Escape to the Movies: Ender's Game

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I know it's not exactly on topic for a film review but the whole brouhaha around the author does amuse me. Did you think that because he wrote a book he'd be a nice guy?

It's amusing when contrasted against the Internet and nerds generally and their "ermahgerd curtherler omg lervecrerft" attitude. I guess some people haven't been reading the books they supposedly love. Maybe this is something that as a Burzum fan I've just have to come to terms with but you can like a product without liking the producer.

My thoughts on Card are simple. He can have all the horrible bigoted views that he wants. That's fine. But he uses money he gets from stuff like this to try and promote and enforce those views. And that's where I draw the line. If giving him my money gives him resources to try and push views saying that a certain group of people are evil, then he will not be getting my money.

That's not censorship. That's capitalism.

As for the movie, it sounds like it was exactly how I was expecting it to turn out.

Reminds me of the "Chris Brown - No Stars Ever" review.

TL;DR - sometimes you're a big enough douchebag that no amount of precious talent is worth supporting.

Wait, THAT'S the twist?
When I read the book, I basically more or less assumed that.
The bigger shocker to me was


To me, THAT was the twist ending, not the stupid "gotcha" at the test.

Never read the book, but already had the twist spoiled for me. Might go see it, might not. Meh.

On the Star Wars issue though, love or hate JJ Abrams the idea that Disney is willing to risk a franchise (that could been at the very least as troubled) is worrisome. I'm not going to disagree that, even with post-production work, they should be able to make this movie and get it out in the time allotted right now as long as they don't try to focus more on spectacle (i.e. post-production time consuming CGI). However, the rumors speak to trouble on the timetable because of script issues and disagreements over casting. I think all of us would agree casting played a big part of the problem (*cough*Christansen*cough*) with the prequels, and if Disney is pushing what they think are more marketable stars (or God forbid, stars they already have contracts with for movies and shows) this REALLY could blow up in everyone's face.

Disney has to know that while the fan community might be glad to see George's hands off the controls, they are also wary of a company that has only a flirting relationship with quality. Rushing the product to the screen screams cash-in, not an attempt to re-invigorate the franchise.

Axolotl:

MCerberus:
So wait, they got rid of the whole 'invented personalities pushing politics to the extreme for attention and gain, poisoning the well of public discourse' plot line?

You know, the one that's extremely relevant right now?
I guess they needed more time for CGI wanking.

That plot line is about a guy taking over the world via blogging.

It was silly in the 80's and time has not made it any less so.

Silly, yes, possibly relevant given the rise of the internet, blogs and the like, most likely. Regardless, looking around, quite a few people are calling the movie a hollow shell and I can somewhat agree. The political plotline, while not directly connected to Ender himself, serves as a part of a point about the government of the book and the training itself was a sting against military romanticism and the like.

I would say the issue is that a lot of works have been made since the book about these points. Movies about politics get made almost every year and, as an anime fan, I can count multiple shows that do the whole anti military thing as much as Ender's Game (the new Space Battleship Yamato comes to mind). The movie in this kind of environment would feel a bit dated so there were a lot of things going against it.

Orson Scott Card has a dissenting political opinion. That makes him a jerk? Meh. He's still above Harlan Ellison in my book. At least he didn't grope anyone.

As for the movie; it went exactly as I thought. They removed all of the parts of it that were actually morally challenging. The book's still good, the movie can be meh all it wants to.

Piorn:
Wait, THAT'S the twist?
When I read the book, I basically more or less assumed that.
The bigger shocker to me was


To me, THAT was the twist ending, not the stupid "gotcha" at the test.

That actually does sound like a good twist, a stinging criticism of people's want of vengeance and how the military can go too far. I doubt though that the movie would have done it well at all and if they did do it, they probably have been compared to other works that have been made.

ForumSafari:
I know it's not exactly on topic for a film review but the whole brouhaha around the author does amuse me. Did you think that because he wrote a book he'd be a nice guy?

It's amusing when contrasted against the Internet and nerds generally and their "ermahgerd curtherler omg lervecrerft" attitude. I guess some people haven't been reading the books they supposedly love. Maybe this is something that as a Burzum fan I've just have to come to terms with but you can like a product without liking the producer.

