I’m gonna be honest. I totally thought it was Saturday. Despite the fact that I went to two classes today, I somehow managed to forget that A) it isn’t the weekend, and B) I have a history exam tomorrow. So, yeah, I got nothing for my usual monday night post, but I saw Ender’s Game this weekend, so in the spirit of procrastination, I’m gonna talk about that.
Now before I dive into things I should say that I have never read the books. Don’t ask me how or why or what, I just haven’t. I recognize that everyone I’ve ever talked to has recommended this book, I’m sure it’s awesome. I assure you that it is very high on my reading list. I should also say that books 2 and 3 of Lord of the Rings, as well as The Hunger Games, are also on that list, and they have priority, so it’s going to be a while until I get to this one, don’t rush me. But in the meantime let’s talk about the movie! Also there are some major spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned.
For those of you who don’t know what Ender’s Game is, it’s like Halo if you replaced Master Chief, with a hormonal teenybopper (side note: Teenybopper is my word of the day). The most notable similarity is the ships, Ender’s Game shares the same bulky dark gray style frigates as Bungie’s popular shooter (to be clear I’m talking about Halo still). Sorry, I’m nerding out, what I mean to say is the visuals look damn sexy. Back to belittling the work of dozens of dedicated writers, producers, and crew people.
The one word I would use to describe Ender’s Game would be: rushed. The issues this movie faces are all related to the inherent difficulties of fitting a full length novel into the space of a 2-hour film. The entire sub-plot about Peter/Valentine is gone (BTW thanks to my friends who completely spoiled that whole part), and what are actually months, if not years, worth of education are squeezed into what feels like a few days. At one point in the movie Ender is barely able to aim his taser gun thingy, and maybe two scenes later he’s dual-wielding, spinning around, and doing flips in zero gravity, taking out an entire group of opposing teenyboppers. The director in me feels like they could have easily fixed this by using a few montages. I mean honestly, all they had to do was interlay some epic training sequences, with You’re the Best Around and boom you’re movie doesn’t feel as rushed, but I guess Gavin Hood’s “above that”.
The acting in Ender’s Game is mixed. Harrison Ford is great as…that army guy, because it’s freaking Harrison Ford, when has he never been amazing. Asa Butterfeild’s Ender was good, he did a very good job at looking really confused when Harrison Ford’s character kept randomly announcing to the world how smart he was. Really the only weird thing was the guy they picked to be the antagonist Bonzo. For some reason they picked a guy who was Tom Cruise sized.
I’m pretty sure Bonzo is supposed to be this big menacing guy in the battle school, but this guy looks short and unintimidating. When the clearly younger Asa Butterfield is looking down at this guy, as he gets in his face, the whole scene just looks comical. They didn’t even do a good job hiding it. I don’t know what it says about the movie, and I don’t resent it for it, it’s just funny.
Overall Ender’s Game is a solid film, and definitely a fun movie. It falls prey to the classic pitfalls of a book turned into a movie, and fails to reach the depth a story like this one deserves. While, lacking clarity and depth, Ender’s Game looks damn sexy, and it’s battle sequences are badass in their own right. I definitely recommend seeing this movie, you won’t regret it (unless you read the book, in which case you might). On a scale of mongoose to catamaran, I give Ender’s Game a solid Scyther.