who played Bonzo was good, but I still donít understand what prevented them from picking someone who could actually look like a physical threat to Ender, much as I appreciated the way they made it clear that Ender didnít want to hurt him in the final fight.) Abigail Breslin, who Iíve been a big fan of ever since Signs, was quite good as Valentine (though more on that later), Aramis Knight was spunky and brilliant as Bean, Hailee Steinfeld made up for her savagely butchered Juliet (still not sure if it was director, actor, or scripts fault, but that was not a Juliet for the ages) with a smart and funny Petra, Alai made a firm impresssion, and the rest of the cast worked quite well. Asa Butterfield, though quite tall (forunately made up for it by being weedy and using his face quite effectively), isnít my Ender - but heís a very good Ender that I now have as a fragment of mine.

Technically, the movie is very pretty, but not in the kind of way that makes me want to paper my computer with screenshots. The music works well, but doesnít quite have the thematic strength I like in my favorite scores (though I am currently listening to it as I type). Itís a very competent production, made with a lot of passion.

Overall, I liked that they adhered so strongly to the themes of the book, but really think the length and trying to fit quite as much in really robbed it of the quality I hoped it would have - the ability to crystallize moments of the book in an indelible, heartbreakingly beautiful or painful moment that will forever alter the way I see the book.

Iím really happy that the film almost never overwrites the book, so I can imagine the missing bits in between the scenes. But it doesnít do what an otherwise much inferior adaptation this year managed. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is hardly a great film, and doesnít manage the structural feats or performances of Enderís Game - but the opening does manage to capture the desperation, violence, beauty, and tragedy of living in a world where the Greek myths are real, and your parents are the uncaring but still somehow connected gods of legend. Though the structure of Enderís Game the book is much, much clearer in the film than that of Riordanís book in the film, thereís never a moment where my heart stopped and I said, ďThis is the best possible version of that moment from the book.Ē There were tons of scenes and lines and moments from the book. They were all delivered with passion and intent. But there just wasnít time for it to sink in.

Was it worth it? Yes. But?

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vineyarddawg
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I mostly agree, millernumber1, though I don't understand why so many reviewers seem to be so critical of Ben Kingsley. Mazer is literally just about the only character that says lines that are more or less directly from the book, and I thought Kingsley delivered those lines with the same weight that the "book Mazer" would have.

To use a similar analogy to yours, Ben Kingsley's Mazer Rackham is mostly the Mazer Rackham I had in my head from the book. Terse, intense, and mostly detached from both the students and the instructors.

I completely agree that Asa Butterfield's Ender is not "my" Ender, but he did a great job with the script they were using. I only had a problem with two items in the movie: Ender is taller than almost everyone else (and towers over Bonzo, which is just wrong), and the use of Petra as an awkward not-quite-romantic-interest.

I thought Hailee Steinfeld did a fantastic job as Petra, but you could tell that Gavin Hood really wanted to make her Ender's "love interest," but was also respecting OSC's wishes that she not be developed into that role. He kind of went in the middle, which feels awkward.

Overall, I really liked the movie, but I was always going to like the movie if it was faithful to the book, as it definitely was.

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millernumber1
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Kingsley is a great actor...it's just really annoying that there are also great Maori actors and they didn't even consider them.

I really didn't see the whole love interest thing with Petra. I've read some good comments about how Petra's friendship kind of distracts from Ender's essential isolation, and I think that's true, but never did I have a "man, they threw in a love story" complaint.

I should also note that I quite liked the way they handled Bean - yes, he was introduced really early in Ender's launch group, but they explicitly kept his backstory, gave him the rope, and his famous line. As a huge Bean fan, I was very pleased to see that.

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Foust
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I guess I'm looking for how certain plot points were handled. I won't actually be able to see the movie until it comes out on dvd.

Are Ender's two killings brutal? What about the giant's drink? I've gotten the impression that Peter and Valentine don't conquer the world via reddit posts, so what was left for them to do?

etc

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staredecisis
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I thought it stayed fairly true to the book. Battle School was cut short. I, like everybody else, wish that part of the movie had been about 20 minutes longer. Many of the tactics are excluded, and the scenes seem a bit abrupt.

