Escape to the Movies: Ender's Game

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Ender's Game

MovieBob gives us a spoiler filled review of Ender's Game.

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So it ain't great, but it ain't terrible, and Moviebob's upset they didn't do more than adapt it fairly accurately and the big twist isn't handled too well.

Fine by me. I'm in it for the tactics. That's why I loved the book.

Why is Bob upset about it being November? Is he upset that he doesn't get to talk about Halloween anymore? Lacking any enthusiasm for the new next-gen entries (which is where I'm at with them)?

Er... wasn't the new Thor film supposed to be coming out today and this next week?

So it sounds like I'm going to completely adore this movie.

I've always felt that since the twist is one of the most well known in fiction, right up there with The Sixth Sense, the best way to play it would be to make it a surprise for Ender, but not the audience.

And I'm rather happy they got rid of the Earth stuff. His cartoonishly evil brother taking over the world via internet forums was completely silly in the book and it would have been silly on film.

I'm also glad they did away with the majority of the whining after the victory. The dirty xeno insect scum deserved every shot fired and if some humans were lost, so be it. After all, the only good bug is a dead bug.

I knew Bob was going to touch on (well, bludgeon would probably be a better word) the big "controversy" surrounding the movie, but at the very least I didn't think he'd stoop so low for his political leanings. Because what I took away from this was: Roman Polanski raped a teenage girl, and that's bad...a bit. So it's okay to like his movies! But Orson Scott Card isn't overly fond of gay people (but hasn't physically hurt anyone, just their feelings), and that's horrible. So let's all boycott his movie and shoot it down when any piece of drivel who's creator agreed with Bob would get a free pass, or at the very least a very light panning. While I didn't really care about seeing the movie and never read the books, I think now is the time to give Bob and all those like him a little poke in the eye. Amazon.com here I come, and tomorrow night I'm bringing friends.

Chessrook44:
So it ain't great, but it ain't terrible, and Moviebob's upset they didn't do more than adapt it fairly accurately and the big twist isn't handled too well.

Fine by me. I'm in it for the tactics. That's why I loved the book.

Then you'll be disappointed. "The enemy's gate is down" development happens in kind of a throw away moment during training and in a throwaway callback at Command School. The "let's do a formation" moment is wasted because they don't show any of the progression of Dragon army nor go through how groundbreaking Ender's innovations are. They demonstrate some tactics at Command school, but in mediocre ways. The first is giving the Formics a Khan-like weakness, second is a brief mention of the effect on gravity wells on 0g maneuvers, and the third is the utilization of hyperbolic cones as a three-dimensional wedge formation.... which people may miss if they haven't thought about space combat or read the book.

eck, just reading the synpsis of the book is enough to make me cringe, even now. the super miracle caucasian genius boy genre is just not my cup of tea

So wait, they got rid of the whole 'invented personalities pushing politics to the extreme for attention and gain, poisoning the well of public discourse' plot line?

You know, the one that's extremely relevant right now?
I guess they needed more time for CGI wanking.

MCerberus:
So wait, they got rid of the whole 'invented personalities pushing politics to the extreme for attention and gain, poisoning the well of public discourse' plot line?

You know, the one that's extremely relevant right now?
I guess they needed more time for CGI wanking.

I wasn't surprised they got rid of that. It wouldn't be easy to do, even with the aged up actors they already permitted themselves. Having seen the movie, of course they skipped those scenes. They skipped Rat army entirely and most of Salamander and Dragon.

MCerberus:
So wait, they got rid of the whole 'invented personalities pushing politics to the extreme for attention and gain, poisoning the well of public discourse' plot line?

You know, the one that's extremely relevant right now?
I guess they needed more time for CGI wanking.

That plot line is about a guy taking over the world via blogging.

It was silly in the 80's and time has not made it any less so.

Oh well, I didn't like the book and kinda figured that the movie would be mediocre as well.