The difference being A: I can listen to all of Filosofem legally on youtube without giving Varg money, B: Lovecraft is freaking dead, and C: Card actually donates loads of money to hate groups, hence the reason people are hesitant to give him more money.

Chessrook44:

MCerberus:
So wait, they got rid of the whole 'invented personalities pushing politics to the extreme for attention and gain, poisoning the well of public discourse' plot line?

You know, the one that's extremely relevant right now?
I guess they needed more time for CGI wanking.

When the book came out it MIGHT have seemed potentially feasible (You know, like how an AI going crazy and nearly starting nuclear war because it didn't know the difference between reality and a simulation, only to be defeated by making it play Tic Tac Toe with itself was potentially feasible back then) but now? Do you REALLY think such a thing is ANYWHERE in the realm of possibility?

Plus, it WAS kind of a side story. Ender was the main story.

fair enough but it probably would have given the movie a bit of weight even if it does seem ridiculous. Also, this is the age when posts, blogs, and certain sites have a fair amount of influence on certain people's lives. Will it be enough to incite revolution, not really, but it certainly can push people in concurrent directions

P.S. you can call me out if you want because I may be overestimating the effect of mob mentality and the internet on that mentality but I do think that Ender's game shouldn't have removed something as relevant and challenging as that.

funny. was bored by the book, was bored by this. huh.

This is about what I expected it to be. And I wasn't planning on seeing it anyway. Nothing to do with the controversy, I just was never that into Ender's Game. It was basically just an Alien Invasion story with unusually cerebral overtones and a twist ending. I didn't think it was bad, it just didn't engage me.

Now, Speaker For The Dead? That was excellent. But I won't go to a movie of that either, as what makes it excellent is something that wouldn't translate into screen very well, either.

ZZoMBiE13:
"Oh. November. Goodie"

Words never rang so true. I know this is an aside and I apologize for the indulgence. But I swear to anyone reading this, our Halloween merriment of last night was barely complete before I started seeing Christmas ads on some of the channels I watched as I tried to shake off last night's sugar high.

I review DVDs / Blu-rays as part of my job and this is the first year I can remember that I didn't get a Christmas release in September. I've gotten screeners for Christmas movies in August some years. I'm happy if they wait till after Halloween before they brought out Christmas.

Looks at poster
"This is not a game"
Thank you for spoiling the movie, jerks :(

Anyway we need movies based on less known, but still good books
For example "Allies and Aliens" (by Roger MacBride Allen)
Leviathan assault is still one of my favorite moments in any book

I never realised the bar for being a "horrible human being" was so low.

Most horrible human beings I would name have killed thousands or committed some crime. All Card has done is disagree with the prevailing opinion on sexuality. Hardly a crime against humanity.

Izanagi009:

Piorn:
Wait, THAT'S the twist?
When I read the book, I basically more or less assumed that.
The bigger shocker to me was


To me, THAT was the twist ending, not the stupid "gotcha" at the test.

That actually does sound like a good twist, a stinging criticism of people's want of vengeance and how the military can go too far. I doubt though that the movie would have done it well at all and if they did do it, they probably have been compared to other works that have been made.

Yeah, and it would propably have been too weird. The book had an entire subplot of a game that was generated out of Ender's Psyche, with weird fantasy stuff and gruesome deaths, where he digests the stuff that happened. Towards the end as his psyche degrades, his dreams get weirder and bugs start appearing in places he saw in the game.


Personally, I found it a profoundly sad ending, but maybe that's just me.

My guess would be that they cut the fantasy game/dream sequences because they're too weird for general audiences.
And few people can cope with moral ambiguity, nowadays. Seems like they tried to keep that to a minimum.

Captain Pooptits:
I, like many other Escape to the Movies fans, am definitely here for the snobbery. Screw low entry level entertainment, I want to be told which films are worth remembering rather than just re-chewing popcorn to like a certain wooly herbivore.

Me too. There are a hundred internet film reviewers who will tell me whether a film is good or bad. If I cared a whit for the whims of the masses I'd go to Metacritic. I go to Bob because he gives appropriate context, both in pop culture and the history of film.

