I promised a review of the Ender’s Game movie two weeks ago nearly a month ago (and it’s been written since the day I saw the movie . . . ). Oops.
I alluded to it when I reviewed the book, but I wasn’t impressed with the movie. I’ve been telling people not to bother watching the movie—just read the book.
I suppose if you’ve already read it, you might enjoy comparing the two. If you don’t know the story at all, skip the movie and just read the book. At least read the book first.
The movie was everything I thought the book was going to be—flat characters in space suits fighting battles with aliens. But the book was so much more than that because of the character development and complexity of the plot. It went beyond the physical storyline and allowed you to understand the characters and their motivations. That’s what got me past my ill opinion of science fiction and made me love and empathize with Ender. The movie didn’t do that for me.
One of the most disappointing aspects of the movie was Ender’s age. I knew before I even saw it that they couldn’t make him only six. In the first chapters the book, his young age magnified the significance of his prodigy and the effects of his training. Because he was older in the movie—about 11—and because the movie failed to show the passage of time (it seemed to be a year rather than several), Ender lost the time necessary to develop the long-term side effects of his training and he lost the young innocence that made his story so fascinating.
I was also bummed that the secondary storyline with Ender’s siblings, Valentine and Peter, was completely ignored in the movie. It wasn’t my favorite part of the book, but its absence hindered the full development of Ender’s character. Without an understanding of the people who were closest to Ender, you can’t fully grasp why Ender loves Valentine and hates Peter.
So I give it two buggers out of five, if only because it was something to remind me how wonderful the original story was.