Ender’s Game Movie Response

Literature, Social Issues
Updated:

Even in the first few minutes, there is a lot that I’m very pleased with. The book was indeed rather vague on the origin of the Formics, more derisively known as Buggers (one of a handful of instances in the book where homosexuality is tangentially derided). The majority of the story is essentially preparation for a decisive annihilation of them, the aftermath of which is vetted out in a perhaps even darker Speaker for the Dead. Quite pleased that a possible movie sequel was hinted at.

One thing that amazes me about Card is that he is clearly a genius, and even though his characters are usually prodigies, anyone may easily identify with them. Mr. Card’s understanding of technology’s fusion with human adaptation is staggeringly prophetic. In Ender’s Game, he predicted the profound influence of the blogosphere, a theme sadly not explored in the film. He knows people very intimately and he is keenly observant, all the more why I am perplexed by some of his less tolerant views. Perhaps he’s afraid that if he really gets to know his enemy, he might end up loving them… By the way, I couldn’t help but to think that the make’s of the movie insisted on underlining that Wiggin epigraph as a message to the writer.

The military’s observation of all of the students is believable enough to, again, be prophetic, if some unlikely traumatic extraterrestrial encounter were to occur. The officers are always watching their interactions with other students, seeing how they hierarchize themselves, observing how they play games, watching how they handle bullies, etc. Their eyes are especially focused on Ender and he is constantly being evaluated and tested by powers local and distant. As Mazer Rackham gleefully informs him at the end of the Bugger War, “You haven’t played a game since I became your enemy.”

I’m getting a tad ahead of myself as I’m writing this only 06m 04s into the movie. I always thought it was brutal how the officers knew and essentially orchestrated the tense situations Ender consistently finds himself in where he has no choice but to resort to violence, and the sadistic Peter comes lashing out. Ender and Peter Wiggen are the epitome of Ying and Yang. They are complements, opposites, intersections, and negations all at once. Ender is most certainly the median between Peter and Valentine. It’s a shame that they forwent telling us about Locke and Demosthenes. I suppose it might have been a lot of story to deal with in a 2 hour film.

I’m very happy that the brothers’ Cain and Abel-esque tussle was featured. They both have the potential to do great good and great harm and they both make mistakes they sincerely regret. I know that some might have found that fight sequence a little hokey, but I think they did a really good job portraying Peter’s jealousy and aggression. I could never really like him, given how he was portrayed. I’ve even been hesitant to read the books that feature him more prominently…

It’s very intriguing how peoples’ morals have bent to a great extent, understandably due to the great threat they face. Society has become more authoritarian and it’s more acceptable to sacrifice for the greater good. Officers can show up on your TV and at your house at any hour and let you know your son has just been promoted for kicking a kid’s ass into the hospital.

Very wonderful to see Bean at 12m 24s. Talk about a flippin’ prodigy… which you’ll learn more about in Ender’s Shadow.

Seeing them step into the battleroom is definitely a dream come true for everyone who waited for this movie. The scene of them shooting each other with the toy guns was much more pleasantly drawn out on the screen, and delightfully portrayed their youthful exuberance.

Very very happy to see the Giant’s Drink game. Everyone has their eyes on this boy. It’s all the little details that really matter. His character dies regardless of what drink he chooses. He gorges the giant’s eye out (although he also kicks the drinks over in the book, and I don’t recall Valentine showing up). He is led towards a cove like area into a cave where he finds an egg-looking thing. The bugger queen is trying to communicate with him (he has visions of the old queen, but he only actually encounters the new queen within a cocoon in the story).

Bonzo Madrid and Petra were very much like the story portrayed them. But no naked Petra? At least we got to see Ender and Bonzo’s wet and slippery tussle in the shower.

They make clear how very desperate the military is to keep moving Ender up prematurely, so as to swiftly end the Bugger War. He is indeed made a commander of ‘misfits’ like himself. I think they well portrayed how the officers were very frustrated by the kids’ mistakes, even though they told them it was a simulation. They reacted to loosing virtual ships just as if they were real. They didn’t really show how overworked Ender’s team was, I didn’t think. The book gave me the impression that they were completely exhausted and a tad delirious under the pressure. And I believe they relieved a commander for getting burnt out and not taking it seriously.

Immensely pleased by the conclusion. We will certainly get a Speaker for the Dead sequel. I really hope OSC has the decency to see reason and learn a little more about the individuals he too exuberantly denounces. I  really can’t feel comfortable directly supporting that good gentleman if he literally associates homosexuality with evil. It’s just really hard to take him completely seriously with that elephant in the room.

What say you?