Axolotl:

Ryan Hughes:
self-snip

There's a big difference between Card and Wilde, Pound, Elliot, Dostoyevsky. And it's that he's alive and funding hate groups while they're all dead. If I buy a volume of the Cantos then I won't be supporting fascism, If I go see a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest I won't be funding paedophilia on the other hand the more I consume Card's work the more resources and reach I'm giving him to spread his hate.

That is a good point, but I think Card's work with hate groups is simply null. Personally, I think we have 'turned the corner' on homophobia and there really is no going back. Card can fund these groups if he wants, but it will just waste money and likely will not even postpone the implementation of LGBT rights like the right to marry and the right to inheritance in America, much less in more progressive Europe and many Asian countries. Heck, Card is a Mormon, but the vast majority of the Mormons I know are actually pro-gay marriage and think it greatly damages their religion to adopt anti-gay policies. Really, we are at a generational shift here, and people like Card are on the way out, simple as that.

Have to disagree with Bob. The movie was fun enjoyable and the REAL twist ending was good. It could have done with more extensive scenes to actually showcase his tactical abilities and the implied Full Metal Jacket bootcamp didn't really go anywhere. But then films don't have the luxury of time that TV series and books have.
However Bob, thanks for wasting a minute and a half of this review for a "OMG Orson Scott card is worse than Hitler" rant. That's the precise reason you have the Big Picture and keep the politics out of the movie reviews. As your punishment I'm going to tell you that Captain America appears in Thor. There.

Coruptin:
eck, just reading the synpsis of the book is enough to make me cringe, even now. the super miracle caucasian genius boy genre is just not my cup of tea

And you're missing out. The Ender books as well as the Bean series are some of the best books I've ever read, and it has nothing to do with "The super miracle Caucasian genius boy" slant either. The stories are just well written, interesting, and thought provoking; "Children of the Mind" was my favorite.

Anyway, I stopped watching this review 30 seconds in because I'm not going to listen to this guy in his ridiculous Bahstan accent touch on anything other than the content. I don't come here for your political views sir, nor your opinions on the political and social views of others. I certainly don't agree that Orson is the "worst human being" ever as I'm sure even you couldn't believe that.

This Escape to the Movies is simply Juvenile. Plain and simple. It's about as bad as Joe Neumaier's review on the film. Bang up job Bob...

Piorn:
[quote="Izanagi009" post="6.832741.20350074"][quote="Piorn" post="6.832741.20350035"]Yeah, and it would propably have been too weird. The book had an entire subplot of a game that was generated out of Ender's Psyche, with weird fantasy stuff and gruesome deaths, where he digests the stuff that happened. Towards the end as his psyche degrades, his dreams get weirder and bugs start appearing in places he saw in the game.


Personally, I found it a profoundly sad ending, but maybe that's just me.

My guess would be that they cut the fantasy game/dream sequences because they're too weird for general audiences.
And few people can cope with moral ambiguity, nowadays. Seems like they tried to keep that to a minimum.

Nope the dream sequence is in there.

Maybe it makes more sense in the book\movie but training children to be generals seems like a terrible idea for so many reasons, either way the movie doesn't look very interesting to me.

I do hate it when something I like is tied to a cause I disagree with, I'm looking at you domino pizza.

Saw it. Thought it was alright, but then I didn't finish the book. Like many will say it clearly better to read the books.

I can see why some would be skeptical about giving Card their money, mind. Shadow Complex was a cool game and still sold, though.

Choose what you want to watch, but choose carefully. Thor 2 and Part Two of The Hobbit are due soon.

Look, OSC is a douche, yes. He wrote one unarguably good book (Ender's Game) and he's been writing spin-offs and sequels ever since(that are mediocre at best). But he already got payed for this movie. And even if he still has some money coming his way is that a reason to miss out on a decent movie? Seriously, if you start boycotting movies because awful people make money from them just how many movies a year do you think you'll go to?!

As for the review, yeah, totally agree. I mean any science-fiction movie that doesn't have heroes in costumes (preferably from the marvel universe) isn't worth it anyway. See this is exactly why we won't any have good SF that thinks outside the comic-book box.

