The Le Teen Café Review Corner: Ender's Game (The Movie)
I watched Ender's Game. I finally watched it. I've been waiting for this movie to arrive at my local theatre since I don't even know when. Maybe it's been around two years now. Two years of anxious waiting since I first heard the news of a movie version of the legendary sci-fi novel by Orson Scott Card. Of course, living in Korea, I had to wait an extra couple of months to watch the movie unlike my lucky American counterparts. But I watched it in the end. And it was good.
One thing that disappointed me at first was the unwelcome aging of all the characters. I mean, in the novel, Ender is only six years old! But in the movie, he looks around 13-ish? However, since it's cute Asa Butterfield, I let it go. Anyway, Asa really got into the character and seemed as though he understood him very well. On reflection, it probably would have been almost impossible for a six year old to use crazy vocabulary and to lead a fleet (not to mention, act as well as Asa did), so I guess aging the characters was a good idea. After the initial displeasure of seeing the older characters, I completely forgot about it for the remainder of the movie. Asa was, and is, the perfect Ender Wiggin. Hailee Steinfeld, Moises Arias, and the rest of the younger cast also managed the characters extremely well. It was like the characters in the original book had come to life in a slightly older version of themselves.
Every now and then, although Ender's Game is a more serious movie, humor was injected at some unexpected places. I still have a laugh with my sister whenever we talk about a certain scene where Ender acts so witty to Sergeant Dap and ends up doing around 40 (?) pushups for being a smart mouth.
If it's one fault the original novel has, it's its nonexistent descriptors. I mean, Orson does describe a few things, but not in enough detail for me to watch the scene play out in my head. While reading the novel, everything seemed so black and white and hazy, as though I was looking at things through a heavy mist. The movie, on the other hand, as a visual medium, let me FINALLY look at the setting and props in more detail. After all, Orson Scott Card himself produced the movie so the graphics must have come close to how he imagined the world of Ender's Game.
And now. The graphics. I'm usually very picky with graphics. But I barely have anything to criticize about the graphics in this movie. The Formics, or Buggers, were created tastefully. I would have said something about the aliens looking too much like the ants on our beloved Earth, but the novel describes them like that, so for now... moving on.
I know I said a little about the characters a few paragraphs ago, but I'm going to expand a little more on what I thought about them. I was extremely surprised at how every single actor managed to portray the characters so well. Asa was absolute perfection. I honestly can't imagine anyone else acting as Ender, even though I did say that Ender was supposed to be younger. Hailee was as tough as I ever imagined Petra to be. Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff was a great choice. He brought the roughness of the colonel straight into the movie. If it's one thing about the characters that I didn't like... the acting was unnatural at certain points in the movie. But oh well.
Oh, and another thing:I wish there were a little more scenes with Ender's brother, Peter. I believe Peter is very important in understanding Ender's dislike with himself when he turns violent, but Peter appeared for just a few seconds and didn't come onscreen ever again. Sure, he was mentioned a couple times, but other than that, it's like he didn't exist. Also, I would have been really happy to see Peter and Valentine's work on Earth, but I guess the makers couldn't fit their story into the movie. And it would have been beyond awesome to see a little more of Ben Kingsley as Mazer... it seemed almost like a waste to have him in the movie for just a few scenes, although they were vital scenes.
And now for my rating...
You're probably going "What?! You've been saying mostly good stuff about Ender's Game!" But hold on. I ain't done yet.
The reason I'm giving this movie a 7 instead of an 8.5, which I would have given if it weren't for this one big flaw, is that the movie skipped over way too many scenes and each scene itself wasn't as drawn out as they should have been. Consequently, there wasn't enough tension to keep me locked into the movie. Yes, the graphics were great, the characters were awesome... but the movie was missing something pretty big. Ender's Game didn't create enough tension by lengthening the battle scenes. For an onscreen battle to be great, there needs to be a whole heap of sweating and fighting going on, but in Ender's Game, after just a minute or two of fighting or so, the battle is won or lost.
IF ONLY there were just a couple more battle scenes. IF ONLY the battle scenes were a minute or two longer, especially the important battles... this movie had the potential to be perfect.
Ender's Game is a great movie. It's a pity it couldn't reach its full potential. BUT thanks to adorable Asa Butterfield and the great graphics, I would probably watch this movie again. I just wish it were a teensy bit better.
Image: Ender's Game movie poster