Ender’s Game is one of my favorite books. Ever. Therefore, I was extremely wary of the movie coming out. Did it pass my strict movie requirements? Find out below.
The plot for Ender’s Game was similar in both movie and book. Luckily, they didn’t try to change the plot too much for the movie. In fact, most of the events that I liked from the story were present in the book. There was less profanity and roughness in the movie, and of course, all the characters were older; but even though they cut many of the scenes out, I didn’t really feel like the plot missed anything. The only gripe I have with the plot of the movie is that they left out Peter and Valentine and those two were always my favorite. When I first read the book around age 12, I thought Peter and I could be really good friends (which probably tells you that I am a horrible person. 🙂 )
I also had two small issues with the plot. They give no explanation for why they were using the rope in the battle room, and the Petra battle substitution was just dumb.
What I did like about the movie plot was the reference to the speaker for the dead, which I thought was a nice touch. Maybe they will make more Ender movies!
Other Plot Issues
- Lack of fairyland scenes
- Valentine not going to space
- Early discovery of the queen’s egg
- No actual deaths
The characters is where I felt the movie failed the most. Although the characters that I thought I would hate I liked just fine (Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff and a woman as Major Anderson), I didn’t really like any of the main characters. I had two issues with the way the characters unfolded. First, they were simply too old. It doesn’t seem startling or all that amazing to have teens in battle school. Secondly, the characters were too underdeveloped. All of them basically had no personality- even Ender. I thought Ender was too weak and they played up his non-violent side too much. The thing I always enjoyed the most about Ender was that although he wanted to be Valentine, he was definitely more Peter as a child. This makes him highly effective at demolishing his enemy, but he drives himself crazy with guilt afterwards. There was none of that feeling in the movie. But, as my husband pointed out, most of the craziness happened in Ender’s head, which is difficult to portray on screen.
Another character issue that I couldn’t get over was how short the Bonzo character was. He was like, 5 feet tall, maybe? It just looked comical, not intimidating. I don’t know why they chose him as the actor.
The most interesting thing about the setting was the period in which it was written. Ender’s Game was published in 1985, and it was actually based on a short story written before than in 1977. The short story was about the zero gravity battle room, if I recall.
In 1985, there were very few of the technologies that we have today like personal computers, instant messaging, and streaming video. The thing that I found the most interesting about the movie version of this story is that all of those things are commonplace now. The ansible network basically exists now. We could probably make those monitoring devices if anyone wanted to monitor children that closely.
So, the main difference that I found between the two stories was simply that the movie didn’t feel that futuristic. It was a little strange, actually, seeing how many of those things actually exist now.
I’m not sure why, but I always felt like the Ender universe was a little boxier and a little darker. The movie version was sleek and clean. Because of that, it just didn’t feel right to me. However, I thought the battle school environment was done well. I loved the zero gravity room and how they did the command school battles.
Well, there is no way this movie is better than the book, but it was not as bad as I feared. I’d give it 3 stars as a remake of the story, which is pretty good. The best thing about the movie is that it is giving the book more attention, which might have fallen out of popularity due to its age.
So, watch the movie if you like, but do yourself a favor and read the book. It’s amazingness should not be hidden.