Coruptin:
eck, just reading the synpsis of the book is enough to make me cringe, even now. the super miracle caucasian genius boy genre is just not my cup of tea

If you want to cringe, read the original short story (or, if you're feeling pretentious, "novelette".

Same thing happens to the enemy's home planet at the end. Except the enemy isn't named, isn't identified as aliens, and no evidence is presented that humanity ever colonized beyond Earth and some space stations.

Also, "Caucasian boy wonder" is pretty much the opposite of the point. Ender's tactical "genius" is only genius by the standards of a ten-year-old kid, he actually wins by intentionally doing something so stupid that the enemy can't comprehend the magnitude of the fail, because he's essentially throwing a tantrum in the form of throwing the test.

And if he wasn't a child, he'd be pretty much the most vile, bloodthirsty, slimy, irredeemable protagonist in science fiction... which is kind of the point. It's a book about governments kidnapping and brainwashing child soldiers, when Ender starts his tenure in the military via the school abducting him by threatening to murder his little sister in the first chapter it's immediately clear that all the gung-ho patriotism is a cynical deconstruction of warfare "for good cause", not sincere Henlein 'hooray military' crap.

(This is actually what makes Card's transformation into one of the most contemptible, theocratic repressive hawks imaginable so puzzling. Ender's Game is so vehemently anti-war and left-wing that it makes Karl Marx look like George Will. It's almost a damned polemic, the agenda is so un-subtle. I mean, come on, "even righteous war is literally genocide"? Christ.)

EmilShmiengura:
I mean any science-fiction movie that doesn't have heroes in costumes (preferably from the marvel universe) isn't worth it anyway. See this is exactly why we won't any have good SF that thinks outside the comic-book box.

This year, Elysium was pretty decent, if unsubtle. Pacific rim was, if not the best thing ever, still pretty great, and the World's End was pretty much the funniest thing I've seen since hot fuzz.

If you're willing to tolerate a little more surreal and low-budget stuff, John Dies at the End was fun, too.

So that's four science fiction movies that weren't based on comic books, and only one even based on a book, in the last year. Four is more good movies than you get in any other genre in a year, so I'll take it.

Orcboyphil:

Nope the dream sequence is in there.

Awww geez, how embarrassing. I'm jumping to conclusions again.
To what extent though? I'm really curious now.

themilo504:
Maybe it makes more sense in the book\movie but training children to be generals seems like a terrible idea for so many reasons, either way the movie doesn't look very interesting to me.

I do hate it when something I like is tied to a cause I disagree with, I'm looking at you domino pizza.

Question, say we have AI, and Robots that can simulate input 1:1 on the battlefield, but need to be operated by a human. Do you use a bunch of old guys that are being trained for the first time in their life on operating these war machines, or do you use children unspoiled by years of dogmatic teaching, who have been interfacing with this technology for much of their young life.

Right, you use the children. Same premise with Ender's Game.

Whenever I think of Ender's Game, I think of the Nostalgia Chick's "review" of the book... which is really just talking about the controversy surrounding the book... or rather, the controversy surrounding the book's author. Really, the dumb stuff Orson Scott Card says on his blog, it's beyond belief... Kind of a shame that would affect an otherwise pretty awesome book and this movie. ...Here's the video, to anyone who's interested:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5b1ZoxUeKc

Also, J.J. Abrams is being "difficult" during the making of Star Wars? What's that supposed to mean?

BreakfastMan:

The difference being A: I can listen to all of Filosofem legally on youtube without giving Varg money, B: Lovecraft is freaking dead, and C: Card actually donates loads of money to hate groups, hence the reason people are hesitant to give him more money.

Of course there is a difference, it just strikes me as funny that people don't seem to know all that much about the content of a lot of Lovecraft's books. I don't know about the Vikernes analogy though, I think that while you can listen to his work on Youtube a lot more people will just shrug their shoulders and fund him by buying a CD or "steal" the music instead. The thing is that Varg is just a particularly insane example, they may not donate but the views Card exhorts are common the what seems like the overwhelming majority of commercial rap.