But here's hoping for an extended edition Blu-Ray. Studios are under a lot of pressure to keep the length of movies down, and that may have been at play here.

Was anybody else a bit concerned by the closing lines of the movie? It didn't seem like Valentine was going on Ender's journey at the end... he seemed to be saying goodbye. To the extent there is a sequel, I don't care much for that change.

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Ginol_Enam
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quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
I guess I'm looking for how certain plot points were handled. I won't actually be able to see the movie until it comes out on dvd.

Are Ender's two killings brutal? What about the giant's drink? I've gotten the impression that Peter and Valentine don't conquer the world via reddit posts, so what was left for them to do?

etc

Peter really has nothing outside of one scene in the beginning. Valentine has a little more (the lake scene basically), but not much.
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Elison R. Salazar
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Snape kills Gandalf in the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

I saved you 12$.

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vineyarddawg
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quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
I guess I'm looking for how certain plot points were handled. I won't actually be able to see the movie until it comes out on dvd.

Are Ender's two killings brutal? What about the giant's drink? I've gotten the impression that Peter and Valentine don't conquer the world via reddit posts, so what was left for them to do?

etc

The Stilson incident was brutal. The Bonzo incident seemed like a tragic accident. The fact that Bonzo was so much smaller than Ender made it look like Ender was trying not to hurt the little guy with the Napoleon Complex, but accidentally seriously injured him. (It was never explicitly stated that Bonzo died... in fact, Ender said he sat by Bonzo's side for a long time before he came back to Earth for his "vacation," but he was convinced Bonzo was going to die.)

Peter and Val basically did nothing other than act as plot devices.

The Giant's Drink was about as awesome as an "in your head" thing could be on the big screen. (And, for my money, it was great.)

The biggest surprise to me was the fact that they actually kept the part where Ender finds the Hive Queen and takes off to find her a new home. I'd supposed that there was no way to put that in the movie in a convincing way.

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millernumber1
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Actually, I think Val was pretty decently handled, all things considered. Even if my biggest regret is her not going off with Ender in the end (but...it's not shown...so she totally could be there!)
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BlackBlade
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Holy kites. That movie practically screamed through the entire plot. Part of what made the book so effective was just how exhausted Ender was before the big reveal at the end.

Spoilers

For goodness sake Hood, the human race was just saved, and your IF officers are clapping like Bob from accounting just won the office raffle. There should be weeping on each other's shoulders, incredible drama, far more than a simulation would warrant, and that's what suddenly informs Ender that something is very wrong. Have the planet still blowing up, and then have Ender figure out, "Why is a simulation showing us the actual destruction of a planet?"

Also the Buggers and Astronauts game only makes sense for kids, not teenagers.

There was lots that was great about the film, but with a few more tweaks and a few more minutes, it could have been absolutely wonderful.

As it is, I enjoyed it, I really did, and after spending years dreading it, we got a much better film than I had expected.

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dkw
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Spoilers

For goodness sake Hood, the human race was just saved, and your IF officers are clapping like Bob from accounting just won the office raffle. There should be weeping on each other's shoulders, incredible drama, far more than a simulation would warrant, and that's what suddenly informs Ender that something is very wrong.

This. Oh so very, very much this.

quote:
There was lots that was great about the film, but with a few more tweaks and a few more minutes, it could have been absolutely wonderful.
Also this. But I loved it anyway.

quote:
As it is, I enjoyed it, I really did, and after spending years dreading it, we got a much better film than I had expected.
Yeah.
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advice for robots
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I actually really liked it, to my relief. The acting was just fine, and while I wasn't blown away by the editing, at least the weird cuts and closeups were consistent.

I want to see the extended version that develops the Battle Room battles and lets us see how Ender and Bean figure it all out. The whole first 2/3 of the movie felt too much like a cliff notes version of the book. If you didn't already know the story, you were probably just barely hanging on.

