Last time I featured a book-to-screen adaptation, it ended up being one of those rare instances where I enjoyed the movie more than the book.
Perhaps that’s not going to be such a rare thing–or maybe it just depends on the genre–because though I thought this book was a page-turner, I walked away from the movie feeling much better than I did closing the last few pages.
Up for today’s book-to-movie discussion is:
Story Summary: Young Ender Wiggin is a military genius, and despite being a Third in a world where two children are common, he passes the tests both his brother and sister didn’t make the cut for. He’s the one chosen for Battle School–and perhaps the one to save the world.
Ender’s Game| Book
I’ve talked about this story on here a few times–one being when I surprised my hubster for an author signing with Orson Scott Card. See, Ender’s Game is his all-time favorite book. It’s a sci-fi written in 1985 and definitely has a cult following. Not to mention being what I see as a boy’s book.
So, even though the hubs has been trying to convince me to read this book for years–because it is considered YA after all–I waited until the week before the movie came out. Deadlines, you know?
I wasn’t sure how to approach the 300 some page novel because it’s legit sci-fi, and I’ve never been a huge fan. So I just started reading. I found myself flying through the book in three days because I couldn’t seem to stop turning the pages. Part of that is because I just wanted to get to the end. It’s a novel that is HEAVY on militaristic plot lines and themes dealing with survival, and after finishing it, I’m not too sure I’ll be reading the million other books in the saga.
The biggest reason I was so frustrated with this story is because there’s a big twist at the end, and the story gives 290ish pages of lead up, address the twist in three sentences, and then moves on. The ending just becomes blah.
Seriously?!? I had been WAITING for the twist (which I totally figured out and knew what was coming…) but to not give it much attention was maddening!!!
Overall, I was glad to have read it before the movie, and I did get to have a super fun conversation with my husband about a book–so that made it worth it.
Ender’s Game | Movie
Of course we had to see this one on the IMAX, and actually, I would recommend viewing it that way. For an action movie, there’s a lot going on without all the blood and guts. I was really curious how much of this novel was going to be transferred to the big screen, but I can see why Card waited so long to sell the rights. The technology we have today did this story justice. The battle room itself was entirely awesome, and most of what I imagined as I was reading the story was created on screen.
I also thought that Asa Butterfield played a great Ender. In the book, most of Ender’s struggles are internal, and that’s hard to capture on screen. Asa portrayed Ender a little bit more emotionally than I had imagined, but for the screen version it was his way of showing all of that struggle. I was really impressed with his casting.
However, much changed with the story line. In the book, we meet Ender when he is six, and in fact he goes to Battle School that young and the novel spans several years. For time purposes (I imagine) the movie portrayed Ender as a teen, and honestly, I’m not sure of the time span as it could be anywhere from a year to three. However, in that sense we don’t see the the physical or as in-depth mental growth the Ender has in the book.
But I think that’s why I really loved the movie. A good chunk of the story is Ender’s training and preparation. We see him fight battle after battle (after battle….) and then as he goes on to command school he completes simulation after simulation. The amount of battles and training is VERY condensed in the movie, so I didn’t feel as if it was dragging along. The pace was fabulous and flowed really well.
I also felt the movie approached the big giant twist scene perfectly. As I said, we get about three sentences in the book but the movie lingers on the scene and situation, giving it the time it deserves. I didn’t feel cheated with the movie as I did with the book. *As an aside, the book has an in-depth subplot which I just wasn’t a huge fan of (part of why I felt it drone on) and it is completely cut in the movie.
There are several other differences in the movie, and the ending–if you’re a true cult fan of Ender’s Game, is different. My hubs was a bit frustrated simply because the ending of the book is integral to the rest of the saga. But if there aren’t any movie sequels in the making, then the ending fit.
Final Verdict: Read it then watch it as you’ll want to track the differences. If you’re a cult fan like my hubs–then you’ll probably enjoy the movie. You’ll be critical, but it’ll open up some great discussion. As much of a fan as he is of the book, he really enjoyed the movie.
If you have a reluctant boy reader in your life, hand him this book. There’s a bit of violence but nothing too bad. From a lot of the men I’ve talked too (my husband, his brother, a few peers in my classes) this was one of those books they read while in school and it got them reading. I will definitely be recommending it to future reluctant readers.
Another View: If you want more opinions of Ender’s Game book to movie, check out Angie’s movie review.
Book to Movie Talk: Have you seen Ender’s Game yet? What do you think? Are you a cult fan? Too different or just right in adaptation?