The other day my cousin posted pictures on FB where she and her husband were recreating famous artwork at their home with everyday objects. Somehow they managed to make a decent impression of “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh. It was fun. You could definitely look at it and say, Yes, I can see that..”Starry Night”..it’s there…
This is how I feel about the movie Ender’s Game. You can watch it and say, hmm…yes, I can see how that is a little bit like the book. Same character names. There’s a battle station. Kind of the same plot. A bit. I can see it. I guess. But, that’s about it.
It is rather painful when you have a favorite book and then they try to make a movie out of it.
Ender’s Game is one of those books that I have kept with me since I was an early teenager. I loved it. The understanding that children have a thought life, they are fully human…and they are capable of so much more than we give them credit for. The idea that a child could shape history. These things resonated with me when I was young.
This is one of those books that I just pull out every couple years. It’s sitting on my shelf and I glance at it when I’m trying to find something to read…and I think, no, not yet, it’s too soon since I last read it. And then, one day, I look at it and I just know, It’s time. Time to read the book again. And somehow I’ve waited just the right amount of time so that when I read it, I’m still surprised, I’m still emotionally connected. It’s still deeply enjoyable.
So, I just re-read Ender’s Game, and now I’m reading the companion book, Ender’s Shadow, which retells the story from a different character’s point of view. And in the middle of all that, I thought, hey, let’s watch the movie. So, Andy and I watched it after the kids were in bed. And I felt like screaming the whole time. WHAT??? What are you doing??? Did you even read the book before you wrote the script??? How did you get this character so WRONG!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE???
I mean, I understand, it’s a long, complicated book. Some things were going to have to be sacrificed. But you would think that they would at least capture the personality and character traits of the main character. They took a compassionate, wise leader who ends the book at only eleven years old, and they turned him into a whiny, emotional teenager. ??????????? They turned a book about CHILDREN into a book about older TEENAGERS.
If you can’t tell by now, I was not impressed with the movie.
There is a definite correlation between how much you enjoy and know a book, and how well you are going to enjoy the movie. For instance, Lord of the Rings. I read the book series once. I never felt the need to read it again. I loved the movies. I had no problem with them at all, even though some of the diehard LOTR fans in my life had some strong opinions. But, the Narnia movies grate on my nerves. The first one, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is close enough that I can mostly enjoy it, but the other two movies just went off into their own little story lines, completely ignoring the fact that the book was already perfect just as it was, no need to mess with it.
What is the deal with script-writers anyway?
Ok. Rant over. Mostly.
If you happen to be looking for a good Sci-fi, I recommend Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card. I’m not as in-love with the rest of the series that both those books are connected to, but they are still good.
And I definitely don’t recommend watching the movie.
(And yes, this movie came out years ago, I’m late on the rant trail…but it’s never too late to try and save people from a bad experience!)