Many adaptations of popular franchises have gone over quite well in the last few years. The Harry Potter movies where critically acclaimed, and loved by the fans. It is not impossible to adapt a book to film in a way that will please the fans.
Some books lend themselves to this better than others.
Ender’s Game was not one of those.
I do not blame the director or really anyone involved with its creation. It just turns out that Ender’s Game is not something that can be adapted to an hour and a half movie.
To condense a 300+ pages to a movie is already a daunting task, the director had to cut away any unnecessary parts of the story. Making it possible for the movie to be actually a reasonable amount of time.
That’s the problem, Ender’s game is like an onion, it is built of overlapping layers. Everything that happens in the story is based on a previous event. If any part is removed it actually makes it incomprehensible. A friend of mine who was not familiar with the book could not understand what was going on.
So the story came off as a mess. That is its biggest flaw, the various pieces of the film where actually quite good.
To say that this movie is pretty is an understatement, the special effects are quite imaginative. As a fan of the book I loved being able to see all of the various sci-fi elements on a big screen. With the Battle school game arena being the most impressive part. It is just a shame that the pacing the movie has to keep up prevented any of the creative sets from being on the screen for more than five minutes. It jumps from set-piece to set-piece with a fervor unmatched by any other movie since Star Wars episode 1.
The movie must have cost a fortune, because they had many scenes of some serious all out CGI. The Fantasy Games being the stand out among the many impressive scenes.
But all that techno wizardry comes at a serious price, the cast is tiny. Anyone from the book that did not need to be used, was cut. Groups of individuals that were supposed to be in the hundreds are lowered down to only about 20ish. Their is even a pseudo plot hole were a character shows up where he could not have been, so they could get more usage out of the actor.
The biggest issue that I have thou, is the reduction of the battle room games. They are only shown playing two games, each one lasting about five minutes. That defeats the whole point of the story, it is called Ender’s Game because he plays war games. He learns the strategies that makes him an excellent commander during those games. The battles are always based around the new clever ideas that Ender comes up with. It is a huge part of his character development and they cut it to nothing. His feeling of rebellion are justified because of how they force him to fight constantly in the battle arena.
As an introduction to the series for a possible new fan, it fails in almost every regard. It does not explain enough, and any thing it does is relegated to a few sentences.
But as a fan of the book, it serves a chance to get to see all of the characters and set pieces in the flesh. Which is a definite reason to see it, just read the book first.
- Score: 5/10
- Rewatch Value: Low