Friday, 15 November 2013

Endering the Gaming

And now, the most awaited book-to-movie translation this month!

So this kid goes into space, flies around a room, is given a fleet to play with, hooray!

Really. The most problematic aspect of this movie is that it compresses the book down to under two hours of screen time. If you work out all the essential beats you need, then just have one scene per beat, you'll have this movie. It feels like the entire thing takes place in a week, not over several years! (Let alone because they have the main actor with just one age.) I've seen discussion that says this should be broken into movie 1 - battle school and movie 2 - command school, and that would help, because it is rushing everywhere!

And because of the compactness, there is another aspect that becomes painfully obvious. The big schtick is that Ender comes up with ideas that no-one else does, and is trained to use that... but with everything happening so quickly, why can't others be also trained? Aside from a few scenes with Graff and Anderson, we don't get a proper sense of any real tension. And nor do we get the sense of Ender being the last desperate gamble. Ender does things no-one else does... but comes up with idea in only a few minutes. Really? No-one else has ever come up with those ideas over all the time you've had. They are presented as near obvious (because we don't see any effort in building up to them), so the idea no-one else can do this is ridiculous.

Asa Butterfield is fine as Ender, it's not his fault the plot is so full steam ahead. Harrison Ford is in full 'gruff old man' mode. And Ben Kingsley as a Maori... uh...

Big CGI can't disguise the plot speed, but I gather it works for those that don't know the book.


No comments: