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Ender's Game gets a movie deal


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#81 of 107 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted November 01 2013 - 09:49 PM

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

 

The last one is a big spoiler, so..

Spoiler

 

 

This is easily fixed by

 

Spoiler


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#82 of 107 OFFLINE   Scott-S

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Posted November 02 2013 - 05:08 AM

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.


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#83 of 107 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted November 02 2013 - 05:14 PM

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.



#84 of 107 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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Posted November 03 2013 - 06:51 AM

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. 


Edited by Sam Favate, November 03 2013 - 06:51 AM.


#85 of 107 OFFLINE   Brett_M

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Posted November 03 2013 - 07:41 AM

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.  


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#86 of 107 OFFLINE   Todd Erwin

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Posted November 04 2013 - 05:59 PM

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:

 

3.5/5 Stars

 
The adaptation of Ender's Game was good, but not great. It failed to get us to connect to these kids, leaving the general audience in admiration of great effects, but puzzled over the story arch. It was highly sanitized so that we could not bond well with the characters, failing to be connected to their heart. The special effects were better than expected. Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley bring the characters of Graff and Rackham to life. Viola Davis recasts Andersen with more relevance and depth than the book. Acting from the children was all around solid.  But something failed to jell in being invested and connected with the characters, whether screenwriting or editing or score. In the book it is easy to become invested in the very young but aware boy named Ender, surrounded by bullies, fighting for sheer survival, and we feel in our gut the desperation growing every day as he fights to understand and cope with the fatigue and the antipathy of adults manipulating and breaking every rule of the game against him. In the book everything is stacked against him, he is 4 years younger than everyone else, except for Bean who comes along later. His existence is marked by isolation and desperation, until he finds his small cadre of allies. Ender's inner dialog, which ties us to him in the book, is utterly missing from the movie. 


#87 of 107 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted November 09 2013 - 01:53 PM

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 :)

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#88 of 107 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted November 11 2013 - 04:30 AM

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.

#89 of 107 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted November 11 2013 - 06:08 AM

Agreed on all parts.

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#90 of 107 OFFLINE   Tino

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Posted November 11 2013 - 04:44 PM

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.
It's gonna be a hell of a ride. I'm ready. .

#91 of 107 OFFLINE   Tino

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Posted November 11 2013 - 04:54 PM

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

As widely expected, the sci-fi film Ender's Game took a beating in its second weekend with the arrival of Thor. Lionsgate suffered a 62% tumble to an estimated $10.3M putting the ten-day sum at $44M - disappointing for a pricey effects-driven adventure meant to launch a new franchise. A $60-65M final seems likely


Edited by Tino, November 11 2013 - 04:54 PM.

It's gonna be a hell of a ride. I'm ready. .

#92 of 107 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted November 11 2013 - 05:28 PM

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

Edited by Brandon Conway, November 11 2013 - 05:28 PM.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#93 of 107 OFFLINE   Tino

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Posted November 11 2013 - 06:04 PM

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.
It's gonna be a hell of a ride. I'm ready. .

#94 of 107 OFFLINE   Johnny Angell

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Posted November 14 2013 - 08:02 PM

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.
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#95 of 107 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted November 15 2013 - 06:24 AM

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.


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#96 of 107 OFFLINE   cafink

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Posted November 18 2013 - 09:27 AM

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.


 

 


#97 of 107 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted November 28 2013 - 08:11 PM

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.


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

#98 of 107 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted November 28 2013 - 08:37 PM

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.

#99 of 107 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted November 28 2013 - 09:55 PM

They avoided using it because of its slang use/meaning in the UK.

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"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#100 of 107 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted November 28 2013 - 10:39 PM

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.

 

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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