Also, another jab at JJ Abbrams. Figured -_-

"Oh. November. Goodie"

Words never rang so true. I know this is an aside and I apologize for the indulgence. But I swear to anyone reading this, our Halloween merriment of last night was barely complete before I started seeing Christmas ads on some of the channels I watched as I tried to shake off last night's sugar high.

It was depressing to see Santa sticking his fat ass so far into the year. I know the economy in the US is still busted and retailers and content providers alike are desperate for a big push this year. I get it. But come on man. At least let the Milky Way caramel dissolve completely from my now rotting teeth before pushing "Holiday Cheer" in my face so blatantly.

MCerberus:
So wait, they got rid of the whole 'invented personalities pushing politics to the extreme for attention and gain, poisoning the well of public discourse' plot line?

You know, the one that's extremely relevant right now?
I guess they needed more time for CGI wanking.

When the book came out it MIGHT have seemed potentially feasible (You know, like how an AI going crazy and nearly starting nuclear war because it didn't know the difference between reality and a simulation, only to be defeated by making it play Tic Tac Toe with itself was potentially feasible back then) but now? Do you REALLY think such a thing is ANYWHERE in the realm of possibility?

Plus, it WAS kind of a side story. Ender was the main story.

LysanderNemoinis:
So it's okay to like his movies! But Orson Scott Card isn't overly fond of gay people (but hasn't physically hurt anyone, just their feelings), and that's horrible.

Actually he gave tons of money and support to anti-gay organisations and he still continues to do so.

Maybe I missed something but I kind of thought he'd of given a small chime in about the X-Men Trailer that recently came out.

Arslan Aladeen:
Why is Bob upset about it being November? Is he upset that he doesn't get to talk about Halloween anymore? Lacking any enthusiasm for the new next-gen entries (which is where I'm at with them)?

I think because it's the start of the awards season, which means a lot of art-house movies and other Oscar-bait, instead of movies being made because people wanted to make those movies.

OT: I felt a little off when I saw the battle scenes in the commercials. In the book, Ender plays a super-realistic RPG-style game in his "off time" (spoiler: It's another psychological analysis and manipulation tool), but the starship "training game" is just points of light moving around a 3D display.

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:
So it sounds like I'm going to completely adore this movie.

I've always felt that since the twist is one of the most well known in fiction, right up there with The Sixth Sense, the best way to play it would be to make it a surprise for Ender, but not the audience.

And I'm rather happy they got rid of the Earth stuff. His cartoonishly evil brother taking over the world via internet forums was completely silly in the book and it would have been silly on film.

I'm also glad they did away with the majority of the whining after the victory. The dirty xeno insect scum deserved every shot fired and if some humans were lost, so be it. After all, the only good bug is a dead bug.

Surprising Ender but not the audience could have been great; you still get the big fancy spectacle battles, then cut to Ender playing what he obviously thinks of as a game, because it looks nothing like the real thing.

Also, I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic (or if there's an Inquisitor standing behind you) with your last point. The whole closing of the book was Ender realising that the buggers didn't understand humans when they first invaded, and that they stopped once they understood they were destroying individuals rather than parts of a hive. Humans, meanwhile, were determined to win the war at all costs, up to and including genocide and child soldiers, although in reality there was no more need for any fighting. The miscommunication is the whole key of the twist ending.

Well, waiting for X: Rebirth and playing X as a fighter (i'm so bad, i have my own ammo and torpedo factory). The scenes look like such a game on a high-end PC with maybe texture and mesh-mods to push detail. I mean it is the future, this level of "graphics" could be normal for their games.

As someone who loved the book and thoroughly enjoyed the movie, I do pretty much have to agree with Bob on the simulation looking too real. However I thought all that was pretty obvious from the trailers, which gave the impression it was a real battle anyway. It was just disappointed there wasn't more. The film could have stood to be a good 30 minutes longer and I'm hoping for a director's cut that expands on what's there.

