Ender’s Game Movie Review

I am so excited! I got to see Ender’s Game in theaters, today. I must say that I am impressed with the movie, but I am also shocked with all the difference there were between the book and the movie even with the author participating in the making of the film. I believe the Orson Scott Card helped produced the film.

Normally, I would stick to books; however, I just have a feeling and a need to talk about this movie because I have read this book for the purpose of watching it in theaters. I also read the book out of my own curious interest due to the amazing reviews that I have heard from friends and family.

First, I want to talk about the actors that they choose for the film. All of them were amazing, especially the one that they choose to play Ender, Asa Butterfield. I really do feel as though Asa Butterfield really capture the essence of Ender very well. The other actor that I want to mentioned is the one who played Bonzo, Moisés Arias. The person who played him was the little kid, Ricko, from Hannah Montana. I must admit that his height was a problem. I never realized how short he was until this movie. Asa Butterfield, who played Ender, towered over Moisés Arias. I must admit that Moisés did an amazing job, overcoming the height by using props and his surroundings.

I also have to admit that some of the graphics and CGI was good. I enjoyed seeing the space station, and some of the different settings, like the lake house. I also enjoyed some of the futuristic vibes that existed throughout the movie; however, they only occurred during “training.” Many of the Earth scenes did not continue with that vibe, and I felt like the movie was taking place a few (3-5) years from now.

Aside from those two positive points for the film, there were a few negative. Some of them, I understood why these changes were done in for the film, others not so much.
One of the biggest changes from book to movie was Ender’s age. The book started when ender was around 5 or 6 years of age and followed him consistently for about six years, then skipped to fifty to sixty years later. In the movie, it showed that he was about 12 to 13 years of age. I understood for this change. One was it was cheaper to hire one actor to play Ender, then several. The other one, I believed, would be for marketing. I do not believe that a lot of people would want to watch a 6 year old kill someone. I believe that by making Ender older, it made it a bit more acceptable for Ender to be the commander and killer that he needed to be.

However, there was another change to Ender that really bothered me. I swear that movie Ender cried more than book Ender. I believe that they were trying to make Ender a bit more “human” and relatable for the audience. However, I felt as though it made Ender a bit weaker, than who he is. Movie Ender cried at scenes I felt as though he should not have cried at, such as, the moments after the fight with Bonzo. I understood that Ender cried in the book, but he never cried in front of people. However, in the movie, Ender was crying in front of people.

Another difference was the length of time Ender spent training for the massive invasion. This difference does go with Ender’s age, however it’s different. In the book, we did go through the course of several years, however the movie only gave us a month, may be a year, but it did not feel like it. When I saw the movie trailers, I was expecting less than six years, but more than the time that they gave us. I guess, I was thinking that they would do it in a course of a few years, three maximum: thus dividing the years as, two years in battle school, and one year in command school. Maybe command school being six months.

Another difference was that the end of the book never happened. I really do not want to spoil the book for those who have not read it, so I will try to keep this short and unspoiled, if possible. In the book you have Ender doing his last simulation and finding out that it was real, which caused complication both on the base as well as on Earth. These complications thus resulted in Ender never being able to return to Earth and leaving him the choice to stay on the base or to travel with his sister to colonize other planets. Then you have the colonization process and Ender’s discovery. I really hope that that little summary did not ruin the end of the book for several people. However, I can guarantee you that this did not happen in the movie. Movie ended with Ender’s discovery, and then to explore space and peace. And the reason for this change actually is another change that happened to the film.

This change was Peter’s conquest of the world. In the book, Peter manipulated Val to do his bidding to help me gain political power. However, because the time was cut so short from book to movie, we never got to see that conquest, as well as the success. Not having this element changed the ending and the story line itself. However, it required time to exist and elapse for us to see this success. This is why I believe that the story took place in a month (no more than a year). I really do believe that they could have added this element if the movie showed the characters growth over the course of a three years.

I am starting to realize that I am nitpicking at the movie and I did not want to do that, spending two pages talking about the differences between the two. So, I want to gloss over some of the other differences. I really had a hard time seeing why some of these differences occurred, and believe that many of them could be due to lack of time. Most of it surrounds the difference of Ender’s experience at Battle School. It felt rushed and lacked a bit of authenticity to what was happening at that school. Another difference was how the school used Val to get Ender to do their bidding. It was interesting to see it happen only once in the film, and I felt as though that they could have used that interaction from Val to create Ender as human and relatable.

In the end, I would have to give this movie 3.5 stars out of five. The acting was great and the story was enjoyable. However, I did not leave the movie theaters needing to buy this movie again, or having a desire to watch it. As enjoyable as the movie was, I did not love it. This is why I gave it 3.5 and not a 4 star rating. I could not give the movie a three, because I felt it deserved more, but I just could not give it a four. I almost spent two pages ranting about the differences between the movie and the book.

As for recommending the movie… I would say if you have not seen it, do so. I am very interested to get your opinion of the movie. The movie is not bad. The acting, CGI, the graphics, as well as some of their scene shots are amazing, and I know that many people would enjoy it. That I am a bit hesitant on the plot line. Those who have read the book might not like the movie as much as those who have not read the book. However, my mom has not read the book, and she claimed that she felt as though the movie was lacking something. As for your opinions, I can wait until you want to rent the movie or watch it on Netflix. I just do not feel it worth paying 10.00 to go see it in theaters.

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6 thoughts on “Ender’s Game Movie Review

  1. Hey, I see you’ve read the book so I was wondering if you could explain something that wasn’t very clear in the movie? I’m talking about the end – do you know how exactly the Formics contacted Ender? And why, of all children, did they choose him?

    Anyway, I enjoyed your article and thank you for sharing our blog in this post!

    • The Formics were able to talk to Ender telepathically. And the reason why they chose Ender was his compassion and sympathy towards other people, including his needs and desire to understand others. The book kind of hinted that his sister, Val, would have had the same ability to communicate to them due to her compassion.

      Thank you for enjoying my post. Did I answer your questions?

  2. Pingback: Ender’s Blog | Movies & Their Advertising

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