There are some stories that get stuck in your head. They weave their way into your brain and sit there. There’s something inexplicable about them that we hold on to. For me, Ender’s Game is one of those stories.
I read Ender’s Game in High School. I was probably 14 years old. When I heard they were making this book that had made such an impact on me, into a movie, I was skeptical. I was terrified that Hollywood make take Ender’s message and castrate it. I was afraid that they would take a brilliant cast, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsely, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Stanfield AND Abigail Breslin, and ruin it. Could they do wrong? Yes. Did they? No.
I was pleasantly surprised by Hollywood’s version of Ender’s Game. It was beautiful. The battle room was fantastic, I got a little dizzy watching it on the big screen.I dont even know how they filmed the weightless battle room sequences, but it looked realistic. And probably a lot of fun. The performances did not disappoint, and I only had a few minor complaints about the film itself. One was an alluded romance between Ender and Petra, but that’s not that far off from the book I guess.
The reason I love Ender is because he’s brave. He doesn’t respect authority unless they respect him. I believe Ender, or rather the author, Orson Scott Card, bring up an important point. Shouldn’t children be treated with as much respect as they are expected to give? Ender wanted respect, but he never disrespected an elder to get it. The way Ender presented himself, gained him this respect. But I digress.
At the end of the movie, instead of actually playing a “game”, Ender and his squad of misfits were actually controlling an army. Or rather, and armada of crazy expensive space ships. Instead of a game, Ender was fighting a war. But it was a war that he wasn’t sure was necessary. He was duped by those he trusted into having one simple goal; win the game. And in order to win that game, Ender instructed Petra to fire a weapon into the planet’s surface that destroyed all life on it. Once Ender is made aware of the situation, he is inconsolable. (Can you blame him?)
In between fart jokes, and yo momma comments, Ender’s Game is executed in the classic Sci-Fi style. It looks like its all fun and games on the surface, but underneath it all, a message too important to ignore.
Ender gives us the question of War. Why fight? What are the consequences? What do we do when its over? How do we retain our humanity when we destroy the lives of others?
Ender taught me that to make a difference, you have to be brave. You have to be smart. You have to defend your decisions, but also learn from your mistakes. Ender also taught me that the mind of the a child is the strongest of all. I think that Card chose a child as his main character because of the way children think. Could an adult imagine such a world where children fight off bugs and play in a battle room? No. But a child? That’s like yesterday afternoon’s recess.
There’s controversy surrounding Ender’s Game, not because of the content, but because of comments made by the author about homosexuality and most recently, a rant about Obama. (you can read the article here) His comments have made some call for the boycott of the film. Quite honestly, if I chose not to go a film because of the beliefs of its creators, I would probably not go to the movies very often, or ever. You can read one person’s take on why she won’t go see Ender’s Game over at wired. I have to say that although I agree with her, it doesn’t change the fact that Ender’s Game is a beautiful and tragic story. Its one that I feel people need to experience in whatever way they see fit.
I don’t take Ender’s Game lightly, and I think that it will shock the audience members who sit down expecting to watch just another science fiction movie.
After all, its only a game, isn’t it?
Brown dog doesn’t give a hoot about Science Fiction, but he does give two hoots about popcorn. Pass it over.
P.S. Tick tock.
P.P.S. My friend commented that another good thing from this movie is that we know Harrison Ford can act again. There is hope. (But I won’t hold my breath)