Screen Talk

Screen Talk #2: Ender’s Game


Screen Talk is my space to chat about films and television, ranging from reviews, to recommendations and everything in between.

Today I want to talk about the film adaptation of the novel Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.

Enders Game

I had been meaning to watch this for a while, but somehow managed to miss it at the cinema and just never got round to it. Until I was browsing through Netflix, remembered it was there and thought it would be a good thing to watch for Sci-Fi Month! I really enjoyed the novel it is based on, despite the author being a rather disgusting human being, so I had to give the film a shot some time.

The good:
  • The visuals were great. The Battle Room looked so fantastic, as well as the suits of the cadets and all their technology.
  • The soundtrack, composed by Steve Jablonsky, was an absolute wonder.
  • The casting – Harrison Ford! Viola Davis! Ben Kingsley!

The bad:
  • The film cut out way too much of the book, such as the sub-plot involving Valentine and Peter, set on Earth.
  • Instead of focusing on the camaraderie that Ender develops with Bean, Petra and the other cadets, the film ignored all of these friendships in place of a potential romance that never actually blossomed.

The ugly:
  • Without the sub-plot set on Earth, it didn’t feel like there was any real threat to humankind. The chapters in the book with Peter and Valentine kept it feeling more ‘real’ and grounded, literally and metaphorically.
  • Why is Ender so special and talented? We don’t see a single moment of the reason why on screen. The film missed out so much that it in fact just cut out all the important bits. There is no real explanation as to why Ender gets promoted again and again. Sure, we see him win one battle. But why does that make him so much more worthy than the other kids who have won tens, hundreds of battles?
  • We’re told that Ender is a mixture of his brother and sister, and that’s why he fits the academy. His brother is on screen for all of five seconds, and Valentine not that much longer. Therefore, this means nothing. We don’t know what this combination would be like.
  • Ender was so… bleh. He lacked any real personality. I had no reason to like him.

Overall Rating:

Have you watched Ender’s Game? What did you think?

10 thoughts on “Screen Talk #2: Ender’s Game”

  1. I think I enjoyed this a bit more than you did, but I wasn’t as bothered by what they didn’t show from the book. I just really liked the space battles and the casting. 😀 But you are definitely right about Peter and Valentine – I think they should have included them more. The film was pretty good for me, but the book is so, so much better. It’s too bad about Orson Scott Card though…

  2. I actually thought it was a pretty good film, and liked it even more the second time I saw it after it came out on blu ray. I think it would have been a hot mess had they tried to intertwine any of the on-Earth story line in just one film. Had they been able to make even a two-part film it would have been more of an option. I was happy they didn’t try. I also thought that Asa did a fine job as Ender. I was actually pleased with all of the cast, especially the younger actors, most of whom I hadn’t seen in anything before.

    1. Hmm, perhaps. It did make it feel too distant for me though. I’d seen Hailee Steinfeld in Pitch Perfect 2, although she’s a couple of years older in that 🙂

  3. Agreed with your low rating for the film. I was so mad when they cut out all those scenes of Ender training and using his cleverness to rise up in the ranks and all those awesome moments in the battle room. That all explains why Ender is “special” – without those scenes the story just falls flat. And what was with all those hints of romance? I agree with you that those scenes were unnecessary and took away screen time from other things that should have been more developed.

    1. Yep, it made no sense – why was he special?? Ughhh. I can’t remember if there are any hints of romance with Petra in the book, although obviously if there were they’d be very slight since they are much younger. And anyway, I remember the friendships being one of the best bits.

  4. This is why I love the blogging community – everyone has their own opinions and their own tastes.

    For me personally, I liked that they cut out the Peter and Valentine subplot. I felt it would have dragged the action of the story down, you know? Regardless, though, I can still definitely see where you’re coming from in terms of that. I was a bit disappointed in how they tried to romanticize Ender and Petra’s relationship though. :/

    Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous review! ♥

    1. It’s possible – although I really did feel something was lacking at least, to tie it all back to Earth and the human race.

      Yeah… I wanted more of Ender’s friendship with Bean, that was cute.

      Thanks Zoe! 🙂

  5. I liked this one more than you, but I agree that the movie felt like it was lacking a lot of the heart of the book. I agree with Zoe about the Valentine & Peter subplot being cut out being better for the movie, but everything felt way too fast in the movie and I don’t think I would have been able to follow it had I not read the book.

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