Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

    Helo welcom 2 my websight

AoH Reviews: Ender’s Game [US, 2013, 114 min]

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new, I know, but I promise some stuff is coming up!

For now though, I’d like to rant a bit about Ender’s Game, the book adaptation with the seriously skewered release dates (it was released months ago in the US (in fact it’s already coming out on bluray there soon) while it won’t be released for another month here in the Netherlands) by below-average director Gavin Hood, based on one of my favorite books by one of my favorite writers: Orson Scott Card.

Ender's Game Flyer

Knowing Hood was attached to the project, and having followed the news about it closely, I already knew it was going to be very hard for me to enjoy this film. With every new piece of information that got out, my expectations lowered, but even with the knowledge of Ender being played by a 17 year old as tall as Harrison Ford who would play Colonel Graff, the director veering heavily from the book in as many ways as possible to turn it into a ‘blockbuster’ and word of the PG rating negatively impacting Ender’s emotional journey, I still had some hope that Hood would manage to pull it together into at least an enjoyable film.
Boy was I wrong.

I’m not even sure where to start, but let’s start at the biggest and most glaring mistake: Asa Butterfield. Now, I’m sure he’s not a terrible actor, but he’s without a doubt a terrible Andrew Wiggin. Of course this is Hood’s fault, as he aged everyone up from 8 to 16 (yep, that’s DOUBLE THE AGE) and Butterfield shouldn’t take the hit for that. Aging Ender and all other Battleschool cadets up effectively neutered the story from the get-go, removing the most interesting question the reader of the book will keep asking himself as the story goes on: “Is it really okay to expect this much from these young children?” Not to mention that aging Ender up this much and picking a tall as hell actor like Asa to play him messes up a whole lot of scenes that could’ve been a lot more meaningful. Why does Ender feel threatened by Bonzo in the first place when he’s about twice his size? All the scenes with Bonzo in it were hilarious because Asa is just so damn big and the guy who played Bonzo was tiny compared to him. Are we supposed to feel scared for Ender? When your ‘little boy’ is the same size as both his mentors, who are supposed to look scary and imposing, don’t you think you’re doing something wrong?

t23 la_ca_0819_enders_game

For Gavin Hood simply neutering Ender’s journey on this level was not enough though, as he also rushed through the most important parts of the book; Ender’s feelings, emotional isolation, his love for his parents, his complicated relationship with others around him, and his struggle to live up to what was expected of him. Ender leaves home about 8 minutes into the movie without too much fuss. Peter, Ender’s brother, is on screen for a whopping 3 minutes if even that, and although I understand that he and Valentine couldn’t possibly fill the same roles in the movie as they did in the book (it would’ve added at least 30 extra minutes to the movie), it seems extremely stupid to introduce him and then drop him after only one scene. The entire act is played out terribly, as the audience doesn’t get any feel for Ender’s predicament of leaving his family behind to save the earth or staying behind feeling guilty for not trying. Hood rushes through it to open up to his fancy special effects shots, making his audiences believe Ender doesn’t really care much about what happens – a feeling that perpetuates the entire rest of the movie.

In the book, you really feel for Ender, this little 8 year old boy who’s being pushed to his limits by not only his teachers but also his fellow students. You can see his agony, isolation and loneliness. In the movie, everything has to move so fast that it manages to hit most of the beats, but completely miss the point of each and every one of them. Graff literally tells Anderson (who is now a fat black woman instead of a white male for some reason) that he’s totally going to isolate and break down Ender, but the audience is shown none of it, forced to take Harrison Ford by his word. Ender seems to be breezing through Battle School as if he doesn’t even have anything to learn there, acing one situation after another. Without even taking the time to do something like a cliché montage, Hood shoots us through Enders 4 years in Battle School, making it look like only a few weeks. Emotional bonds aren’t formed, characters all remain flat and the general feel of ‘if only they hadn’t tried to squeeze everything in the book into this thing’ reigns supreme. Because of wanting to put in as much as possible, what really mattered was lost. There is no sense of achievement when Ender gets something right – he gets everything right the first time he tries. There’s no sense of growth in Enders abilities or emotions – he’s as much a ‘commander’ at the beginning of Battle School as he is at the end.

t22

Even my favorite part of the book – the mind game – got the axe of speed+3 and was turned into something that made absolutely no sense to anyone except the people who’ve read the books. I’m sure anyone who hasn’t is wondering why it is even in there at all.

So, yes, the movie disappointed me on every level possible. Every level, except for the designs. Although the Battle Room certainly didn’t look like I had imagined it, it was beautiful, and I loved the way the Formic ships and creatures looked. Had these designs been used in even a half decent movie, I would’ve been happy.

Harrison Ford is another small bright spot in this black hole of a movie, as he fits the moody character of Graff perfectly.
Let’s not talk about Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham though. Although I love Kingsley as an actor, this certainly wasn’t his strongest role. And, let’s be honest, that whole facial tattoo thing was just plain stupid. Even the line in the movie where they try to justify it sounds incredibly out of place and unnecessary.

t23

So, in the end, what Ender’s Game is, is a waste of one of the best series of books ever written. Chances of another movie based on Ender’s Game are remote, and it looks like Summit is planning on coming up with their own stuff to do for a sequel as Speaker For The Dead is probably even more ‘impossible to film’ than Ender’s Game was.
So thanks, Gavin Hood, for raping me and everyone else who loves these books. And thanks, Orson Scott Card, for not letting anyone have the rights to your books up until now. I just wish you’d kept that up for a few decades longer.

