So, last night, more than 30 high school students of mine (SciFan Club) went to see Ender’s Game at the IMAX. Here are some thought I shared with the kids afterwards. For the most part, the teens who have all loved the book for a long time thought that the movie did as good a job in being faithful to the book and they all kind of agreed that it is really difficult to appreciate Ender as much in the movie as you would in the book because we simply were not shown his interior as much as in the book. The pitfall of a visual storytelling media.
I posted on our school’s internal email conference the following:
I am not sure that I can objectively critique the movie at all. I know that I’ll have to see it again AS a movie, and not something “translated” from a book into a movie to aptly analyze it — and even then I might not be able to do it.
But, here are some positive points first:
1. I think Asa Butterfield is a great choice for Ender and he really delivers. He’s not 6 – 11 as was in the movie, but he looks like 14-15 (since they truncated the timeframe by a WHOLE LOT) and not too old for the role.
2. Pretty much every actor did their job well (but a little sad that they didn’t put any stock in the guy who plays Peter so I can’t imagine sequels from Ender’s Shadow series featuring him heavily.) Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley are just old pros.
3. Even though the battle room and the “stars” are totally different from my own imagination, it works well in the movie and the Null-G effects are well done. Actually, all the designs and CG effects are excellent.
4.Certain important phrases that stand out in the book are incorporated into the movie well — and most of the gist of the story is conveyed.
Then, there are some stuff on my WISH LIST:
1. I wish that somehow they could have incorporated Valentine and Peter’s brilliance and how they took control over governing Earth while Ender is away battling the formics. (But I totally understand why they have to eliminate that part for the flow of the movie.)
2. I wish that there is more scenes showing Ender’s brilliant leadership skills and his ability to unite and to strategize. You never truly see why everyone LOVES him so much — because they didn’t show the Launchies training scenes or all the fun things he figures out for Battle school games: such as freezing bent legs or rushing their enemies, etc. As one of the freshmen said, the movie really could have been a little longer (by 15 minutes?) and thus incorporating some montages of his final Crew.
3. I DEFINITELY wish that the shower room fight scene is longer, a LOT bloodier, and that Ender didn’t go to the operating room.. or mention that he sat beside Bonzo’s bed for days…