Whilst I sat in the Chinese Theater with my bag of popcorn and my Ender’s Game souvenir cup filled to the brim with coke, I realized that I was finally watching the Ender’s Game movie that I’ve been following since pre-production.
First of all I will say that the movie left me stunned with stars and buggers flashing in my mind. It gave me such joy to finally see another of my favorite novels come to the big screen. As I had time to process what I saw I can truly say that the production crew did an outstanding job in creating Ender’s world. Everything was so exciting to watch that I really wish there was more to see. Which, in part, can be satisfied by watching the director’s cut version as mentioned by Khylin Rhambo. Maybe when the DVD releases?
First going into the theater I tried to go in with a clean slate. Something I suggest a lot of fans do. Not trying to think of what will be missing from the movie, I left my mind open to any possible changes, cuts, and new scenes. It was VERY difficult to not pin point marks in the movie that I knew were missing something. Plus, in doing so will keep you from enjoying the movie.
Here are the topics that I find myself turning over in my head:
Special Effects & Battle Room
Wow, just wow. Everyone behind the creation of the battle room, the IF fleets, the bugger world and ships are genius. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen when I first saw the battle room. Gavin Hood mentioned before that what he wanted to accomplish with making the battle room transparent was to create this disorienting feeling in seeing earth and space because in battle that’s how it really is. Let me tell you, he succeeded and more. When scenes of the battle room came up, yes, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen but man did I get dizzy staring at it. I felt like if I was staring into the battle room from the gate itself. It was a beautiful scenery but I think I’ll best watch it from my theater seat.
Moises Arias as Bonzo Madrid. He did a really great job in channeling the antagonist, however, I felt like the character translated differently in the movie. When we first meet Bonzo the audience gave a laugh at the small stature commander compared to Ender who was much taller. Then, Bonzo got moody and threatens Ender. From then on we get an evil bully. I wanted to see a much more fierce and frightening commander. The Bonzo that really touches upon pride and violence, but then again at a PG-13 rating a big bad bully is agreeable.
The Mind Game
One of my favorite things about the movie was the mind game. The look of the game was stunning. Great quality and frighteningly realistic. The game was a frame within the movie. That is another story inside Ender’s Game. Fans of the book, who’ve read the sequels to Ender’s Game, would know that story. So I was truly excited to see that transpire through the movie.
I was surprised to find that Bean gets a lot of screen time. I think I had the notion that because Ender’s Shadow wasn’t going to be present in the movie Bean wasn’t going to be a big part. I was wrong and I’m glad that I was.
Hailee Steinfeld as Petra Arkanian
There was a lot of talk and uproar about Petra’s relationship with Ender. Stills, trailers and TV spots gave us a perspective that depicted a possible romance between the two. I was a bit disappointed of the fact that whenever Petra and Ender would have screen time together the audience would not see the camaraderie we see in the book. Though the movie didn’t center on them as much I feel like many people will get mixed feelings of their relationship.
Asa Butterfield as Ender
The first thing I thought of when I left the theater was ‘Asa did a fantastic job bringing Ender Wiggin to life.’ The boy is so talented I teared up when ever I saw his red eyes and distraught face. The emotion he brought to the movie was so grand I felt like no one else could have done it better than Asa. I really think Asa understood Ender’s character well which allowed him to give the performance that he did. So I give him my own Oscar for “Best Actor”.
From the perspective of a long time fan it felt like I was in a fast forward version of the movie. I watched scene after scene without breathing time. One minute Ender was a launchy the next he was already commander of Dragon army. It was difficult to see the progression because I felt like the other audience members weren’t going to be able to understand the meaning behind certain actions or dialogues. Luckily, my guest for the event, one of my best friends, hadn’t read the book and didn’t know what to expect (I’ve tried so hard not to spoil the book to her). I was excited to have her with me because I was able to get her reaction to the movie and her understanding of it.
Luckily, she had a different response than I did. “It was different for me because I felt like the scenes were progressing slowly. I was thinking to myself ‘Oh my gosh, [Ender] is still on this scene, why isn’t it moving along.” She had a good understanding of what was going on and the best part was she didn’t expect the ending. She really liked the movie and felt so heartbroken of what had been done to Ender she sympathized with all us fans.
Ultimately, though the movie seemed quick moving and short it was mostly because I was expecting an exact translation of the novel. Which I already new wasn’t going to happen. I say that the movie is definitely worth watching because Asa’s performance is incredible, the graphics are stunning and who doesn’t like to watch another Sci-Fi movie now and then.
I’m really hoping that the movie does good in the box office, so to lead talk for a second film around the offices.
I give Ender’s Game a definite 4 out of 5 stars.
Ender’s Game premieres nation wide in the U.S on November 1st.