Ender’s Game – Discussion


Assuming that many here have seen the movie, there will be spoilers ahead…

The consensus seems to be that it was “alright”.  Anybody want to argue that it was great?  Terrible?

What could have made it better?  The book was long thought to be unfilmable.  Are the unfilmable aspect what was missing?

Personally, I think that the flaw of the movie was very similar to the way in which Man of Steel was flawed.  I didn’t buy the tragedy.  Though the movie tried to sell me the idea that Ender loved the Formics (it planted the seed rather ham-handedly right at the start and watered it throughout) I didn’t buy it.  They broke the rule of “show, don’t tell” relentlessly.

Perhaps the book really was unfilmable as a movie.  It seems to me that a six to ten hour mini-series with a smaller budget could have put the story on the screen more effectively.  They should have aimed to be a new Game of Thrones rather than a new Hunger Games.


13 thoughts on “Ender’s Game – Discussion

  1. I liked it. I haven’t read the book in years and years. I kept thinking that if I didn’t know the twist I would have been thinking “why is the movie spending so much time on just the training–shouldn’t the movie be over soon? How long is this going to be?”

    I was glad they didn’t make any overt romance between Ender and Petra.

  2. I was also sad that they didn’t have time to show the political manipulations that Val and Peter were involved with as Demosthenes and Locke, that would have been a great side-plot. I assumed they filmed it in such a way that it could stand alone without leaving too many loose ends, in case they couldn’t justify sequels. I also was a bit disappointed that they soft-pedaled Ender’s fights with Stilson and Bonzo, since one of the significant parts of Ender’s personality is that he fights to make sure his enemy can never attack him again. He is, as his name connotes, an “Ender”. All the same, I realized there was only so much you can pack into a 2 hour movie, so I thought they did the best they could, considering.

  3. Susan,

    The movie kept me guessing as to whether there was going to be romance or not. I dreaded that more than the formics.


    The thing that I don’t get is how they thought that they could do a series of sequels. Though it looks now like that is a moot point as the box-office isn’t large enough to justify more films. But what would they film? They made Bean and Peter such minor characters that the Shadow books don’t seem like an option. They covered Ender in Exile in about 5 minutes of screen time. There is no way that they would make Speaker for the Dead, as Card has said he wouldn’t allow it to be made into a movie since all it would be is people sitting around talking, punctuated by scenes of vivisection that don’t make sense until the end. And if they can’t make Speaker, then there is no entry point for the other Ender books.

    Card announced this week that there will be more sequels, that I assume will cover the colonization of the conquered formic worlds. I assume that those stories will have more space for some traditional sci-fi plots. But so far, the most “cinematic” of the Ender books was Ender’s game, and it was obviously difficult to adapt.

    I’ll note that I’ve read the two prequels. The less said the better.

  4. I thought it was alright. What could have made it better would be more relationships. There was no reason I believed that Ender cared for Petra, Dink, Alai, Bean and Bernard. An extra ten minutes to show how he relied on them as he moved up in his command, how they were taken from him as friendships blossomed and how they were his competitors at the end of battle school would have made their reunion at the command school feel more exciting. Instead they seemed to be random people that didn’t hate Ender.

    Also – the fight seen with Bernard lacked any real sense of the desperation that Ender displayed in the book. In the movie, it was an accidental death done in self defense. In the book, it was a calculated event.

  5. I was bored to tears. The story line felt contrived, and the screenplay was dismal. No sequels coming out of this turkey–it is a dead ender.

  6. It was truly terrible. They didn’t develop anything that was interesting in the book. Ender really didn’t do anything during battle school to warrant anyone thinking he was special. There was no reason to promote him or put him in command of anything. There was basically no character development in the whole movie to give anyone reason to care about a single character. The book revolves around the battles and they skipped everything interesting from that section of the book. As far as I could tell he was in battle school less than a week. Awful.

  7. Just watched it yesterday. I agree that as a movie it wasn’t compelling at all. While I think the actors did very well with what they got, the screenplay did not allow for any decent character development or a reason for me to care that the humans should annihilate the formics.

    I listend to a 20 minute long interview with OSC, and how he’s been waiting for years to partner with the right people to turn it into a movie. I appreciate that he wanted to stay true to the book. (He had many in Hollywood who wanted to turn Ender into a 16-year-old boy with a real love interest.) However, the screenplay fell short in getting the viewer to care about anything at all. So sad….I was hoping!

  8. I completely agree that the actors did well with what they had, but I thought the screenplay was awful. In view of the horrible things OSC has said about homosexuals, including his statement that homosexuals should be imprisoned, made me frankly delighted that the movie was a flop.

  9. Okay, so I finally watched Ender’s Game, and I agree with your assessment, John. This was a B movie that could have been an A movie if it had been more artfully crafted. Way too much exposition in the first half, and a little heavy-handed in it’s treatment of the thematic material. They also telegraphed the “twist” ending in a way that I don’t remember the book ever doing. I would have liked to see the characters filled in a bit more. Bean, in particular, got short shrift.

    I also think the movie’s tone was way too somber, but that may be the fault of the source material more than anything else.

    On the positive side, I thought the acting was very good, and the effects weren’t bad at all.

  10. I love that. Hilarious. Would it be too provocative if I say that I thought it had definite homoerotic tendencies in a kind of creepy way?

  11. I absolutely loved Ender’s Games. To me i feel it had real world implication deeply nested with in that speak about our own society and values. for instance, the fact that the aliens only invaded once, yet the commanding officers made it seem, to the youth that the alien were trying to take over. tisk tisk.

  12. I wish they had made a TV mini-series out of the story. So many TV shows are better than feature movies these days anyway. Two hours just wasn’t enough to capture the greatness of the book.

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