VERDICT: 3/10

Advertisements

One comment on “AoH Reviews: Ender’s Game [US, 2013, 114 min]

  1. Pingback: Happy days in Seoul [Part 1] | Anonymous of Holland - Gaming, Movies and Complaints

Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on 22 January 2014 by in Film, Reviews and tagged , , , , , .

For e-mail updates!

Join 72 other followers

Forgotten Tomes

Statistics

  • 26,907 Minds Expanded

Instagram

This weekend the 156th Seoul Comic World was hosted in SETEC in Gangnam. Comic World is a little like the Japanese Comiket: a large event where individual artists or art circles are given the chance to show off and hopefully sell their work to a huge community of anime and manga fans. Unlike Comiket though, Comic World is hosted at least once a month, either in Seoul or in Busan. And tickets are only ₩5000! One of the greatest things about this event is how all the goods are so cheap. Cards usually go for ₩800 or ₩1,000; posters for ₩3,000; key chains for ₩5,000 and you can even get little plastic cutouts of characters you can put on your desk for about ₩15,000. The other greatest thing are the cosplayers: people who worked for weeks or months on a costume to show off their love for a certain character. Unfortunately, the bad weather yesterday meant there weren't many opportunities for taking pictures, but when the weather's good you'd be in for a treat! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ══════════════════════ #Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul_Korea #ComicWorld #SeoulComicWorld #Anime #Manga #Comics #Deadpool #Spiderman #Ash #EvilDead #Cosplay #Marvel #Avengers #Pokemon #서울코믹월드 #코믹월드 #아니메 #만화 #코믹 #데드풀 #스파이더맨 #애시 #이블데드 #코스플레이 #마블 #어벤져스 #포케몬
A warm spring day like today is the perfect time to take a stroll around the Great Korean Beer Festival. And to ignore your thesis work and just hang out with friends without worrying just for a little while. Seoul has a number of beer festivals all around the year, and although none of them come even close to the magnificent glory of the Daegu Chimaek Festival, they're definitely a good way to get away from the (let's be honest, not very good) usual Korean beers. The Great Korean Beer Festival is taking place around COEX (Samseong station exit 5 or 6) right now until the 6th of May, so have a look when the weather's right! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ══════════════════════ #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #COEX #Samseong #Gangnam #Beer #Craftbeer #Koreancraftbeer #Festival #BeerFestival #CraftBeerFestival #Koreanbeer #KoreanFestival #GKBF #맥주 #크래프트비어 #크래프트맥주 #맥주축제 #축제 #코엑스 #5월 #삼성역 #대구치맥페스티벌
Absolute chills when the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-In, and the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jung-Un, joined hands and stepped over the military demarcation line together. What a beautiful and meaningful gesture. Although I, like many Koreans, feel like this might be just another little trick from the North to get their sanctions loosened for a while, there is a part of me that hopes it will mean more than that this time. There's even talk of signing an actual peace treaty to finally end the war that has officially been going on between the two Koreas since 1950! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ══════════════════════ #Korea #SouthKorea #DMZ #NorthKorea #MoonJaeIn #KimJongUn #KimJungUn #NorthKorea #DPRK #Summit #unification #대한민국 #북한 #문재인 #김정은 #남북정상회담 #남북
Finally, just for an instant, my life looked just like one of those Apple commercials. It's 시험기간 (test week) in Korea, so cafés are filled to the brim with students sighing profound sighs of despair as they stare blankly at a pile of books and printouts, hoping the knowledge contained within them will somehow seep into their brains if only they sigh loudly enough. It's extra fun to visit cafés around this time of the year, not just because it's infinitely fascinating to observe Korean study rituals, but also because you'll automatically feel great about the fact that you do NOT have any tests to study for and can instead sit back and go through the birthday cards your family sent you for a birthday you almost forgot is now dawning very, very near. Good luck, guys, good luck. 화이팅, 한국 학생들! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ══════════════════════ #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #Cafe #Café #Seoulcafe #HUFS #Hankukuniversityofforeignstudies #Midterms #Testweek #Study #Studying #Studygram #Birthday #Birthdaycard #Sony #Tentamenweek #ZuidKorea #Verjaardag #시험기간 #공부 #공부스타그램 #카페 #외대 #외대앞 #외대카페 #생일 #생일카드 #화이팅
If you ever find yourself in Gangnam around dinner time, and, like me, worry about being too poor (or budget conscious!) to pay 'Gangnam prices' for dinner, give this little Japanese restaurant called 'MomoSara' a chance. They serve delicious handmade Japanese style 'Hambageu' for ₩9,500, which is about as cheap as you can hope for around Gangnam. They're located about a 5 minute walk from exit 2. Also, they (unfortunately) didn't pay me to write this ㅋㅋ But sometimes it's nice to write a more 'Korean Instagram'-style post. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ══════════════════════ #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #Gangnam #Food #Foodstagram #Japanesefood #Hambagu #MomoSara #Gangnam #Gangnamfood #Japanese #서울 #강남 #강남맛집 #모모사라 #일본음식 #일본집 #맛집 #일본맛집 #함바그 #먹스타그램
In spring, locals and tourists alike can often be seen hunting for that perfect selca with a tree adorned with cherry blossoms in the background to let everyone on their instagram or facebook feed know that spring has started. Being from a country that I guess simply doesn't have any cherry trees, suddenly seeing the roads and campuses of Korea covered in a blanket of pink always brings a smile to my face. It's a shame there's only a limited time to enjoy them. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ══════════════════════ #Korea #SouthKorea #Seoul #Seoul_Korea #cherryblossom #sakura #blossom #spring #flowers #bloom #petals #lente #ZuidKorea #벗꽃 #봄 #서울 #피우다 #꽃 #사쿠라
%d bloggers like this: