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Ender's GameFollow

#52 Sep 18 2013 at 7:45 AM Rating: Good
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The only thing this movie has going for it is that it's being released with basically no competition.
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#53 Sep 18 2013 at 7:57 PM Rating: Decent
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Jophiel wrote:
gbaji wrote:
But it's a point that can still be made with an older character. It's just not as powerful.

Yes, much much less effectively. The question of "Did we do right to do this to this child (and all the previous children) in order to possibly save the world?" loses a bit of zing when said kids are a year or two away from legally being drafted in our day and age.


Honestly, it's completely subjective though. For me, the more powerful message was about the methods used to train them, and not so much about their specific ages. Card didn't really dwell on their ages at all and he treated them like adults in the story. If he hadn't actually told you their ages (and IIRC he doesn't say how old the "older kids" are), you would have assumed they were much older than they were, which is why placing them at an age that most people would assume they were based on their maturity level and actions doesn't hurt the story at all. Enders extremely young age almost detracts from the original story because it just seems so unlikely that a kid that young could think the way he does and be as capable as he is.

IMO Ender's age was most relevant in the story because the fact that he was so much younger than the other kids he was competing with and beating (sometimes embarrassingly) was used to isolate him. That factor still works as a story element if you advance him (and the other characters) 4 or 5 years. And it makes the whole thing more believable to a broad audience.

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If you want to say it works for you, I obviously can't say that it doesn't. For me, it doesn't hold much impact at all.


/shrug

To me, it's almost a non-factor. It's not about "working for me. It's that his age wasn't really that big a deal to me. It's more of an add-on factor. The methods they use to train him are the story. That he's so young when they apply them adds a bit of "Geez. That's pretty twisted to do to a kid that age" factor. But I'd say it was a twisted thing to do to a 12 year old too.

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And you're giving the film way too much credit if you think the older kids are some sort of compromise to discuss military indoctrination. They used older actors because (A) they're easier to deal with than young children and (B) teens have more money to spend at the movies than first graders.


Of course. I'm just saying that the age difference doesn't really hurt the story. As long as they include the psych bits, it'll work even with the ages being higher than in the book. The factors you're talking about are more or less the same one's I'm talking about. An author can dream up an exceptional 6 year old capable of thinking tactically and making decisions like an adult, but in the real world, it's unlikely to find a 6 year old actor who can play that character. I'd rather they use older actors who can get the character right (including emoting the effects of the training tricks used on him) than dogmatically stick to the age of the character and fail to get the parts that actually matter right.


But that's just me.

Edited, Sep 18th 2013 6:58pm by gbaji
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#54 Sep 18 2013 at 9:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Honestly, it's completely subjective though.

Well... duh.
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#55 Nov 02 2013 at 5:16 PM Rating: Decent
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After seeing this thread, I picked up the book. I liked it enough to buy the other three books in the first series. Though I haven't finished reading them all yet, the three later books are extremely different than Ender's game. Still, they're a decent read. Since the details have already been covered, I won't retread, but I will comment on the movie, which I just got home from seeing.

The movie felt rushed, it could have really benefited from being a half hour longer. The bits before battle school take all of ten minutes, and then battle school itself is maybe a third of the total movie length. A lot of the time is spent on the battles at the end, which is very well done, and visually impressive, but was somewhat drawn out. Having read the book, I was never lost during the movie, but there were some bits that I can see not making sense without having read it. The biggest change is that Peter and Valentine are barely in the movie at all, there is no mention at all of Locke and Demosthenes and the movie ends without ever mentioning what happens after the war. Ender gets the egg sac and just takes off in a small ship.

Overall, I liked it, but it could have been better.

Edited, Nov 2nd 2013 7:44pm by Turin
#56 Nov 02 2013 at 5:36 PM Rating: Good
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A lot of the time is spent on the battles at the end, which is very well done, and visually impressive, but was somewhat drawn out.


Even if I didn't have other reasons not to see the film, this alone is sufficient to make me pretend it never existed. The entirety of those scenes are, what, one chapter in the book?
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#57 Nov 04 2013 at 3:41 PM Rating: Decent
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Turin wrote:
The movie felt rushed, it could have really benefited from being a half hour longer.


Agreed. Could have been longer and would have worked better. They did get the major bits in though, so it's not like anything important is missing. "Rushed" is right though.

