I have a better title in mind for this movie: The Film Where No Fucks Were Given.
I hated this movie and it made me really mad. And its completely because I enjoy the book and there was too much stuff changed from the book to still be a good story. I’ll cop to that, this would be one of “those” reviews Angry Game of Thrones Fan style. So to spare us all some time, I’ll just go through a few items that really really pissed me off.
Peter saying – “I could kill you and say it was an accident.” Wrong, because you’re like 20 years old.
Privacy Rights/Gender Areas – Early in the movie, Ender asks Graff if he’ll still have his privacy rights at Battle School. Graff says yeah, then later on Ender bitches that his emails aren’t getting through and Graff says fuck yo privacy rights. Dap tells them that there are separate areas for both Genders, anyone caught in the wrong area will be punished. Neither of these two conversations are in the book. And there’s no reason for them to be here. Sure they probably have separate bathrooms for the boys and girls and yeah there’s probably punishment for going into the girls showers. Did we the audience really need to be told that? And why bring up “Privacy Rights” if they are non-existent?
Hey do we have Privacy Rights?
Okay then. Forget I mentioned it.
Why bring it up in the first place? Does Ender really think he’s going to be under no surveillance now that he’s been formally tasked with the survival of the human race?
Bean being in Ender’s launch group – NO. NOOOOOO.
The Entire Bugger War – This aspect of the movie was plagued with book details that only serve to raise questions about the story. For starters, the aliens only attacked once. There was no Second Invasion. But the fighting also takes place over earth. So how did they manage to keep the battle under wraps? No one spotted a fuckton of alien fighters crashing to Earth? It’s also not exactly show to be a big ass fleet.
“Hey all we had to do was destroy this one ship.”
“You mean literally the only large ship in the sky?”
“Yeah who would’ve thought that would help?”
In the book its a massive fleet and Mazer spots a point at the center. No one else spotted it, happened to be where their Queen was. In the movie, if you didn’t think to blow up the big ship, you’re an idiot. It came down more to his piloting than his strategy. This happens again with the battleroom scenes. It doesn’t take a strategist to use two guns and fly through the enemy lines like its the Matrix. Doing that makes you a great soldier, not a commander.
Then we have “Command School.” In the book, its a secret base in the Asteroid Belt taken from the Bugs. In the movie, its close to the Bugger homeworld. The reason they can have a base close to the home world is because “The bugs are contained on their homeworld.” Uhhh…no they aren’t? They can’t be. Otherwise, what the fuck do you need Ender Wiggins for?
“All right men, thus far our strategy has been completely adequate. We have driven the buggers back to their homeworld and somehow learned they are running out of water thus condemning them to death. It is therefore our only option to train a Keanu Reeves up from childhood and given him complete control over our fleet to execute the finishing blow.”
Bonzo – I saved what made me the angriest for last. This was The Dealbreaker. The acting and the art design isn’t bad, but this was it. IN THE BOOK Bonzo is Ender’s first commander and he’s a colossal asshole. He’s also 4-6 years older than Ender and much bigger. When he comes to kill Ender he’s goaded into fighting him fairly (naked in the shower). Ender uses the steamy haze and his soaped up limbs to kill him.
The way its done in the movie would be fine, except that Bonzo was horrendously miscast. The actor is at least a head shorter than Asa Butterfield. He comes across as a screaming little douche. This is a character who is supposed to be threatening. He’s supposed to be dangerous as indicated by Salamander Army being inexplicably at the top of the rankings (unlike the book where Bonzo is physically imposing but a fool of a commander). It completely sucked me out of the movie and I couldn’t get back into it.
I’d like to go on a bit of a tangent now more related to Game of Thrones than Ender’s Game, but still focused on my Bonzo issues. Probably the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is the fight between The Mountain and Viper. It’s the best written fight scene in a book that I can think of since Paul vs. Feyd in Dune. The Viper is a brief but fun character. Now, earlier this year, they cast Pedro Pascal in the role. I read that he absolutely nailed his audition and I have every confidence he’ll do fine. But one of the things I said the actor chosen has to be able to do is make the viewer believe he is capable of kicking The Mountain’s ass. That is the character’s purpose. If the Mountain or the Viper was played by Steve Buscemi, you’d call bullshit. It would take you out of the show. Bonzo did not look like he posed any kind of physical threat to Ender. If he can’t do that, he can’t act the part.
This is a bad movie. Don’t pay money to see it.