First I want you to know that Orson Scott Card is a crazy man and I don’t know if he’s in on the joke or if he’s become the joke. He’s Westboro Baptist Crazy.
Before I saw Ender’s Game I was struck by a simple truth that I was shocked that has never occurred to me: that due to the limits of time, books are a super medium for storytelling.Movies and TV shows are constrained by time. If you know that you have to try and tell a story in the 42 minutes of a television show, you’re limited by what you can do. Even if you’re doing a series you can’t just interrupt the narrative and expect that during next week’s episode your viewers will return and be ready for what comes next. And in movies, it’s a different amount of time you have, but if you try pushing the length of your film longer I imagine you face a battle as there’s only so long you can expect an audience to sit through a film before they lose interest. (Or their bladders cause them to view your movie with a less positive light).
Books are great because you can put them down and take a walk and then come back and review and skip and manipulate time to your desire.
I saw Ender’s Game last night. I didn’t buy a ticket, I had enough rewards points so I could see it without having to tell myself that I was contributing money towards a possible encouragement of Orson Scott Crazy. I went into it thinking that it was receiving positive reviews and I think the book is a significant work that I appreciated and yada yada yada.
It was ok. Good. Wasn’t great. You lose some of the nuances. The details. Probably because the filmmakers didn’t have time. Not because we can’t do the special effects. Not because the actors weren’t up to the task. I would like to highlight Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Moisés Arias (Biaggio!).
I feel like part of the problem of the movie is we’re told too much up front. Too much focus is given to the idea that Ender understands his enemy, loves them and destroys them. The final victory lacks the emotional passion that has been building up as Ender knows that he has a sociopathic demon inside of him like his brother Peter. Instead we get a lot of time with Ender discovering the formic queen egg.
Ooooof did I just complain about having some denouement?
And then there’s the part where I have these memories of Ender actually not knowing that he’s killed people in his fights.
Ender’s Game isn’t an awful film adaptation. I think I’m ranking it middle of the road in my 2013 movie list. Probably best on a big screen.