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Ender's Game (2013)
Objectively shallow and trashy
NOTE: If you're a book reader that was curious of the film adaptation, skip to the ending of this review for my conclusion on the matter, as I, too, only came to this movie because I loved the book.
Let us begin by saying that the movie was extremely short for the material it tried to work with, and as a result came off as completely shallow. It never deepened on key points, and it was obvious from the start that the only connection with the books that was going to be made would be the name of the characters and the general movie timeline. Some more specifics:
α) Ender's character was not explored. At all. His tactical genius, his inner struggles, his loneliness was all left out. As a result, Ender, throughout the film, remained a brat that the viewer did not really connect with and said viewer would constantly ask himself (as many people watching alongside me, who have not read the book, asked themselves) 'why are they giving command of the entire human fleet to a 12 year old'? NOTE:Ender's loneliness was also completely destroyed when they showed him making friends not only during Battle School, but also during Command School. So much for the struggle of the lonely leader. Ender's accidental murders didn't make it on-screen either, which took away from the tragic part of Ender's existence. Bonzo did get killed, but they made it look completely like an accident, possibly because they couldn't film complex fighting scenes with the juvenile actors.
β) Peter and Valentine were not explored at all, again. This gave the viewer NO connection whatsoever at why Valentine was important to Ender, and why she acted as his moral compass. Peter, also, was left out and the whole aspect of Ender's fear and self-loathing for slowly turning into, or reacting like Peter wasn't there. Because of that missing concept, Ender seemed more immature and less fleshed-out as a character, too.
γ) Demosthenes and Locke weren't explored, at all. That left a huge void in the backstory of the film and, again, why Peter, Valentine and Ender were important as Special Children, why they thought very much unlike 12 year olds and how big their genius was. Also, the nature of humans seeking out conflict, even right after eliminating the Bugger threat or seeking to murder Ender would lend a nice gritty feel to the ending part of the movie. But alas.
δ) The timeline was extremely cramped because of the movie's time limit. Ender's recruitment into Battle School to his Graduation Battle on Eros'es Command School happened over the course of 2 months, in the movie. While they also constantly dropped hints about the human fleets approaching Bugger worlds and getting ready for a fight, which took away from the final twist.
ε) The Mind Game and the Speaker for the Dead part was not explored. As a result, the ending was a complete clusterfuck. People were legitimately asking "What the f*ck" around me at that point. Nobody knew how Ender 'communicated' with the queen or where he had formed the connection to her. Nobody knew how they could build a place in honour of Ender since, in the movie, nobody explained the concept of space-travel time passage, at no point were we aware that the trip to Command School apparently took 3 months, so a viewer would rightfully think, 'Ender was introduced to this whole thing AND the Mind Game last month, how could the Buggers have built a monument to him 27 years ago'? Also, Ender doesn't even find the monument in the colony world with Val, he finds it right there on Eros, the Command School planet, along with a fully alive Queen!
I stopped trying to make sense of the film from the middle of it. I became increasingly bored as I watched. I realized that it was a kiddie film, or a quick cash-in on a very popular sci-fi classic.
Book readers, Do not seek the complexity of the book here. People who enjoy good films, avoid Ender's Game. If you would like to watch and decide for yourselves, find a way that will not cost you money, because you would be throwing them down the drain.
I was utterly disappointed.