I really liked the ending. I didn't think I'd get emotional when the Formic planet was burning, but that was handled really well, as was Ender finding the Hive Queen. As was said above, I didn't think that part would survive the cut, but it did, and it pulled the whole movie together.

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millernumber1
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BlackBlade, you pretty much nailed it.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I'm planning an indepth review on my puter later but I want to fire off some quick impressions.

The movie was decent, the visuals alone make it worthwhile for EG book fans to see. Unfortunately it isn't a good stand alone movie. They did a poor job of conveying the loss and fatigue that Dragon army went thru. Making the emotional pool very shallow and reading more like "fun kids in space with laser guns" movie. Same with command school.

But the real tragedy of this movie is they simply do not show why Ender is a brilliant commander. They sure talk about it. But other than viciousness and a vocal vote of confidence by Indiana Jones, Ender Wiggen just really wasn't special.

Add on top of that some strange choices; drill sergent Dap, disaproving Dad, Bernard as a jesh member, Ender not hacking the desks, short and silly Bozo, Ali randomly suggesting the enemy gate was down -before- the rules of the game were explained, that to win an -unharmed- soildier had to go thru the gate, Anderson transformed from the game master to a touchy feely mom character, etc and I find I'm overall disappointed.

My wife fell asleep three times in the theater. I asked her what she thought and her review was "boring".

Well, it wasn't Starship Troopers.

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Lyrhawn
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I agree with miller and I agree with Blackblade.

I saw it with my brother, who has never read the book. He was a little confused by a lot of it, and thought the end was an utterly stupid drag.

For my part...I think miller is spot on when he calls it a trailer for the book. It was a bit like an abridged clip show. They hit a few hot spots to get you a general impression of what's happening but they never dig deep enough to get beneath the surface to what the whole thing is really about.

I think the movie needed subtitles. In the subtitles would go all the dialogue wasted in the movie trying to drive the plot. That's what 80% of the dialogue felt like, it was just there to move us forward and explain things they never felt like they had time to show. I usually argue against Show vs. Tell when it comes to novels, but in a movie, they really needed to do more showing than telling.

Too much telling us why Ender is special, too much telling us what his thoughts and feelings are, too much telling us about what he's thinking or how he's reacting.

Too much of the secondary kids looking up at Ender and smiling big kid grins to tell the audience that Ender has just done something mighty impressive.

Too much fast-paced dialogue being flung at us with no time in between lines or time after a dialogue to actually absorb what they were saying, or to show the characters themselves absorbing it. It was over-over-two shot on the dialogue them zoom into their faces with dramatic music playing in the background. The whole thing felt incredibly lazy.

The passage of time was a little bizarre. My brother thought the whole thing happened in about four or five days, maybe a couple weeks. Our only real clue is when he writes a letter to Val to tell her it's been months of training, but that doesn't make sense because Graff's computer, days before, said 28 days until the fleet arrived. What'd they do, park in the asteroid belt for a couple months?

I also didn't like that he remained so friendly with everyone. They dramatically altered his character by not allowing him any character growth at all. He ended more or less the same way he began, only having gone through a tactical tutoring program. His personality was the same, his interpersonal relationships were virtually unaffected. Other than the weight of the xenocide, he didn't really seem to suffer much at all from the toll of Battle School. He was all hugs and kisses with his friends through the whole thing, as evidenced, if via nothing else, by the mountain of knowing smiles they all kept aiming at each other.

In general, I think they needed to cut a lot out and just focus on Ender. Cut out the stuff with Petra, cut out the scenes with Mazer and Graff chatting, and Anderson and Graff chatting. Save that time to focus on Ender to really give us time to understand who he is. It's like they tried to do too much and in the process didn't really do much at all. They should have cut Val and Peter entirely. Adding them in felt nice because it was pulled from the book, but if they weren't going to take the time to explain what Peter and Val meant, they shouldn't have wasted precious minutes on a shout out. Eliminating the shout out scenes from the movie would have gotten them the 20 minutes they needed elsewhere to make an impact.

