Ender’s Game: Page vs Screen

The Boy likes to read science fiction novels. Once in a while I tend to stray from the Fantsy path and end up picking one of his novels as my next read. So it was that I read Ender’s Game, a novel by Orson Scott Card. One of the reasons I wanted to read this novel was because last year they released a movie based upon the book. I like book to movie adaptations, so I wanted to see this movie.

For some reason the movie was only briefly (or maybe even never) released into the Belgian movie theatres and I sort of completely missed it. I didn’t mind this to much, because by then I hadn’t read the book. As a general rule I try to read the book before I see the movie. I learned this the hard way when the Lord of the Rings trilogy came out. I hated the first two books. They were slow and boring after seeing the movies. I loved the third book, with the slow narration and all the details. When I saw the movie afterwards I thought they had cut way to much of the story.

The Book

I really loved the book. At the beginning of the story I found it a bit hard to believe the main character was a six year old boy, but after I got used to this I really got into the story. The main character is Andrew (or Ender as he likes to call himself) Wiggin. Ender’s world is fighting a war with what they call the buggers, an alien species who attacked earth fifty (seventy five?)years earlier. Ender is selected to battle these aliens and goes to battle school. He faces a lot of (intended) hardships during his training and struggles a lot. Meanwhile his older sister & brother get involved in earth’s politics, in which they play an important role in setting the agenda.

I liked the way Ender struggles, it makes his journey so much more real. Whilst I was reading I always disliked it whenever the book focussed on Peter or Valentine (Ender’s siblings) because I wanted to read more about Ender’s progress. When the book concluded however I appreciated the extra layer about his siblings so much more. Definitely an entertaining and interesting read!

The Movie

Where I loved the book, I just liked the movie. It has some very nice special effects in it and I liked the acting and the over all look of the movie. In the movie Ender is selected and goes to battle school, just like in the book. He goes through his training and although they put some hardships in it, I didn’t feel like Ender really has to struggle, everything goes quite easy. I did like the battle scenes in the movie, they made them look immensely cool.

Book versus The Movie

Like I said, I loved the book better. I feel like all the hardships and struggles Ender faces in the book are represented too lightly in the movie. I was constantly thinking about the physical and psychological battles Ender has to fight in the book and how these sharpen his mind and make him ultimately good in what he does. He misses his family, he gets lonely, he starts to hate his training,… All these struggles make him so much more human, which is so important later on in the book. I also missed the parts about his siblings. Their whole political career and how important this is for the future of earth just isn’t mentioned. Lastly in the book Ender spent some time to get to know the buggers. In the movie they’re called ‘Formics’ and Enders spent way less time to get to know their culture, which I do find a loss (but I can’t elaborate on this without giving away some major spoilers, so I won’t).

Have any of you read Ender’s Game or watched the movie? What did you think of it?

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