It just seems to me like people weren't realistically going to see this anyway and are now saying it's because homophobia because honestly if people like the product by and large they'll apparently look the other way. See Emperor at Download as well, no offense to my metalbros but realistically were most of the people going really going to watch a black metal band? Probably not, even without the controversy around them I'm guessing there weren't going to be that many Emperor fans in that group.

I know it's terribly unlikely you will read nor care what I think, but I've come down pretty hard on you in the last bunch of reviews of yours I commented on Bob. Thankfully, for me anyway, I can say that I enthusiastically agree with every sentiment you had in this review. As a huge fan of the Ender story (though Speaker for the Dead was better than any of it), I felt that they would do exactly what you described and I'm glad you chided them for it. Removing the very soul of a novel in order to make a spectacle of it is ever the problem with these sorts of adaptations.

LysanderNemoinis:
Yeah, but you have to remember how the world works. It's okay for an an artist to be an anti-Semite and hire underage hookers (as long as they're the same sex). If it's opposite sex, then it's wrong...unless your have the "correct" political ideology, then you can get away with anything. I mean, no one bats an eyelash when Sean Penn and other actors pal around with horrible communist dictators (who actually systematically kill gay people). At absolute worst people treat it as a joke (ha ha, Dennis Rodman hangs out with Kim Jong-Un) and nothing more. So yeah, Orson Scott Card is almost as bad as Hitler by today's standards.

You are correct in saying that there is bias here, many people in Hollywood turn a blind eye to people like Penn, and think that Hugo Chavez was the second coming of Salvador Allende or Caesar Chavez, an assertion that is likely making Allende and Caesar roll over in their graves.

At the same time though, I just cannot see answering his hatred with more hatred, that never leads to good places.

Also, Card has not invaded Poland recently. He has not assassinated or jailed people that disagree with him, not even Sean Penn. And he has not forced Jews, gays or any other group to live in Ghettos in preparation for their move to concentration camps. So, I do not think the comparison to Hitler is valid.

Piorn:

Izanagi009:

Piorn:
Wait, THAT'S the twist?
When I read the book, I basically more or less assumed that.
The bigger shocker to me was


To me, THAT was the twist ending, not the stupid "gotcha" at the test.

That actually does sound like a good twist, a stinging criticism of people's want of vengeance and how the military can go too far. I doubt though that the movie would have done it well at all and if they did do it, they probably have been compared to other works that have been made.

Yeah, and it would propably have been too weird. The book had an entire subplot of a game that was generated out of Ender's Psyche, with weird fantasy stuff and gruesome deaths, where he digests the stuff that happened. Towards the end as his psyche degrades, his dreams get weirder and bugs start appearing in places he saw in the game.


Personally, I found it a profoundly sad ending, but maybe that's just me.

My guess would be that they cut the fantasy game/dream sequences because they're too weird for general audiences.
And few people can cope with moral ambiguity, nowadays. Seems like they tried to keep that to a minimum.

Shame really because it would have elevated the movie past a simple "boy grows as both leader and psychopath" story into political/social allegory. To be fair, you are right about your assessment, a lot of the standard moviegoing audience wouldn't like the thing with the Bugger queen or the political bloggers and those who do could probably find other more recent works that do the same thing but either better or more complex; anime fans already have gundams and the new Space Battleship Yamato so what could Ender's game do to beat the recent stuff other than massive changes in vision or perspective.

I guess Moviebob was right, the movie does feel a bit old given how many people have used themes and ideas from the book.

Piorn:

Orcboyphil:

Nope the dream sequence is in there.

Awww geez, how embarrassing. I'm jumping to conclusions again.
To what extent though? I'm really curious now.

Two or three times.

Overall I think it's a great movie and the sci-fi effects of the Space Battles are really amazing. They are also in crystal clear high definition as opposed to, say, Thor 2 where a lot of the CGI had muddy textures or extensive use of Blur to cover up muddy textures or incorrect crash-physics (Thor 2's CGI effects are alright, just the ones in Ender's game are superior). The only thing I really disliked was how the Scene from the trailer with Jets fighting Alien battleships that you see in the trailer lasted only a few seconds, and was reused three times.

Also I don't quiet get the logic of Ender: He had no problem with doing training simulations for fights he thought were upcoming, then what was the big deal with actually fighting out the very battles he trained for?

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