From the novel by the same name by Orson Scott Card.
Ender is sent (at a very young age) to Battle School, where he and many other youngsters are being trained to combat the evil insectile aliens that will destroy Earth if they are not stopped.
Flashback: 1986. Mr. Otter and I are living in hell (Livermore CA) and there is nothing to do and nobody to do it with. I have just spent the day taking public transportation to Alameda (a two hour trip) and back to report for jury duty, with a horrible head cold, and was dismissed after lunch, so that was pretty pointless.
I was tired and cranky and felt bad.
And why do I remember this day so vividly? Becaues this was the amazing book that I read all the way there, while I waited for the Alameda County Court to tell me to go away, all the way home, and lying on the couch the rest of that afternoon. I remember it as vividly as if it were yesterday, and Mr. Otter was in the kitchen doing the dishes, and I got to the ENDING. Oh my god. Almost thirty years ago, and I remember it.
Because there are some books that are so real, so engrossing, so VIVID that they become a part of you, and where and when you read them becomes a part of that book for you forever.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Carbonel, King of the Cats. Pride and Prejudice.
Those are just a few that I could tell you everything about when and where I read them for the first time and what was happening around me, no matter how much time passes. And this book.
The movie? very very good. The changes they made were intelligent and improved the flow of the story so that audiences who had not read the book could understand what was going on. They simplified The Game a lot, sadly; it was one of my favorite parts of the book.
The actors were very good too, especially Asa Butterfield, who actually looked young and vulnerable enough to be believeable. And kudos to them for having an ethnically mixed cast, as was in the book, very nice to see them doing that right. Harrison Ford refrained from chewing too much scenery, and that was good too.
But…and you knew ther’d be one, right? Did they HAVE to give away the ending with the trailers? deny future moviegoers the amazing OH MY GOD moment that the book has been giving us all for 25 years? I hate it when they do this, even if the thing they are advertising is that old and they assume everyone has read it…they know perfectly well that not everyone has, but the temptation of putting that great bit of special effects into the trailer was just too much to resist.
Also, they did leave the ending ready for sequels…and God knows Card wrote enough of the darn things to keep the franchise going longer than Harry Potter. I stopped after about the third one, truthfully…so we’ll see if the Powers that Be decide to funnel money into the continuance.
But this was awesome. Well worth seeing, with as big a screen and loud a sound system as you can get access to.
*********STOP THE PRESSES!!!*********
(Wow, Otter is really dating herself there, isn’t she?)
After I wrote this review, my book and movie review group chose this to read and then watch, and I had wanted to reread the book anyway…so I did. Then we watched the movie. And I was appalled.
The book is so much richer than the movie. And in the book, the children are purposely left without adult supervision to work things out on their own; there are very few times in the movie that there is not an adult looking over their shoulders or giving them feedback.
The game is a wonderful psychological revealing of Ender’s mind, and the movie simply shows the least and most simple level of this, and actually hints that it is taken over by the Formic Queen.
All of the struggle, the danger, the politics, the INTELLIGENTNESS of this wonderful book is taken out of the movie. And when I watched it again, having read the book very recently, it made me mad. Because a lot of people will think the movie is as good as the book, never having read it, and then will not bother to read it.
So I am going to do something I haven’t done before, and change my ratings; I had originally rated it as: $$$$$ $$$, characters: good, explodo: excellent; f/x excellent; ottersmile.
I have changed my ratings to the ones you see below. And I stand by those.
Read the book. It’s way better, trust the otter this time.