Thursday, August 3, 2017

Books on screen

Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card's book is a slow moving, contemplative exploration of the nature of war and loss of childhood. The movie version is a majestic exploration of the morals of war and space exploration. Both of these stories, viewed separately, are successful. The movie isn't a particularly accurate representation of the novel, though. While many of the plot elements are present in the movie, there is an issue of scope. At the start of the novel, Ender is 6 years old. The book follows him through several years of training and the way each step of that training steals a little more of his innocence and humanity. The time frame of the movie isn't 100% clear, though it seems to be a matter of months. While Asa Butterfield portrays the 12 year old Ender well, his age by nature means that a great deal of that innocence and childhood is lacking. Butterfield's Ender has less distance to fall. And therein lies the problem. Card's novel hinges on the idea that those in charge have determined that the only way to defend the planet is to utilize the innocent creativity of a child. In the process of getting their solution, they essentially destroy Ender. It's a process that takes years of progressively chipping away at his soul. The movie version, while it has beautiful graphics and a fantastic cast ( Harrison Ford and Viola Davis and Graff and Anderson blew me away), it lacks the impact and depth of the novel. All of that to say, in and of itself Ender's Game is a decent movie. But, if you're familiar with the book, it may be a bit of a disappointment.

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