Ender's Game gets a movie deal

Discussion in 'Movies' started by mattCR, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    For a two-hour condensed telling of the story it does an admirable job, even at times an emotionally strong and visually imaginative one. Butterfield's performance is indicative of his emerging talent, and the supporting roles do just that - support the lead. Yet I feel this is the best one could expect of a shorthand version of the story, and it just can never fully encompass the nuance and depth of the novel. Which is not to say it doesn't serve the material well - it still contains the core ideas and the moral questions/weight, but they stream by briskly, and in so doing lose the full power of the novel's greatest quality: pathos. It is solid enough to get the ball rolling on the thematics if not able to wholly embrace them. 8/10
    This is easily fixed by

    having Valentine zoom off to catch up with him in space. Not that big of a problem, IMO. I don't anticipate getting a sequel - it's gonna need to get to about $200+ million world wide box office to be profitable - but I would think that they would do something that would bring the Valentine/Peter aspect to the front.

    Maybe have it start with Ender going back to Earth to rendezvous with Valentine but then not returning all the way because of the threat he represents to a now warring world, and especially Peter gunning for power. This would be a way to establish the concepts of how Ender refuses to continue to be used by the power-hungry of mankind, and allow the story to move forward to parts of Ender in Exile where he begins to establish his Speaker for the Dead persona (they'd have to create a new immediate conflict for Ender rather then get into the Achilles side story). It could end with him having written the Hive Queen and the Hegemon under his pseudonym while not aging due to space relativity while Earth time passes him by, with the 3rd film being an adaptation of Speaker for the Dead.
     
  2. Scott-S

    Scott-S Cinematographer
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    Just saw Ender's Game. Great movie. Looked great in IMAX. I have read the book, so the I knew the ending, but still enjoyed seeing the plot unfold. The Battle School stuff was drastically shortened from the book so Ender's growth as a leader wasn't as rewarding, but I guess they had to sacrifice a lot for time.

    I think the casting was OK but Ender was a bit to tall/big. As I remember, he was supposed to be smaller than the others (younger). Maybe I am not remembering this correctly. I know Bean was supposed to be really small, but I thought Ender was also supposed to be one of the youngest.
     
  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    The movie got far more right than it got wrong. The two most important performances in the movie -- Asa Butterfield as Ender and Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham -- were exactly right. A lot of the stuff with the interpersonal dynamics at Battle School they captured very comprehensibly while condensing considerably. I didn't think the Petra character was particularly well-served by the movie. This is less a criticism of Hailee Steinfeld's performance than of the role the character was given to play in the film. She basically served as a Valentine surrogate for much of the film, which made her a lot more emotional and maternal than the character on the page. You never get that sense of her as the competition like you did in the book. As a result, you don't get that very powerful beat where Ender pushes her too far and she breaks.

    While I didn't particularly miss the "Locke" and "Demosthenes" online essays, which we can assume occurred off-screen, I did miss the sense that Peter and Valentine were just as brilliant Ender, only one ran too cold and the other ran too hot while Ender hit the Goldilocks place of just right. In her handful of scenes, I thought Abigail Breslin actually did a great job of capturing Valentine. But I think Peter could have used a few more beats to flesh him out a bit. He's a complete psychopath, but he's a very different kind of pyschopath from Bonzo and I don't think the movie captured that.

    Harrison Ford isn't what I pictured at all for Colonel Graff, but it's one of his best performances in years. In the book, he's a sort of Taft-like spidery man of cunning and guile. Ford's version looks like your typical movie military man hard charger, but in a way that's to the movie's benefit. It helps mask the cunning and guile, which are still very much there, and makes some of his manipulations of Ender a bit more unexpected. Most importantly, the dynamic between Ford and Butterfield completely works on screen.

    The movie loses something with the necessity of having a twelve-year-old pubescent Ender whose experiences at Battle School encompass a matter of months rather than a six-year-old who is literally raised at Battle School over a matter of years. Some very obscure details are immaculately captured, like Ender's father's eastern European accent and Mazer's New Zealand accent. Others sort of quizzically fall by the wayside; while the racial composition of the Battle School candidates remains admirably varied, judging by the kids' accents you'd think they were all American. Alai should have an accent from Northern Africa. Bean and Deek should have Dutch accents. While the book isn't clear of Petra's country of origin beyond her Armenian heritage, the Bean sequels make it clear that she should have an Armenian accent.
     
  4. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    I thought it was good, not great. It captured the book well, and it looked perfect visually, but it was both too grim and too busy. The film starts out at a hundred miles an hour and never really relents - I guess in an attempt to create the latest movie thrill ride. But Ender's Game wasn't a thrill ride of a book, it was a thoughtful science fiction story. I enjoyed the movie, but I did think it was missing something.
     