Either that or they should have made Ender's Game I and Ender's Game II to really do it justice. Because the visuals were stunning, they did it better than I could have imagined. Battle School was a little senseless, since there's no way it could really function with only one giant battle room, but damn if it didn't look cool. They also needed to turn the music down. It was good, and I'm a firm believe that music in movies can tell a story, add emotional weight, and all that, but they tried to use it as a crutch to add emotion to scenes where they was none at all. Music should add to a scene, not do the heavy lifting for it.

This movie proved to me that Ender's Game CAN be filmed, it CAN work. But not like this. It needs to either be twice as long to do it justice, or it needs to be totally stripped down to its most basic elements.

Stone Wolf -

I agree with a lot of your stuff too. Major Anderson was basically turned into Dap. But I actually think she's a pretty good example of what didn't work for the movie. She's just there to say stupid stuff to get Graff to say what he needs to say to hit all the plot points. Bernard was sort of the replacement for Alai, because Hood wanted to show that Ender was good at turning enemies into friends, or at least good at turning them into subordinates.

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Lyrhawn
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And to add one more thing I liked and two things I didn't like.

Didn't like - The new way in which Ender found the cocoon. Really? They wouldn't have found that after fighting tunnel by tunnel to clear out the enemy? With sensors so powerful they can scan the entire enemy planet and its millions of ships and buggers, they miss one living under their door mat? Lame! And lame that they changed it so he ventured off literally all by himself to search for a planet.

Don't like that they changed the nature of the Third Invasion and that everyone knew the stakes from the beginning. I feel like that robbed them of some of their virtue, which seems fine, but they needed that virtue in place so the Big Reveal has more impact as a horrific but possible necessary decision...and then the second reveal that they got it wrong and it really was horrific.

Liked - The depiction of the formics. I know it was in part the big eyes that humanized them, or at least made them appear sympathetic, but in the brief scene at the end, silly as it was, I felt like they made up for a ton of ground (even though I hated yet MORE exposition in the dialogue at the last moment). The formics were beautiful, terrifying, deadly, and gentle all at the same time. Whoever designed them absolutely nailed it. But I felt like they wasted that time. They should have done a mental connection where he talked to the Queen to actually find out what happened. If they weren't going to do the post-script with him actually writing The Hive Queen, they should have at least made it clear to the audience exactly what happened and what the misunderstanding was, should have made it clear that Ender was right about the future and him being the Xenocide.

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millernumber1
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Nice analysis, Lyrhawn! Although the Ender's Game companion notes that OSC himself had Ender find the cocoon on Eros in his scripts.

Totally agree that Val not being with Ender really bothers me. But I still maintain that they only showed Ender's face - she could totally be on the next bunk over. [Smile]

The way the reveal and Third Invasion are handled does really seem off to me - somehow, even though I know the deception, every time I reread or listen to Ender's Game or Ender's Shadow, I never question the necessity of the war. Perhaps it's that it makes Graff hypocritical, and even though he is a very ambiguous figure in the book, we need that sense that at the core, he really believes what he's doing. Maybe it was Ford's performance, maybe it was the way they had everything spelled out way too clearly, but I completely agree - the reveal just didn't have the right impact.

Also agree that the Formic design worked really well.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I never question the necessity of the war.
Bear in mind that, from the human perspective, the war was absolutely necessary. They had no reason to believe the Buggers weren't coming to destroy their species.
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millernumber1
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But why didn't I feel that way in the film?
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Samprimary
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my end prediction was this, prior to the movie's release:

" it is for that reason that I anticipate great use of the words "rushed" or "fast" or "forced" in describing the movie's pace and tone unless the trailers really were a total fakeout after all. "

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FoolishTook
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Review moved over here from the other Ender's Game thread:

I was disappointed. My experiences with this movie reflects my experiences with The Two Towers movie. I felt things were done well, but they could have been so much better.

What I Didn't Like:

I may garner a lot of hatred, but I feel like Asa Butterfield is better at acting on a visual level than a vocal level. His dialogue felt off much of the time, and his narrated emails to Valentine were cheesy.

Bean was hardly there. I liked Petra, but the hint of romance was on the verge of being blasphemous to the source material.

