Screen Talk

Screen Talk #2: Ender’s Game

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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?