HardkorSB:

LysanderNemoinis:
So it's okay to like his movies! But Orson Scott Card isn't overly fond of gay people (but hasn't physically hurt anyone, just their feelings), and that's horrible.

Actually he gave tons of money and support to anti-gay organisations and he still continues to do so.

Didn't he also say that he would fight to violently overthrow the government if gay marriage became legal in the States (you know, until it actually happened)?

This is where movie reviewers will split off. There's reviewers who read the book, and reviewers who didn't read the book. The way most instances of this go, is the readers hate the movie for it not being 4 hours long and covering every nuance of the book's plotline. The non-readers will like or even love the movie for the way the big epic scenes are shot and the great, albeit compressed story. No surprise, this is exactly what's happening with Ender's Game. Jeremy Jahns in particular stated flat out that he did not want to read the book beforehand because he wanted to review the movie based on its own merits, and not on what was missing from the book. I myself haven't read the book since grade school which was XX years ago so it's not even remotely fresh in my mind. I plan on enjoying the movie as is when I see it, so no re-read for me.

On Orson Scott Card and his prejudice leanings, he's an old white male. That's to be expected. Most old white men are set in their ways and no matter how wrong their thinking is, they will never change. They simply do not have the malleable opinion that young or even middle-aged adults have. I have a neighbor that could very well be a distant relation to Card. When he starts spouting political opinions, I set my mind to sleep mode, grin and bear it because I know nothing I do will change his mind. We have this same problem with our political system, but that's a topic for another forum. Point is, if Card was paid a singular sum of cash for the movie, then not seeing it is taking cash away from the studio, not from Card himself. Unlike most modern artists, Card does not infuse his works with his political or religious leanings (I'm looking at you, Melissa Rosenberg and C.S. Lewis). This makes it really easy to separate the writer from his works. So, in my opinion, if you would like to see the movie because it's a good movie, then do that and forget the background noise for a couple hours.

Axolotl:

MCerberus:
So wait, they got rid of the whole 'invented personalities pushing politics to the extreme for attention and gain, poisoning the well of public discourse' plot line?

You know, the one that's extremely relevant right now?
I guess they needed more time for CGI wanking.

That plot line is about a guy taking over the world via blogging.

It was silly in the 80's and time has not made it any less so.

Silly yes, but human grounding for the book and serves to explore two competing parts of the main protagonist's personality pulling against each other. There's also the matter that right now US politics HAS been taken over by ridiculous pundits.

Point is, it's relevant.

Remus:
This is where movie reviewers will split off. There's reviewers who read the book, and reviewers who didn't read the book. The way most instances of this go, is the readers hate the movie for it not being 4 hours long and covering every nuance of the book's plotline. The non-readers will like or even love the movie for the way the big epic scenes are shot and the great, albeit compressed story. No surprise, this is exactly what's happening with Ender's Game. Jeremy Jahns in particular stated flat out that he did not want to read the book beforehand because he wanted to review the movie based on its own merits, and not on what was missing from the book. I myself haven't read the book since grade school which was XX years ago so it's not even remotely fresh in my mind. I plan on enjoying the movie as is when I see it, so no re-read for me.

On Orson Scott Card and his prejudice leanings, he's an old white male. That's to be expected. Most old white men are set in their ways and no matter how wrong their thinking is, they will never change. They simply do not have the malleable opinion that young or even middle-aged adults have. I have a neighbor that could very well be a distant relation to Card. When he starts spouting political opinions, I set my mind to sleep mode, grin and bear it because I know nothing I do will change his mind. We have this same problem with our political system, but that's a topic for another forum. Point is, if Card was paid a singular sum of cash for the movie, then not seeing it is taking cash away from the studio, not from Card himself. Unlike most modern artists, Card does not infuse his works with his political or religious leanings (I'm looking at you, Melissa Rosenberg and C.S. Lewis). This makes it really easy to separate the writer from his works. So, in my opinion, if you would like to see the movie because it's a good movie, then do that and forget the background noise for a couple hours.