What I Liked:

I thought Harrison Ford and especially Viola Davis were excellent. I also liked Ben Kingsley.

The Battle Room was beautiful, and the movie does a great job of making you feel as disoriented as the students must have felt upon first entering it.

The visuals and special effects, the world they created, they were all breathtaking.

The musical score was well done, but it was used in such a way that some scenes were overly romanticized.

I loved the final battle at the end. That was the best part of the movie, watching that all played out on the big screen.

By the way, my 16-year-old niece, who has never read the books (who may soon be disowned because of that), really liked the movie.

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FoolishTook
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Just wanted to add:

The plumber joke was pretty funny. Some guy in the audience laughed really loudly at that for a good 30 seconds straight.

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BlackBlade
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What was the plumber joke again?
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PSI Teleport
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I agree so much with BB regarding the destruction of the planet. The most important moment in the book for me is when the dignitaries are weeping and praying, and that bit of the movie fell flat. Hard.

Buuu-uuut, I realized my teenage dream tonight. And I'm glad I did. Some parts of the movie were better than a book could have done, which is the only thing I really cared about. The battle room was great.

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PSI Teleport
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"Your mom cheated. That's why you look like a plumber."
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
"Your mom cheated. That's why you look like a plumber."

Oh, that's right! I really wish they had had more of that crude kid banter.
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Elison R. Salazar
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http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/escape-to-the-movies/8368-Enders-Game

MovieBob finally gets around to it.

Haven't seen it yet, but will. The Giant's Drink is one of those things that works great (in my mind) in an Anime adaption because you can just give it the Studio Shaft treatment. Just art shift it to something really funky. Unfortunately no good youtube clip for the scene that comes to mind, but I think Tatami Galaxy is whats often citeD?

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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I was actually really impressed with how well they touched all the bases Ė I can think of several moments of the movie where I was grinning ear-to-ear with the glee of seeing favorite moments from the book recreated with such care. Dragon Army's final battle was excellently done, even if I was disappointed that we didn't see Ender actually train his army. The Stilson fight was also done well; the movie did not hold back or try to water it down, even though I think Stilson should have used "Third" as an epithet against Ender somewhere. The small changes they made, especially retooling peripheral characters like Bean, Alai, and Bernard, were understandable and I think they worked.

Structurally, it wasn't a bad idea to have Ender go straight to Dragon from Salamander, since Bonzo's rage would be fresh in the audience's minds, but I was surprised, in retrospect, how rushed the Battle School portion of the movie actually was. The first and third acts are, I think, very well-paced, but at Battle School, everything's a blur. Could we at least have had a 30-second montage showing off the novel tactics that Dragon was using, with soldiers shooting between their legs and sliding the walls, while having an Ender's enemy-gate-is-down training instructions dubbed over it? That could have given a better sense of how Ender handled his army.

The biggest change from the book, by far, is the fact that they change Eros from a near-Earth asteroid to a deserted Formic colony outside the solar system. In doing so, they forsake any semblance of respect for the theory of relativity that drives so much of the book's plot. This is the most interesting deviation, because it makes so much sense on many levels, but is rather offensive on several others.

The primary motivation for moving Command School was to condense the denouement so it doesn't require Ender to go run a colony world for ten years before discovering the Hive Queen. I approve of this decision; the pacing for this section was important to get right, and I thought that aspect worked well. It also gives Ender an opportunity to see the scope and beauty of the Formics' strange, but beautiful architecture, and gives the audience a chance to feel for the civilization that created this place before that civilization is extinguished. And by getting rid of special relativity and saying that the Third Invasion had already been raging for some time, they allow themselves to justify one of the biggest plot holes of the book: why are all the queens on one planet?

But for each problem this change solves, it opens up a new can of worms, the least of which is the underhanded implication that the filmmakers didn't believe the audience would understand relativity, which I found a little bit insulting. As was mentioned above, if the IF drove the Formics off of the planet, how did they miss a queen cocoon right next door to the main base? And for that matter, if the IF already had the Formics cornered in their home system, why did they only need Ender, The One, then? And perhaps most sickeningly, it forces Ender to go off into the cosmos alone... without Valentine.

