Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ender's Game Review

A short time ago, my wife and I decided to see Ender's Game.  It had long been one of my favorite books, and preparing to watch it, we read the full Ender quartet, and started onto the Shadow books. 

I had intended to try to review the movie as if I hadn't read the book numerous times, but I found that rather too difficult.  

If you haven't read the book, you may not understand this review.

Warning this review contains spoilers.

One gripe is that if someone hasn't read the book, the movie poster has a THE major spoiler right out in the open.  It would kind of kill the surprise if you had no idea as to the storyline. 

"THIS IS NOT A GAME"  kind of ruins the suspense if you don't know it's coming.

Personally I felt as if the movie were kind of an overview of the book.  It just touched on the high points, and I'm not 100% sure I would have even been able to follow the plot if I hadn't read the book. It seemed rather disjointed, and some necessary exposition was noticeably missing.

The main problem I have with the movie is that when Ender is given command of Dragon Army, there is nothing showing the accelerated pace of his command or giving that feeling.  They only show his final battle against two armies, one of which is Salamander in this version. 

The other battles are handled showing Graff  looking a list of teams ranked by place on his computer, and Dragon moving up to the top.

They go in to the final battle with the idea of trying a formation, and the others talk about never having tried a formation, but the entire context for that is missing.  Indeed several key moments in Battle School are missing, that could have been added back with just 10 to 15 minutes of additional time.  I can only hope that the DVD edition has deleted scenes, or is extended to add in something there.

The visuals were completely stunning, and the movie is worth seeing just for that.  The battle room, though completely different from the descriptions in the book is wonderfully done.   The Battle Simulator is very good and quite realistic looking. The method Ender has of controlling his view seem interesting and believable. 

The acting is done by children who need more experience, but that is forgivable because though they still seem a little awkward in the roles, they do very well for their age.

I found many of the justified changes to the book jarring, but I think I would have found any changes jarring, so maybe they weren't so bad.  It's so hard to tell if they actually did justice to one of my favorite pieces of fiction or not, or even if it would be possible to live up to my expectations.

I give it four out of five stars.

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