You know, I take offense to that, saying that all "old while men" are the same and all think alike. And the fact that probably no one on this site (except me) would be upset by it is even more troublesome to me. Because if you said all black men or hispanic men think alike and you have to turn off your brain when they start talking, you'd be banned from The Escapist. And everyone would call you a racist. Bigotry is bigotry. However, it is most certainly your right to say whatever the hell you want, because I don't have a right to not be offended. And much like Card, so long as your words are just that (no matter how you spend your money), then I don't believe you should be censored or discriminated against because of your views.

You know, terrible personalities seem to be quite common among famous scifi authors. Wonder why that's the case.

I'm probably going to skip the movie. The premise doesn't really sound interesting enough for me and now that i know the twist there's even less of a reason for me to watch it. Though, granted, it's a pretty good twist.

CriticalMiss:

HardkorSB:

LysanderNemoinis:
So it's okay to like his movies! But Orson Scott Card isn't overly fond of gay people (but hasn't physically hurt anyone, just their feelings), and that's horrible.

Actually he gave tons of money and support to anti-gay organisations and he still continues to do so.

Didn't he also say that he would fight to violently overthrow the government if gay marriage became legal in the States (you know, until it actually happened)?

He has talked about it since it WAS legalized. Yeah, he's still against it, but he's in that "You won. Enjoy it and deal with the (I obviously think they will be totally negative) consequences."

I'm not a big fan of Card's personal views, but he is being a normal human being about it. He disagrees with something and he fights against it. I understand disagreeing and fighting against him, but I don't understand the sheer hatred the man gets. Maybe he's said something awful I didn't read, or maybe it's because he is relatively famous. I don't know.

I do know that the jerk mayor of jerk town seems a bit of a big title for him. I would reserve that for one of the Koch brothers, or Rupert Murdoch or something...

Remus:
There's reviewers who read the book, and reviewers who didn't read the book. The way most instances of this go, is the readers hate the movie for it not being 4 hours long and covering every nuance of the book's plotline.

But as an above poster mentioned, the most interesting and prominent part of the novel is Ender's (genetically engineered) tactical genius revolutionizing space combat in every possible way.

If the film merely glosses over that... well, shit, that means it's just going to be boring and generic and not ask anything of its audience besides 'sit there and go OOOOh at the shiny things on the screen'

Ugh...

As for Card, donating money to anti-gay organizations is a pretty huge dick move. But the man himself is one of those homophobics of the "oh noes, teh gay agenda!" variety. Bob calls him a terrible person, I think that's exaggerating. He's just ignorant and really scared of how much he likes looking at handsome, muscular shirtless dudes.

Like, seriously, I remember reading the novel's sequel Speaker for the Dead at age 14 and being very perturbed by a paragraph-long description of adult Ender's glistening, perfectly tanned, well muscled upper body as he pilots a canoe. Pretty surprising to hear about Card's blogging crusade against man-marriage.

Chessrook44:
So it ain't great, but it ain't terrible, and Moviebob's upset they didn't do more than adapt it fairly accurately and the big twist isn't handled too well.

Fine by me. I'm in it for the tactics. That's why I loved the book.

The problem is they didnt even do it fairly accurately.

They missed,skipped, or fucked up some major portions of the story for convenience or just because. There are a number of different scenes in the movie that they could have done correctly that would have had next to no negative effect on the film, but they did different from the book.

Bob said it best in that it changed from them picking him because of what a genius he was, to them picking him because he was a timebomb waiting to go off and they wanted it to go off on the enemy and not his classmates.

I mean, for fucks sake, they added faster than light travel into the movie just because. A key point of the entire book was that there WAS no faster than light travel, thats why the ANSIBLE was such a shock that it allowed FTL communications and allowed the fact that the final battle was real to be a hammer blow.

As for the OT; saw the movie last night. It was a decent action movie but it was a shite adaptation of the book. They screwed too much up that they didnt need to for it to be a good adaptation.