The "romance" with Petra is only there if you want it to be there. Of all of Ender's companions, I thought Bean should have been the one to be the primary confidant, but there's nothing offensive about having Petra take that role unless you're one of those whiners who wanted the movie to impossibly fuse Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow.

That said, I'm impressed at the attention to detail they put into little things. John Paul Wiggin has a Polish accent, Mazer is made Maori even if Ben Kingsley doesn't look it, the Fantasy Game is clearly the conduit through which the Hive Queen is establishing a connection to Ender, Bean mentions his backstory in Rotterdam, and Alai bids Ender "Salaam" before he leaves for Salamander. The corridors in Battle School curve upwards. There's a scene where Ender shoots with his legs in front as a shield in the Battle Room. And the final Dragon battle is almost a perfect recreation of what I imagined from the book (though I cringed in the earlier scene where Graff established arbitrary "points" rules and telegraphed the instant-win condition).

I'm going to have to watch it again to come to a real judgment, because the first time, I was reeling with anxiety about whether they would completely mess up a crucial moment from the book, and I'd sigh and nod each time I recognized something done well. Now that I've seen it once, I don't have that tension going in, so I can form a better opinion of the film as a a normal moviegoer, rather than a zealot for the integrity of the book.

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DDDaysh
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I'm so jealous of you guys who actually enjoyed it. I cringed through 90% of the movie because the dialogue was incredibly bad, very little of it felt natural because they kept trying to throw in lines from the book. They used dialogue to try to "sum up" whole huge chunks of the book, and for me it didn't work. Leave those parts out, if you must, but don't make the characters seem like they are giving us a book report.

Mostly, I was extremely disappointed because the movie absolutely failed to impart the depth of Ender's character and the tragic dichotomy of his life. MovieEnder seemed, to me, to have the persona of BookDink. He's smart and rebellious while still being responsible and mature for his years, but he's not Ender.

And I really disagree with miller on virtually every teen actor. Bean wasn't Bean, Dink wasn't Dink, and Petra was an absolute disaster. The young actress seemed talented enough, but the role they wrote for her was FAR too soft for Petra. Alai and Valentine actually felt true-to-the-book for me, but we didn't see Val enough for it to matter, and the fact that they didn't cast Alai as black bugged me. And Bonzo was just ridiculous, nothing more can really be said on that score.

Oddly, the casting I thought was the worst when I first heard about it - Graff and Mazer - turned out to be the best. Graff seemed too old, and I don't know how well Ford could really carry off the character if we were talking about the larger series, but he was surprisingly convincing in the film. And Kingsley as Mazer seemed ridiculous when I heard about it, but he was definitely the only person who made the book's character really come to life on the screen, at least for me. I was stunned at how well he seemed to carry it off.

Of course, the visuals were really amazing. The Battleroom was intense. It gave a depth and seriousness that my own mental images couldn't compete with. The Giant's drink, while far different from what I pictured, was still amazing to see. And the visual picture of the "swarming" behavior was very impressive. I liked those parts.

If the visuals could have been removed as mere "clips" to give a reality to what the book is describing, they would have been well worth it.

But the movie, as a movie, wasn't very good. There was nothing very special about it. My 9-year-old likes it because there were space ships and things blew up, but that's all it really had going for it.

The movie as an adaptation of the book, was terrible. It failed to convey any of the important aspects of the truly important emotional aspects of the story line. The characters were mangled. It just didn't work. It's the worst adaptation I've seen since Prince Caspian (though that may be because I try to avoid seeing adaptations of books I've actually read).

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GaalDornick
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The polite golf clap from the Strategos when Ender won the war almost ruined the movie for me. That was the perfect moment for a moving and powerful celebration scene. Instead we get "Oh cool, we won the war we spent a whole lot of money launching and we just destroyed an entire planet/civilization. Neat."
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Lyrhawn
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DDDaysh -

Agree on the dialogue, on all counts. I think some of it could have worked better if they'd slowed down the pace, but yeah.

