I’ll never forget reading Ender’s Game in the ninth grade and realizing that, probably, like Ender, all of my own awkwardness could be solved by getting selected for battle school where I would learn that my problem the whole time was that I was just smarter and more tactical and generally awesomer than everyone else and once they put me in charge I would become a war hero and have lots of friends. Probably.
I really, really loved that book. Not as much the sequels, though I did like the companion novel that came out focusing on Bean. But I really never expected there to be a movie. The author himself often said it couldn’t be made into a movie because the whole thing basically takes place inside Ender’s head. Also, most of the characters are kids, which presents a unique challenge in movie making, and the kids age, in Ender’s case ten years over the course of the book.
Well, director and screen writer Gavin Hood manages it. He manages it all, beautifully. Ender’s Game is an enjoyable film and a masterful adaptation.
There are some big cuts to the storyline, of course, notably most of what happens back on Earth concerning Ender’s siblings Peter and Valentine. Petra’s role is increased and her frailty minimized, and the whole thing has been condensed in time. But all of those decisions really end up enhancing the story on the screen.
The casting and acting is great, the battle scenes are impressive, the futurism of the world is creative without being distracting. The ending felt a bit rushed and seemed like it might be confusing if you weren’t familiar with the plot, but since I’ve read the book, I knew what was going on.
I haven’t let my 11 year old son read the book yet, because of the locker room humor and the brutality of the fight scenes, but that too is toned down in the movie. The movie is rated PG13, but I think it could be viewed by kids a little younger than that without a problem.
Apparently there are folks attempting to organize a boycott of the movie to protest Orson Scott Card’s support for traditional marriage. So I’m glad the husband and I were able to get out and see it tonight on opening weekend. If you are a fan of the book, I highly recommend this adaptation.