so our internet was out yesterday, but we saw it friday night.
I would give it about a 7.5 to 8. The film was clearly made by people who love the book, as virtually every important scene/beat from the book was in the film, though often in a highly compressed version. This illustrates the biggest problem with the film, which is pace and key, everything is amped up at a 10 all the time, (YELLING! SO EMOTIONAL! YOU DONT UNDERSTAND ME! WHY AM I TALKING LIKE THIS?!), and is just beat after beat after beat, there's never any emotional downtime, there's never a moment when the whole film can breathe, because everything is moving lickety split towards the inevitable conclusion. This is a place where I have to give credit to Benioff and Weiss (the guys who make/write Game of Thrones for HBO and at one point wrote a script for Ender's Game), because their script while radically reengineering the overall story beats maintained the spirit of and tone of book through a more carefully managed ebb and flow. And note that it's in the departures from the book (Ender's training program at the beginning, Dap, the militarized tone) that the movie succeeds best. The lines straight out of the book, while it at times gave you a chill to hear them, were often really clunky and fell flat (because, honestly, they're often not very good lines, meaning they sound didactic when spoken aloud, even if you can 'make it work' when reading it).
I did find the acting excellent (when characters were not in caps lock mode), and thought Steinfeld and Butterfield were both outstanding. Breslin did a great job playing up Ender's weird and creepy Madonna complex with Valentine, and I thought Ben Kingsley was awesome, he was the only one would could make Card's lines work (the iconic scene where Ender meets Rackham, which plays far too fast.
). Harrison Ford was very decent. I loved Bonzo. I loved how short he was, I loved the way the actor handled every scene, done wonderfully.
The battleroom was beautiful, but it was too big. it was so vast that nothing could really happen in it--like playing halo with 2 people on a map meant for 200. I did think it was interesting that it was so slow
One thing I think that the film really makes clear is it makes transparent just how much of an a****** Ender Wiggin is. When we're in Ender's head we can excuse any crime. In the book, it's okay he viciously beat up and kill Stilson because in Ender's morality, murder is not bad if the right person does it for the right reason (the right reason being that you want to terrorize other children and bring them under your power and control through the manipulation of their fear), it's okay to break another kid's arm for the same reason and then it's okay to make yourself the victim (rather than feel empathy for your victim) and feel sorry for yourself when your campaign of terror and fear works on the other kids and you don't have any friends because of your own actions (but don't take responsibility for yourself, blame the adults, right?). When you're not in Ender's head, his obsession with winning does make him pretty much a colossal a******, people obsessed with winning tend to always be assholes because they're so self-centered, which is how Ender comes across (when we're in his head, we excuse this because he's a nice guy, so it's okay if he steamrolls everyone to get his way because we and he know he's really so good and nice deep down even if his actions rarely or never illustrate this). the movie also lays bare just how retarded Card's take on the military, and on leadership, really is. Morale, the military, leadership and psychology don't operate the way they do in the book, and the scenes in the film that convince you that Ender's a pretty good leader are handled differently than the book.
In terms of battleroom strategy, the film also illustrates that Ender's insights are either self evident (once you know the rules, it means your strategy should always orient around the enemy gate) or inane, or don't work in zero g (how slowly characters move), if you consider the mileau of the battleroom to have pre-existed Ender by a few decades, pretty much everything he does should have been attempted already and there would have been a massive institutional knowledge and culture within the environment, but Ender comes to a battleschool that is more or less pre-lapsarian or medieval trapped in a seeming stasis of non-innovation and only super-genius boy can save them from themselves if they'd just bow down to his awesomeness and worship him.
One thing I did like was how the film ties in what we are learning about remote warfare and it's effect on veterans who wage it, the book gets this a bit but the film clarifies it better. http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/ ... lots/?_r=0
I'll probably have more thoughts later. got to go now.