02 Nov 2013

Ender’s Game: Already Waiting for the Remake

out-and-about, Personal 3 Comments

Do you remember those advertisements in the 80’s & 90’s for greatest hits albums? $19.99 buys you *all* the best songs of the 50’s, 60’s AND 70’s! But it turns out everything has been redone by a passable but far from stellar cover band? That’s Ender’s Game the movie. To be fair, despite its size, Ender’s Game the book actually covers the same amount of ground as all seven of JK Rowlings Harry Potter books (a prepubescent boy with remarkable potential starts, survives, and saves the world by growing up and graduating from a special school) and Harry had almost 20 hours of screen time to tell his story. Imagine Daniel Ratcliff trying to condense his entire character arch into less than two hours.

The problem is that Ender’s Game the movie takes a scatter shot approach to cutting down the story. Instead of showing Ender’s entire childhood consumed by his training this movie seems to take place in an afternoon. For a visual medium this movie is a lot of telling and very little showing. We are told at several points that months have passed but we don’t see it. . . Most of the memorable lines are there but none of the action made it. . . The battle school scenes are cut down to a few dramatic training flights and … that’s it. Oh, we get bits of the last battle but it makes no sense if you haven’t read the book . . . Graff says Ender should be isolated and then Ender spends most of the movie surrounded by friends. . . The shower scene is there but the death is an accident.

What was good? Ben Kingsley. I had *huge* misgivings about him in that role but he was awesome. In fact most of the acting–given the terrible script and direction–wasn’t bad but Kingsley (despite having the smallest role of anyone with top billing) was the only character with a clear arch. I actually wanted to see more of his strange maori mashup.

So Hollywood you messed this one up but after all the endless failed Superman reboots maybe could you redo this movie again in say five years? Only next time get Fernando Meirelles to direct it.



Oh, and what happened to calling them “buggers”?!

3 Responses to “Ender’s Game: Already Waiting for the Remake”

  1. Engin_ears says:

    Agreed. I enjoyed the film, but it simply didn’t do justice to the story.

    Reboot required.

  2. Andrew Lancaster says:

    Just read the book for the first time then watched the movie for the first time. I agree with you completely (and the other comment). Ugh, I really hope this happens.

  3. Peggy Hendrix says:

    You are SO right- but way too kind about it! They totally lost the feeling of the book.The differences were major and crippling to the script. I can’t even try to mention all that “bugged” me. A few of the things that, to me, would have to be different to make a good remake are fundamental. 1- Ender’s age-he can’t start off looking about 10- you lose all the vulnerability and innocence, 2. They really do not go into Valentine’s and Peter’s personalities and the family dynamics. 3. The whole Battle School experience is RIDICULOUSLY undeveloped! They bring Bean in on the Shuttle-really?? Ender TRAINED Bean. Even small stuff like Dap’s character-why ruin him-“I’m the only one here that’s paid to be nice to you…” “Dap had a roomful of friends, frightened children are so easy to win.” And the thing that most annoyed me was the actor choice of Bonzo Madrid – in the book Ender sees Bonzo for the first time and thinks ” I would follow such beauty” the actor is not good looking – but mostly he’s supposed to be years older than Ender- Ender not yet 7 and Bonzo 11-12 and yet Bonzo is head and shoulders SHORTER than Ender. Truthfully they totally lost me when Moisés Arias walked in. I know I’ve gone too long but I was really disappointed- as you can tell. Thanks for giving me a place to Vent.

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