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A lot of the time is spent on the battles at the end, which is very well done, and visually impressive, but was somewhat drawn out.


Honestly, I got the opposite feeling. I remember the battles being a much larger component of the book, with a lot more time spent on the details of how he fought, the strategies used, and how it wore him and his team out. In the film, they basically showed one quick battle, then a montage of battles, complete with them **** up and losing a couple ships. Then the final "graduation" battle. It was really fast and IMO didn't quite hit the same notes as in the book.

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The biggest change is that Peter and Valentine are barely in the movie at all, there is no mention at all of Locke and Demosthenes and the movie ends without ever mentioning what happens after the war.


No way they could have fit those bits in, and they were actually unnecessary for the core story. IIRC, those parts didn't exist at all in the original short story (and I think he added the whole finding the egg thing in the novelization as well, but I honestly can't remember for sure). He added a lot to the story in order to create ties into his sequel books. The original story was just about his training and winning "the game".


They did get the main concept across properly, but (and maybe I'm just a bit of a purist to the original story here) they changed some key details, which in turn change how the character's actions reflect his personality and motivation. I understand why, and one kinda flowed from the other, and they still worked, but I would have loved it if they'd been able to find a way to stick more faithfully to the original.

Long drawn out examination of the differences follows. Read at your own risk!

In the book, he's told that the Formics are planning another attack on Earth, and he's training to defend them. He's absolutely not told (nor is the reader) that they're actually the ones attacking. The command school was somewhere in our solar system, not way out at some forward base (making the whole "we're just defending ourselves" lie more believable). Also, he was specifically told that the RoE for the MD device prohibited its use against planetary bodies for ethical reasons. It's part of the whole set up for the final battle. He not only believes its a simulation, but that it's an unfair test in a series of increasingly unfair tests. He's frustrated and **** off about this, and he decides to break the rules and use the MD device to destroy the planet because he sees no other way to win what he sees as a rigged no-win scenario that Rackam has put him against. He fully expects to be tossed from the training program because he chose to cheat, but is so **** off by then that he doesn't care. Which makes the cheering by the generals more confusing for him, and the reveal that he's just won the war by committing Xenocide that much more of a shock.

The rationale for this is also more clear in the book. Ender is repeatedly protected from the consequences of his actions. He's not told that the two boys he fights with both died. This is why the whole "game" thing is needed. Ender has the killer instinct of his psychopath brother, but the compassion of his sister (which is needed for him to understand the enemy). He will make hard decisions and as long as he thinks it's all a game, they don't bother him, and he can continue. If he thinks things are real, he will fall apart (which he does after Bonzo anyway, despite being assured that he was "sent home", but not told that he was sent home in a box). At least, that's what his commanders assume, so they protect him from what he's really doing. The decision to do what they did works. They also know that the only way to destroy the Formics is to use the MD device on their planet, but they can't order anyone to do that, and don't want to be responsible for the choice. By tricking Ender, knowing his history of breaking the rules to win, they know he'll do what he needs to do while still being able to claim that they told him not to.

In the film, a lot of those aspects were lost. They clearly wanted to include the whole "finding the queen egg" thing, but probably knew they wouldn't have time to do the whole epilogue bits from the book after the war is over. Having the base be on the planet where the egg is, and the clues planted in the mind game, allow them to include that with far less story needed. But this means it had to be a forward base. Which means they had to reveal that they were planning to attack the Formics all along. Which in turn takes away some of the element of shock at the final reveal. I get why they did it the way they did it. And it still worked fine. It just wasn't quite as powerful IMO.

Same deal with their treatment of the MD device. Ender is never told he's not supposed to use it to destroy the planet. And he's actually told that he's training for an eventual attack on the planet anyway. So his use of it makes him less used and more "I would have done this in the real fight anyway". It changes the way his character approaches things, and in some way lessens the impact of his realization of what he's done, and the whole queen egg thing comes out differently as well. Not "worse" necessarily, but just different. Interestingly enough, it makes his choice with the queen more of an act of contrition than it was in the book. In the book he's vilified for what he did, but he really was kinda tricked into it. In the film, he made that choice. They never even had a line of dialogue like "Gee. Should we really be using this weapon on an occupied planet?". It never comes up. So he's a bit more "evil" in the film version I suppose (or more capable of choosing evil knowingly I suppose). Like I said, it works, but it does change things a bit.



