Meera’s Movie Reviews – Ender’s Game

Hi all, Meera here with a review for Ender’s Game.  Bit late with this review since opening weekend has come and gone, but as this is my first fleshed out review, I’m giving myself a little wiggle room.  First of all, I loved this movie.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen a sci-fi movie like this and even though it was certainly not as good as the book, I would still highly recommend it.  Just don’t go to the theater expecting to see all the stuff from the book on the screen and you’ll be a much happier movie-goer. Next is my critique so SPOILER ALERT!

Now, as far as a critique, I’ll begin with the bad.  I think the biggest fault I found with this was the story.  Not that it wasn’t good. It was actually really good, but I’ll get to that later.  The problem I had with it was the whole “it wasn’t like the book” thing.  Hardcore fans of the book will definitely find fault with this movie and if you compare it to the book, you’ll likely think they messed up a lot, which they did, but it’s really understandable why they did things the way they did.  There were a lot of things that were changed from the book.  The book, for the most part takes place over a span of about 5 years so we get to see a lot of growth in Ender and I was a bit excited to see that.  The movie seems to take place over the span of a year, two at most.  The age he is through the entire movie is about the age he was during the climax of the book.  Personally, I would have liked to see tiny, six year old Ender and watch him grow from that to the age he was in the movie. All they would have needed to do was cast for a young Ender. Some of the characters he encounters and befriends during his time at the Battle School were simply there for casting convenience.  There was definitely a bully problem for Ender and they did manage to convey that, but not nearly to the extent that the book had it.  I think the only friendship they got semi-correct was with Petra Arkanian.  She is shown as an older sister figure and a best friend who takes Ender in and helps him out which really works out well in the movie.  My only issue with her was that I couldn’t shake the feeling that the film makers were trying to get us to ship Ender and Petra.  The book has her as a helpful older sister figure, but she draws a line to show that while she may be helping him, she is still competition.  There were also quite a few omissions that I just couldn’t look past.  Ender’s brother plays a really large role in his psychological battles and I feel like that part really wasn’t developed much at all in the movie.  It was mentioned but I’m not sure how much that fear of turning out like his brother came across.  Another omission, though I can understand why they didn’t include this, is the mention of Ender’s brother and sister and the things they do while Ender is at Battle School.  This inclusion in the books is more of a set up for much later books.  I also found a minor problem with graphics, but that may just be me being picky. The scenes in the battle room with the zero gravity just didn’t work too well for me.  It wasn’t done too badly. Like I said, it’s me being picky, but I felt like their movements looked too animated at certain parts.

I know I said spoilers at the beginning, but I still hope I didn’t reveal anything too major.  Can’t say the same for this part so once again, SPOILER ALERT!

Now for the good!  It will likely be a lot of me gushing about how good the movie is and a lot of “amazing”s and exclamation points so be prepared.  I think one of my favorite things about this movie was the acting. It was exceptional!  It might just be me being a geek, but I absolutely loved seeing Harrison Ford in this movie and did an amazing job playing Graff!  I was definitely surprised by the casting choice for Anderson.  Viola Davis as Anderson was great and definitely did her job of acting as a foil to Ford’s Graff, but I was thrown especially since Anderson was a male in the books.  It’s one of those little, nit-picking things that really doesn’t take away from the movie at all. I think Ford’s Graff and Davis’s Anderson are excellent together.  Now Asa Butterfield.  This kid was perfect for the role of Ender!  Not only does he have the look, but I love how he was able to perfectly convey Ender’s psychological ups and downs during the movie especially at the end! He was just so great! Here’s that gushing part I warned you about! I just loved him as Ender so much! The more I dwell on the movie, the more I love him! Next, the graphics. Yes, I know I mentioned graphics in the bad section, but that was one of those really specific, picky things.  This is for overall graphics, especially during the simulations. It was really beautifully done and is exactly what you would expect from a good sci-fi movie.  These graphics are definitely worth watching in IMAX and it’s really a shame that it wasn’t in 3D because that would have been so amazing! There’s really not much more to say on graphics because it’s one of those, “just watch and see” sort of things, but just wait ‘til the simulation scenes near the end and you’ll see those great graphics I was talking about. Lastly, the story.  The story, while it won’t please fans of the book, was actually very well crafted and stood well on its own even with the omissions from the book.  The people I know who haven’t read the book said it was a really great story.  If you haven’t read the book and you’re a sci-fi geek, then I think you can truly and fully appreciate this movie as it is: a great sci-fi story and movie. I know there’s really not much for me to say about the story too, mainly because it’ll be me just gushing about how good it is.

Overall, I would give Ender’s Game 4 out of 5 and that’s likely because I have that whole, “The book was better” mentality, but I think that even if I hadn’t read the book, it would still get a 4 out of 5.

End of review! How’d I do? Eventually, I would like to have a rating system that is just my own instead of a scale of 1 to 5. I know that 1 to 5 is easier since it’s already known to most people, but I do really like the idea of having my own rating system.  I’m also wondering which movies I should review.  So far, I’m thinking I’ll do the ones I get screeners for and the ones I see on opening weekend.  Anyways, there’s a chance I’m seeing Frozen tomorrow so if I get to, I’ll see about crafting a review for it! ‘Til next time!

–Meera

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