Ender’s Game was released in 2013 and was directed by Gavin Hood. It’s a science fiction action movie based on the novel written by Orson Scott Card. The movie stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld, and Ben Kingsley. Once I heard one of my favorite books was being turned into a movie, I was a bit skeptical as a lot of fans were. How could the studios do justice to such a masterful story? Well, let’s just say they didn’t.
(Description from IMDb) Young Ender Wiggin is recruited by the International Military to lead the fight against the Formics, a genocidal alien race which nearly annihilated the human race in a previous invasion.
While this is quite a basic description of Ender’s Game, it pretty much sums up what the movie was focused on. There was little character development within the movie. The book covers a span of 7 years of Ender’s life, whereas the movie has no sense of passing time. It felt as though all the different events that happened to Ender spanned only a year or two. It’s understandable that they wouldn’t want to cover that much time since that would likely require more than one actor to portray some characters. Unfortunately that takes away from one of the biggest aspects of the book which was that Ender spent half his childhood in the military.
One of the things I enjoyed a lot within the book was the relationship between Ender and his siblings. Valentine kept Ender sane throughout the novel, and Peter was a constant reminder of what Ender could become. One of reasons Ender was so compassionate was because Peter was always there reminding Ender of the monster he could otherwise be. On the other hand, Peter was a complex character that had a hard time expressing his love to Ender. In the movie, Valentine and Peter had hardly any screen time, they were almost completely overlooked. It seemed as though Petra was used to replace Valentine, which I didn’t like since there was no real connection besides being a love interest.
Many key points were missing in the movie. There is not enough emphasis put on how important the “mind game” is that Ender is playing in Battle School. Of course, it’s talked about and the visuals were decent, but the game is there to demonstrate just how intellectual Ender is and how different he is compared to other students. The ending was another area that was completely changed for the film. I won’t spoil anything major, but Petra was not supposed to be there and Ender was supposed to be older. This basically told me that the studios were not interested in continuing with the Ender’s Game timeline properly, and we would most likely not be getting a sequel (not that I want one at this point).
The acting was not terrible, but it wasn’t great either. Several of the actors stood out while most of the cast was average. Some of my favorites were Bonzo (Moises Arias) and Bean (Aramis Knight), even though Bean didn’t get as many lines as I was hoping for. Everyone else, to me, was alright. None of the actors/actresses stand out above anyone else.
I feel like Ender’s Game was only used to gain the studios money for their next projects; it did not seem as if there was a lot of care put into making this film. The only reason I didn’t give this movie a rating of 1/5 is because the battle room was done quite well, and it was nice to see that come to life. Other than that, I didn’t enjoy this film at all. I mostly slouched down in my chair and kept shaking my head throughout the movie. I’m sure the movie would have been a fun and entertaining film for me had I not read the book, but alas, I did read the book, and this movie was a huge disappointment to me. If you want to delve into the world of Ender’s Game, please just read the book and skip the movie. As a lot of book lovers say, “Do not judge the book based on the movie.”
Feel free to tell me what you thought of the movie. I would really like to know others’ opinions on this subject, whether you read the book or not.
My Rating: ★★