Overall, I liked the film. It hit all the needed elements and got the core theme across. I would have liked some of the bits to be more clearly explained, but maybe that'll be in the directors cut.
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#58 Nov 04 2013 at 5:29 PM Rating: Good
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I remember the battles being a much larger component of the book, with a lot more time spent on the details of how he fought, the strategies used, and how it wore him and his team out.


You definitely remember that wrong.

Major battles at school had a lot of detail, but the holographic endgame battles had almost none.
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#59 Nov 04 2013 at 5:56 PM Rating: Excellent
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Battle school was located in earth orbit in the book, but Command school was located somewhere hidden on a base they took from the formics even in the book. Ender comments about the tunnel angles being wrong and the lighting feeling "off". it was definitly way outside the solar system which is why the freighter captain they comendeer to travel to the command school after Ender's lake vacation is so **** about being stuck there in the book. They had the ansible so it didn't need to be close to the front lines, it just needed to be away from earth and where no one could find it for security purposes. The ships used for the final battle were the old ones sent decades ago, almost immidiatly after the end of the first formic invasion. them being so slow and outdated is one of the reasons that Ender gets **** about the final test being "rigged" There was not a whole lot of detail about any of the battles in the book, but you do get a better sense that there are many more of them, to the point where they start to take a toll on the minds of his subcommanders. Also, they did bean a disservice in the movie by cutting out most of his good bits. I was kind of looking forward to the whole "internet forums take over the planet election post count wins! sub plot there too.

The biggest problem was they cut the epilogue entirely. They didn't show that the Formics knew they had done wrong at the end, and didn't know that humans were individually the same as a queen in their society before then, and that they forgave Ender even though he couldn't forgive himself, etc.

Some of the other things they left in made no sense. Why show the tablet name calling bit in class if they don't take the extra 30 seconds to show that someone notices that Ender's name is immune to it, Also they needed to show the parts where Ender was teaching after hours classes and building his own army essentially before getting offered dragon army. Without that, much of the point of battle school was lost I think.


Overall good movie though, was very rushed, and they did take liberties, but it was watchable
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#60 Nov 05 2013 at 3:13 PM Rating: Decent
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Hah. This is going to be a strange response. Still going to spoiler stuff cause some folks may still not have seen the film and/or read the book.


Dread Lörd Kaolian wrote:
Battle school was located in earth orbit in the book, but Command school was located somewhere hidden on a base they took from the formics even in the book. Ender comments about the tunnel angles being wrong and the lighting feeling "off". it was definitly way outside the solar system which is why the freighter captain they comendeer to travel to the command school after Ender's lake vacation is so **** about being stuck there in the book. They had the ansible so it didn't need to be close to the front lines, it just needed to be away from earth and where no one could find it for security purposes. The ships used for the final battle were the old ones sent decades ago, almost immidiatly after the end of the first formic invasion. them being so slow and outdated is one of the reasons that Ender gets **** about the final test being "rigged" There was not a whole lot of detail about any of the battles in the book, but you do get a better sense that there are many more of them, to the point where they start to take a toll on the minds of his subcommanders. Also, they did bean a disservice in the movie by cutting out most of his good bits. I was kind of looking forward to the whole "internet forums take over the planet election post count wins! sub plot there too.


It's been awhile, and I also vaguely recall the base having originally been a Formic base, but I still thought it was located in the Solar System somewhere (like one of Jupiter's moons). Remember, there's no FTL travel (just FTL communication via ansible). Not saying you aren't right, but I could have sworn it was in/near our solar system.

EDIT: Should have checked wiki the first time around. Battle school was located on the asteroid Eros. So definitely in the Solar System.

Correct about the older ships. That was one of the points that was really missing in the film. The film had one big fleet heading into Formic space and fighting to their home planet. In the book, there were a bunch of different fleet elements, each sent at different times and set to arrive at their targets around the same time period. So the ones that had to go farthest (to the home world) were the ones sent first. Thus, they were the oldest models, and there were few of them (cause they were still rebuilding after the last war).

