'Ender's Game' fulfills Orson Scott Card's vision

(Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment) (Photo courtesy of Summit Entertainment)

Almost everybody knows or, at least, has heard of "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. If you're part of that unfortunate minority who hasn't, it's the tale of a young prodigy named Andrew "Ender" Wiggin facing the hardships of life in a space command battle school. The book is set some time in the near future, 70 years after Earth has been attacked by an ant-like alien race called the Formics or "Buggers." "Ender's Game" is just the first in a long series with the character Ender Wiggin as the protagonist.

I first read "Ender's Game" when I was 11, and I absolutely loved it. As a kid, I loved the idea of children making such a difference and having so much influence in the adult world. In the book, these prodigy children are in command of entire fleets of ships and are well respected by their adult commanders. As you can imagine, that's a pretty cool concept for a fifth grader to read about. I remember putting the book down after reading the final chapter and thinking, "Hmm, they should totally make this into a movie!" Six years later, in 2013, they did, starring one of my favorite actors, Harrison Ford.

In the movie, Ford plays the commander who is responsible for recruiting Ender and watching over him. It was a bit of an unusual role for him, though. His character, Colonel Graff, is a man who is willing to compromise his own morals for "the greater good of humanity." He stops seeing the children at the battle school as kids and starts seeing them as thoroughbred tools of destruction that he and the other Fleet commanders can use to destroy the Buggers.

(Photo Courtesy of Tor Books) (Photo Courtesy of Tor Books)

It was uncharacteristic for Ford to play anything other than a character you're supposed to like. Because of this, I had a hard time buying into his compromised morals routine, and I just couldn't see him as "that guy."

The movie has been out for about a year now and it tells the story of the first novel in a condensed form. The book takes place over the course of many years –– from Ender's childhood through his early teens. The movie, however takes place over a period of about a month and a half. After rereading the book and watching the movie, I did notice a few things missing from the film. The main compromise they made was ditching a side story that was happening on Earth with Ender's brother and sister. His siblings' escapade was entirely absent in the movie, but with the time constraints they had to put on the story (many years to a month and a half), I don't see how they could have made that part of the story make sense with the timeline anyway.

The first time I saw the movie, I had not read the book for a while, so smaller details weren't things I remembered. Consequently, the movie really hit home for me. I was astonished at how it stayed so true to what I had pictured in my head while reading the book. I didn't even realize that anything was missing, which is extremely impressive for a film based on a novel. Overall, this film may be one of the best portrayals of a novel I have seen. It embodied all the main ideas, images and emotions I remember from the book. I think Orson Scott Card should be proud and astonished by how his story was brought to life in such a rich, vivid way.

If I were you, I would read this book and watch this movie. They were both phenomenal and are definitely entertaining enough to keep you wanting more. I know I'm just itching to get started on the next book in the series and see where Ender's travels take him next.

 

Tell the reporter about your favorite ant invasion at William.Schliesmann@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @wjschliesmann

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