Agree on Ender. I've written elsewhere that they totally robbed his character of character depth. He did a lot of stuff because he needed to for the plot, not because it really made much sense for the character. For example, quitting the Battle School and wanting to go home, what was all that about?

As for the other actors, I agree that they wrote Petra mostly wrong. They mentioned the "Mama Petra" line at the beginning and proceeded to make her his vulnerable best friend. I don't think there was a romance happening, I think it only looks that way because it's a male-female pairing. But she's far too soft. I kept getting Alai and Bean mixed up because, well, they were pretty much the same. They looked the same, and they didn't have personalities or characterization that really separated them. They should have cut one of them and actually done something with the other. None of the secondary characters mattered other than Petra. Bernard arguably had a bigger role than Dink, Bean and Alai.

Ford was a very good Graff. I think they could have written him a little better, but he did a good job at it. Kingsley was an okay Mazer, but they really didn't do much with him for it to matter. Frankly I think they could have lifted Mazer right out of the story. Explaining who he was and everything just robbed more time from Ender. They never developed the working relationship they did in the book, which made him a waste.

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Emreecheek
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It had bad bad bad bad bad bad bad dialogue, I think.

So much passive voice. SO MUCH.

Apart from that, I thought it did as well as it could do. Except I thought the moral issues were a bit more straight-forward (Almost like bullet-points) and less complex. I thought the reveal was anti-climactic. And I wish they would have made clear Valentine's role to play at the lake. Just two more lines of dialogue or something.

That was the most frustrating thing, actually. I felt like virtually every scene was two lines of dialogue away from being really, really spot on.

Well, that, or the fact that they never really showed us Ender being smart. Just people telling us how smart Ender is.

Overall, I did like the movie though. Again, I think they did about as good as they could in that medium.

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PSI Teleport
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Random: the only actor in the entire movie that didn't seem to be acting was the guy who played Bonzo.
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GaalDornick
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But what is it really that harder to find someone to play such a simple role that was bigger than Ender? Did they even try?
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PSI Teleport
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I don't know. It seemed like they tried to combine Rose and Bonzo into one character.
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DDDaysh
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I gotta wonder if Asa just really grew ALOT between casting and (or during) filming. That might be part of why the bully angle just didn't work very well. I mean, Harrison Ford isn't exactly a short guy, and Asa just doesn't even seem that much smaller than HIM in alot of the scenes. Maybe casing someone that could look like a real physical threat to Ender wasn't as easy as it seems like it should have been.


quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
But what is it really that harder to find someone to play such a simple role that was bigger than Ender? Did they even try?


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DDDaysh
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Haha, now I feel like an idiot. I went to look up their heights and saw that the producer actually commented on his growth!
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BlackBlade
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Can I just say the hive queen was absolutely fantastically rendered? She was just stunning.
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millernumber1
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I quite liked her, thought the crown thing struck me as a bit over the top. But the expressions and movement were great!
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Lyrhawn
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I've yet to see anyone say anything negative about her appearance.

It was really quite perfect.

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DDDaysh
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I thought so too. It was interesting to see her so insectile and yet.... not. Maybe I was reading too much into it, but they seemed to be able to convey non-verbal communication without really using too many human non-verbal cues.

I guess if I HAD to pick a complaint, I wasn't thrilled that she was white. I would have liked a slightly less "ice queen" appearance, but that's really grasping at straws.

All in all, I had good thoughts about most of the visual effects in the movie.

quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I've yet to see anyone say anything negative about her appearance.

It was really quite perfect.


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Kwea
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Hated the ending, and how he found the Queen.
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Mhoram
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quote:
The Stilson incident was brutal. The Bonzo incident seemed like a tragic accident.
This may have bugged me more than anything else in the movie. They handled the Stilson fight true to the book, but then chickened out on the Bonzo fight, turning it into an accident (and not necessarily fatal). Ender didn't accidentally kill Bonzo; he deliberately set out to end the fight as efficiently and quickly as possible without regard to the consequences, just as with Stilson, just as with the buggers -- which was the whole point and why he was the one who could win the war.

