Ender’s Game: Missed Opportunities

Ender's Game - The Movie“Ender’s Game” was a solid film. It’s true. The film’s biggest flaw was that it felt paced like a movie that had been adapted from a novel. I cannot escape the nagging feeling that perhaps this would have been even better if split into two movies – I can even think of the cliffhanger point where we could have left off.

But I really enjoyed watching it, and I have to admit – I also really enjoyed the commotion raised after we left the theater by fans of the original novel. It was a nerd fight as epic as the movie itself, and I was delighted to be a mere spectator to both.

As someone who never read the book and knew practically nothing about the film other than that Harrison Ford was in it, I was consistently surprised and I stayed glued the whole time. The plot was airtight, the universe was appropriately grand for the journey of the hero, and the relationships were perfectly clear. Few characters were one-dimensional, thanks to an adherence to the theme of knowing, understanding, and ultimately loving one’s enemies. The acting was good enough for me to never have to actively suspend my disbelief, the special effects were top-notch, and the ending was satisfying because nothing that was really invested in was left unanswered.

So again – the film’s biggest flaw was that it felt rushed, like screenwriter/director Gavin Hood was trying really hard not to leave any aspects of the novel on the floor. But at least the pacing was consistent, and the only time this rush-through-the-world-building was a problem was in the first third of the movie, where the audience has little time to get to know the main character. It clearly depends on the built-in sympathy of the fans who adore the book. After a certain point, though, we all know well enough how he behaves and we understand that he’s the main character, and we cruise along with no additional effort.

And I know the novel is always better, so feel free to enlighten me as to exactly where the movie fell short, betrayed origins, abandoned storylines, etc., etc., etc. Give me a reason to read the book. Because to be honest – for all that I know about it now, the film is enough.

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