I agree with Bob that we should try our best to separate the artist from their art when it comes to politics. Artists are often eccentric people, and this is sometimes the source of their talent. Mr. Card may very well be a homophobic and bigoted person, with strong militaristic leanings, however, this does not diminish the book in my opinion.

Look, Card isn't even the worst. On the other end of the spectrum, Oscar Wilde -for all his brilliance- likely hired 16-year old boy prostitutes. Dostoyevsky wrote 'Brothers Karamazov,' one of the most brilliant works of its time, but was also likely at least a mild anti-Semite. T.S. Elliot and Ezra Pound were two of the greatest poets of the 20th century, but were also sympathetic with Nazism, even after the holocaust became apparent. (Though, in their defense, they both voluntarily committed themselves to mental asylums, so they probably knew they didn't have it all together.) I could go on and on. Even if their politics are not messed up, great authors are often addicts, and not to be emulated.

On and on. And soon, we would be left with very few authors to read, inspire, and to make us think. It is tremendously sad that Card makes the statements he does, but the answer is not to mirror his intolerance with our own, but to tolerate him for who is his, rather than ostracizing him.

Oh, since it was mentioned before, Jeremy Jahns is a great movie reviewer. Unlike Bob, he doesn't inject his politics into every other review and talks about movies from the point of view of a normal moviegoer and not an absolute snob. Out of all the movies Bob has reviewed, I can only think of a couple where we both agreed the movie was good: Kick-Ass, Pacific Rim, Drive, and Warm Bodies. The rest of the time I pretty much treat him like I used to treat Roger Ebert, only watching the movies he doesn't like and avoiding the ones he says are great. Though the Transformers movies are pretty boring.

Nice reference to "Wargames" there. But by current Hollywood standards and reasoning, I doubt we will get another blockbuster movie with such an "understated" finale setpeice. I use quotes because the ambiance and tone of that final scene was so laden with drama and suspense.

It was good storytelling, and good filmmaking. Watching a bunch of people stare at a screen to dramatic music was actually filled with tension and action. Conversely, such a scene in "Battleship" came across as just plain stupid (as did the whole movie).

The way scripts seem to be greenlit, I doubt most production companies are willing to invest the time required to make these things smart, as well as action packed. That's why "Inception" blew everyone's minds away. Not that "Inception" was some great unsolveable riddle, but to many, it seemed to be "heady."

Let me repeat that, the concept of the dreamscape was considered "heady," which is fine, but it shouldn't have been considered "unfathomable," any more than "Matrix" or "Nightmare on Elm Street." That says something about movie watching culture in general, I feel. Not knocking "Inception," it was a great film. But we've been asked and "challenged" by films long before this.

On a sidenote, they should drop Abrams from the Star Wars films. Nobody should have that much influence over pop culture by themselves. Having said that, I doubt they'll drop him, because "Hollywood reasons." Even still, I don't think Abrams will do a BAD job, I just don't think he'll have the sense of urgency that Blomfkamp (sp?) might.

Ryan Hughes:
I agree with Bob that we should try our best to separate the artist from their art when it comes to politics. Artists are often eccentric people, and this is sometimes the source of their talent. Mr. Card may very well be a homophobic and bigoted person, with strong militaristic leanings, however, this does not diminish the book in my opinion.

Look, Card isn't even the worst. On the other end of the spectrum, Oscar Wilde -for all his brilliance- likely hired 16-year old boy prostitutes. Dostoyevsky wrote 'Brothers Karamazov,' one of the most brilliant works of its time, but was also likely at least a mild anti-Semite. T.S. Elliot and Ezra Pound were two of the greatest poets of the 20th century, but were also sympathetic with Nazism, even after the holocaust became apparent. (Though, in their defense, they both voluntarily committed themselves to mental asylums, so they probably knew they didn't have it all together.) I could go on and on. Even if their politics are not messed up, great authors are often addicts, and not to be emulated.