Also, that's kinda what I was talking about with the battles at Command School. It's not that they went into details during each combat, but that there was a lot more dialog as Ender discusses strategy with Rackam in between the battles. You get much more of a sense that there's a large number of battles that go on for months at a hectic rate. It's all sold as ridiculously tough training, but of course is really because all the elements are arriving at their targets at nearly the same time and given the whole "no FTL" thing, they can't delay the fights. They happen when they happen, and the time schedule was set decades ago. In the film it kinda felt like Ender arrives, spends a couple days in a some battle's getting his feet wet, and then they hit him with the final attack on the home world. I definitely did not get the same sense of passage of time and sheer number of battles as I did reading the book.

Of course, it's been years since I last re-read the book.


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The biggest problem was they cut the epilogue entirely. They didn't show that the Formics knew they had done wrong at the end, and didn't know that humans were individually the same as a queen in their society before then, and that they forgave Ender even though he couldn't forgive himself, etc.


Honestly, not necessary to tell this story though. That's something that only matters in the context of later books. If they do decide to do a Speaker for the Dead film, that's when the Queen can tell him about that. It would have been too much to fit in the whole bit about him actually being able to mentally communicate with the developing queen. Hell. The end bits with the egg felt really rushed and kinda tacked onto the end as it was.

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Some of the other things they left in made no sense. Why show the tablet name calling bit in class if they don't take the extra 30 seconds to show that someone notices that Ender's name is immune to it, Also they needed to show the parts where Ender was teaching after hours classes and building his own army essentially before getting offered dragon army. Without that, much of the point of battle school was lost I think.


Yeah. My gripe was that they didn't show *why* he was able to be so good at the battle school game. In the book, Card spends quite a bit of time having Ender look at the game with fresh eyes and realize that the older kids were playing it wrong. The whole structure reinforced this, since the oldest kids ran the armies, and the younger kids were supposed to just follow their orders. So each generation of kids continued to teach the next to play using the same assumptions they were taught. The fact that Ender is isolated and not allowed to participate initially by Bonzo is part of why he's able to change the way the game is played.

They left in the whole "Enemy gate is down" bit but didn't fully explain it. The whole point is that the other kids orient themselves such that the enemy gate is on the other side of a field, like you'd play on Earth. So "forward". And up, down, left, right, is based on the facing when standing outside your gate looking across the field. This causes the kids to mentally orient their bodies perpendicular to the enemy gate. Ender changes his perception to make the other gate "down". So he points his feet at that gate. Specifically, in the first fight (which he's not allowed to participate in), he bends his legs and shoots them so as to make a shield for his body, then shoots between his legs at the targets floating "beneath" him. That change in perception is what allows him to be successful initially. Later, he adopts other strategies that ignore the assumed "rules" of how to win (get into standing battle with the other team, beat them, and then take their gate). He realizes that using the physics of zero gravity and formations that use bodies as shields can allow one to win without having to stand and fight each enemy opponent.

In the film, this is shown in the final fight, but how they get to that strategy is more or less skipped. Prior to that, it's presented as though Ender is just better at floating around in zero G and shooting people while spinning around really fast. That may make for great visuals, but isn't really what he did in the book. If there was one part of the film that I was disappointed with, it was how they presented that first fight. With limited screen time, they should have taken that time to show how he thought his way to success, not how he spun acrobatically and shot people, as though no one had thought to do that before, or would arguably have been much better at it than he would be. It was visually cool, but completely failed to explain why he was better at this than anyone else.

Minor peeve, but I think it was a lost opportunity. Ender's game is one of those rare books where the hero isn't better than everyone else just because the plot declares that he's better than everyone else, with no other explanation given. Card actually goes into detail about how Ender sees things differently than everyone else, and specifically what changes in strategy he uses that allow him to win. And those details actually make sense. It was a shame that they couldn't have spent more time actually including those details given how well laid out they were in the book.


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Overall good movie though, was very rushed, and they did take liberties, but it was watchable


Absolutely.

Edited, Nov 6th 2013 1:01pm by gbaji
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#61 Nov 15 2013 at 7:53 AM Rating: Good
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Is this movie worth seeing in a theater?

Or, if I got to the movies this weekend should I see this one or Thor?

(I find Chris Hemsworth to be visually stunning. Smiley: blush)
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#62 Nov 15 2013 at 8:00 AM Rating: Good
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(I find Chris Hemsworth to be visually stunning. Smiley: blush)


You answered your own question.

Plus, it'll have Natalie Portman, Kat Dennings, Tom Hiddleston, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba...

I could keep going but, really, Thor ended up with a great cast.
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