On Bonzo: I read the book to my students and then took them to the movie, and as soon as Bonzo walked up to Ender, they started giggling, and one whispered, "Why is he so short?" Ender's supposed to be the "pinprick," and his aristocratic Spanish commander doesn't even come up to his shoulder!

Another thing that struck me as odd was how they inserted some lines that seemed to have no purpose but to give readers of the book something to recognize. For instance, Bean's introduction and explanation of his name -- who cares, since his character was never developed an inch beyond that point. Even Peter and Ender being a Third -- there was so little followup on that that the movie would have worked just as well if it had been dropped. If you have to cut out 90% of a book to fit it into 2 hours, it seems odd to keep a handful of lines that don't mean anything without that 90%.

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theamazeeaz
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Finally saw it. I agree with what everyone else said to a slightly smaller degree, though I was much less bitter about it. I do think they missed the gravitas of how damn tired everyone was. No one likes training montages ... but this movie needed lots of them.

The movie has its own continuity, and I thought the idea of Ender's parents paying for another kid to be good in school was fantastic.

The other line that was not from the book that I loved, was the comparison Graff made of the the pre-emptive war to Ender punching Stilston in the stomach.

I liked Moises Arias as Bonzo. Remember he is quite short for a man in real life-- Wikipedia says 5'5". Though yeah, the height difference was awkward His youthful looks is what got him in this movie-- he's actually 19, and if you look at his muscles and physique compared to Asa's, there's quite a difference. . He's both Hispanic and has a habit of playing horrible characters-- though Rico from Hannah Montana was more of the cartoon villian nasty, so I'm glad to see he can act without being campy. Back five or six years ago when he was even smaller and no one believed this movie would actually happen, I thought he would have been a fantastic Bean. I thought he did as good a job as anyone who is that much shorter than our young hero could at conveying threatening body language.

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by DDDaysh:
and the fact that they didn't cast Alai as black bugged me.

I .. actually liked that they didn't. Canonically Alai was "black" based on certain lines that got removed from the later versions of the novel. I found that infamous exchange a little odd mostly because if the characters were explicitly identified as being of a certain race besides matching their names with places, I missed it before the epithets were thrown out. Also, taking a kid who is supposed be from somewhere that they speak Arabic and then calling him a name for 19th century American slaves always seemed off.

I know that there are loads of muslims in present-day Africa, particularly Nigeria and Kenya, but I had always thought of the character as "brown" as in dark skinned, not African, but rather arab or middle eastern or south Asian. I also suspect that expectation might have confused the audience as well.

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theamazeeaz
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But most importantly it was a bummer Asa Butterfield couldn't walk through anyone's legs without touching their balls. That's my favorite line in the books, because deep down, I'm a 12 year old boy.
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vineyarddawg
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quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
Finally saw it. I agree with what everyone else said to a slightly smaller degree, though I was much less bitter about it. I do think they missed the gravitas of how damn tired everyone was. No one likes training montages ... but this movie needed lots of them.

The movie has its own continuity, and I thought the idea of Ender's parents paying for another kid to be good in school was fantastic.

The other line that was not from the book that I loved, was the comparison Graff made of the the pre-emptive war to Ender punching Stilston in the stomach.

I liked Moises Arias as Bonzo. Remember he is quite short for a man in real life-- Wikipedia says 5'5". Though yeah, the height difference was awkward His youthful looks is what got him in this movie-- he's actually 19, and if you look at his muscles and physique compared to Asa's, there's quite a difference. . He's both Hispanic and has a habit of playing horrible characters-- though Rico from Hannah Montana was more of the cartoon villian nasty, so I'm glad to see he can act without being campy. Back five or six years ago when he was even smaller and no one believed this movie would actually happen, I thought he would have been a fantastic Bean. I thought he did as good a job as anyone who is that much shorter than our young hero could at conveying threatening body language.

Oh wow, I never thought of that... but yeah, Moises Arias would have been a very good Bean.
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Samprimary
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half in the bag did Ender's Game

http://redlettermedia.com/half-in-the-bag-enders-game-and-thor-the-dark-world/

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