On and on. And soon, we would be left with very few authors to read, inspire, and to make us think. It is tremendously sad that Card makes the statements he does, but the answer is not to mirror his intolerance with our own, but to tolerate him for who is his, rather than ostracizing him.

Yeah, but you have to remember how the world works. It's okay for an an artist to be an anti-Semite and hire underage hookers (as long as they're the same sex). If it's opposite sex, then it's wrong...unless your have the "correct" political ideology, then you can get away with anything. I mean, no one bats an eyelash when Sean Penn and other actors pal around with horrible communist dictators (who actually systematically kill gay people). At absolute worst people treat it as a joke (ha ha, Dennis Rodman hangs out with Kim Jong-Un) and nothing more. So yeah, Orson Scott Card is almost as bad as Hitler by today's standards.

LysanderNemoinis:
Oh, since it was mentioned before, Jeremy Jahns is a great movie reviewer. Unlike Bob, he doesn't inject his politics into every other review and talks about movies from the point of view of a normal moviegoer and not an absolute snob. Out of all the movies Bob has reviewed, I can only think of a couple where we both agreed the movie was good: Kick-Ass, Pacific Rim, Drive, and Warm Bodies. The rest of the time I pretty much treat him like I used to treat Roger Ebert, only watching the movies he doesn't like and avoiding the ones he says are great. Though the Transformers movies are pretty boring.

I, like many other Escape to the Movies fans, am definitely here for the snobbery. Screw low entry level entertainment, I want to be told which films are worth remembering rather than just re-chewing popcorn to like a certain wooly herbivore.

That comparison to an overly long Wesley Crusher episode for example, told me all I need to know.

Might watch it in six months time for the set pieces. Can anybody tell me if Ender still kills a dude in the shower by punching him super hard in the balls?

Wait so this Orson Scott Card is a genocidal, serial rapist and pedophile? So why are they giving him money to make a book of his film!

looks him up

Oh, well you can tell Bob spends to much time indoors if a guy who dislike's homosexual's is the worst person in the world and not all the real criminals who then get away with it.

Coruptin:
eck, just reading the synpsis of the book is enough to make me cringe, even now. the super miracle caucasian genius boy genre is just not my cup of tea

That's a very... generalized view of the series. His whole family is actually gifted. His brother and sister actually became more famous and influential than he ever did. Ender played a couple of key roles, but for the most part he isolated himself after Ender's Game.

The series is actually really good all in all.

Ryan Hughes:
I agree with Bob that we should try our best to separate the artist from their art when it comes to politics. Artists are often eccentric people, and this is sometimes the source of their talent. Mr. Card may very well be a homophobic and bigoted person, with strong militaristic leanings, however, this does not diminish the book in my opinion.

Look, Card isn't even the worst. On the other end of the spectrum, Oscar Wilde -for all his brilliance- likely hired 16-year old boy prostitutes. Dostoyevsky wrote 'Brothers Karamazov,' one of the most brilliant works of its time, but was also likely at least a mild anti-Semite. T.S. Elliot and Ezra Pound were two of the greatest poets of the 20th century, but were also sympathetic with Nazism, even after the holocaust became apparent. (Though, in their defense, they both voluntarily committed themselves to mental asylums, so they probably knew they didn't have it all together.) I could go on and on. Even if their politics are not messed up, great authors are often addicts, and not to be emulated.

On and on. And soon, we would be left with very few authors to read, inspire, and to make us think. It is tremendously sad that Card makes the statements he does, but the answer is not to mirror his intolerance with our own, but to tolerate him for who is his, rather than ostracizing him.

There's a big difference between Card and Wilde, Pound, Elliot, Dostoyevsky. And it's that he's alive and funding hate groups while they're all dead. If I buy a volume of the Cantos then I won't be supporting fascism, If I go see a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest I won't be funding paedophilia on the other hand the more I consume Card's work the more resources and reach I'm giving him to spread his hate.

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