Ender’s Game (2013)

Ender's Game (2013) movie poster

director Gavin Hood
viewed: 11/02/2013

It’s not that Ender’s Game looked promising, but the kids and I had read Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel a couple of years back and had enjoyed it quite well.  Unlike most fans of the book, we hadn’t been waiting decades for a cinematic adaptation.  But it had been a long while since we’d been to the theater and it looked moderately worthwhile.

Starring Asa Butterfield (Hugo (2011)), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit (2010)), and Ben Kingsley and a very gruff, tired and old-sounding Harrison Ford, it’s no slouch in terms of the production values.

But like so many adaptations, it suffers from trying to cram the whole thing into the time frame of a regular film.  What’s lost is the pacing and development of the story and character of Ender Wiggin, the child who is raised to lead the human army against a race of killer aliens.  In fact, it’s such a rush through the story, even knowing it pretty well, I was often almost left in the dust.

The novel and story are a rather harsh critique of education, society, militarization, war, and a plethora of other things.  Society develops its high-functioning specialists to ends and means that the specialists won’t even understand themselves, until it is much too late.

The book was quite good.  I definitely recommend the book.

The movie, on the other hand, really seemed like a pointless exercise.  Not that it was so bad or anything.  It just squandered the story while trying to stay true to it.  Nothing of quality added, only qualities lost.   You could pretty much see that in the trailers, that it didn’t wow or impress, even in anticipation if you had enjoyed the book.

The kids both agreed.  A rather pointless exercise for us all.


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