  5. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    I really enjoyed the film. Like others have mentioned, I knew the ending but I was fascinated as it unfolded. Great performances throughout - Ford was at his best. My wife was cheering at the end -- she loved it. It deserves to do well.
     
  6. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    My wife has loved the book, and has been desperately waiting for the movie to come out. We saw it last night, and I found it boring, and was not able to connect with any of the characters, although the visuals were well-done (as they should be, since the film was produced by VFX house Digital Domain).

    Here's my wife's review of the film:
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Waiting for this to start in IMAX and had to google why it wasn't showing in 3d, this seems like a natural for that but it sounds like they had good reasoning. Will report back in a while, seeing Thor2 in IMAX 3d after this ends :)
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Enders Game is a fair adaptation, somewhere in the range of the first Narnia book.The hardest part is the movie crashes through the material, tossing in key lines, and then hurtling past massive sections of character development. I gasped as it went from Enders first game with Salamander to his final game with Dragon. I expect the Directors Cut on disc to have the missing 30 min. It felt they were cutting too much, but the demands of a movie schedule are tough. I think the Battle Room was very right in some ways, but completely wrong in others. Primarily, it shouldn't have been clear with a view of the Earth. The movie is filled with "design" that's just busywork without consideration to the actual material. The performances were all above adequate, but not particularly inspired. The kids did ok. Harrison Ford took an oddly cast character - Graff should be a 30yr old Colonel -- and made him work as a graveley senior.I've heard that after Star Wars, the next several years of scifi space battles looked silly in comparison.So it is with Enders Game, after Gravity. Having teen actors movie their arms slowly with O faces is now amateur hour for 0g. Watching them flight about on wire rigs in the battle room was ok...but Cuaron has now set everyone else back until they can catch up with his genius...if that's even possible to do with a cast of a dozen teens.The Mind Game is my least favorite part of the book, but I was surprised by how decently they converted it to film.The final few moments of the movie, the Coda, were my favorite. After two hours of dialogue, playing it quietly was surprisingly effective. Kudos on that choice. This was a pleasant way to spend an evening. It's worth watching if your in the mood for scifi with some substance, but big space romp. You can wait for video. The theater was fun, but it's not a must-see movie.
     
  9. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Agreed on all parts.
     
  10. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    I really enjoyed this film. I had little interest in seeing it after the horrible trailer but was pleasantly surprised at how great it actually was. Agree with all the positive statements above. ;). ***1/2 out of **** for me.
     
  11. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    Unfortunately I doubt we will ever see a sequel. IMO, it would have to make a shitload overseas to compensate for its poor domestic performance. And I don't think that's going to happen. Also, Profitable does not always guarantee sequel. With a $115 million dollar price tag , it would need to make $250 to $350 million just to break even. From boxofficeguru.com
     
  12. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    This is the type of movie that should do well in tv and video secondary markets, but I always saw sequels as very long odds anyway. I'm satisfied enough with one film. It's so simply a literary universe first and foremost, so even one film that is mostly faithful is quite surprising to get in retrospect.Sent from my VS920 4G using Tapatalk
     
  13. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    This film reminded me of Starship Troopers in many ways, and like that film looks to be a disappointment boxoffice wise but eventually can become a cult film. I can see Enders Game doing that.
     
  14. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

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    Movie economics aside, couldn't they have split the book into two movies? Perhaps the first movie ends when Ender graduates from Battle School. Like others have written, considering the time they had to work with, they did a good job of capturing the book. A lot was lost, but they had to lose it.While watching I kept wondering why is this not 3D? The Battle Room scenes would have been great, he'll most of the movie would have been great in 3D.
     
  15. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    What is a killer for me now is that the radio play version of Ender's Game (Ender Alive) came out on Audible this month. And in almost every way it is superior. There are no inner monologues, there are new scenes.. but the way the story is told is fantastically well done.

    It's a real treat.
     
    cafink likes this.
  16. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    My girlfriend is a big fan of Ender's game and while she didn't like the movie, she has spoken very highly of Ender's Game Alive. I've listened to the first 30 minutes or so and it seems to be a pretty good adaptation of the story.
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Interesting. I thought it was just an abridged version with a big cast. I'll put that on my wish list.
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Was it just me, or did it feel awkward that the movie never used the word "Buggers" for the, we'll, buggers? I thought the book used that throughout, and Formics just once or twice to hint at the enemy.
     
  19. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    They avoided using it because of its slang use/meaning in the UK.Sent from my VS920 4G using Tapatalk
     
  20. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    In the UK it has a connotation with 'gay' as a slur, I guess. Once someone told me this all I could think was: really? All I could think of was everytime it was used in Black Adder, AbFab, Monty Python, and the implication never struck me as having anything to do with that but *shrug*
     

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