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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Ender’s Game trailer: children’s crusade

They’ve really front-loaded the film with actors the Academy loves. Are they thinking this is a contender? The usual blockbuster crowd doesn’t care about that sort of thing, and it’s hard to imagine that the usual drama crowd will suddenly decide that this is a must-see because Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley are in it.

Very odd marketing…


US/Canada release date: Nov 1 2013 | UK release date: Oct 25 2013
official site | IMDb
posted in:
movie buzz | trailers
  • They may in fact be going for awards. The book is not wall-to-wall sci-fi blockbuster action – there are introspective passages that could make for some powerfully ‘actorly’ scenes if done well. And while everybody loves Ben Kingsley, I don’t think one acquires multiple Academy Award nominees for their child actors if one does not intend to use them.

  • I_Sell_Books

    Ender’s Game is the only OSC book I ever recommend, because of the rather deep philosophical message. I hope people read the book before they go see the movie!

  • You should watch the trailer for Last Vegas – they *really* pour on the Oscar love in that one.

  • Rob

    It’s a shame. I absolutely adore ENDER’S GAME, and I’d like to see the film, but I refuse to give Orson Scott Card a single cent of my money ever since I learned of his terrifyingly homophobic activism. He believes that US citizens should rise up and start a revolution against the government due to gay marriage invalidating it. Due to the kindness of ENDER’S GAME (as well as a potentially homoerotic friendship between Ender and another boy, which involves a chaste kiss), I often have a difficult time believing Card even wrote it. Non-evil twin, maybe?

  • PJK

    I must say that I also like “Speaker for the Dead” a lot. The later books (Xenocide and Children Of The Mind) get a bit too weird for my taste, but they are still enjoyable. I’ve never read any of the Ender series books that came after COTM so I can’t say if they are any good.

  • I understand people not wanting to support OSC, but the whole “I won’t give him a single cent” rationale is flat out wrong. It is extremely rare for an author to have a share of the total profits from a movie, and even when the deal says they are going to, movie accounting is so convoluted that the studio will always find a way to screw them out of their share. Authors make money from selling the rights to the film. They make more money if the movie gets made. If they have a really good lawyer negotiating their contract, they may get bonuses if the box office reaches certain thresholds. They do tend to get a percentage of merchandise sales, though., If you want to see the movie, see the movie., OSC won’t get a penny of yours unless you buy the t-shirt. If you vote with your wallet by not seeing a movie, you are hurting your local theater, not the author of the book the movie was based on.

  • MC

    I laughed when you mentioned that latter day Ben Kingsley is still Oscar fuel given some of his relatively recent work in, to put it politely, some questionable film choices.

  • MC

    An argument could be made that buy supporting the movie, you would be making it much easier for OSC to sell another of his works for adaptation, which you have said will make him money, so I think Rob’s principle partially stands.

    EDIT: Card is also a co-producer of the film.

  • Rob

    Yes, the co-producer thing is what I was mainly referring to, which I probably should have clarified. The other things you mentioned are also valid points, along with the not wanting to contribute in any way to any satisfaction Card might get in having a hit film.

    Also, to Drave, I’m honestly not hurting my local theatre. It’s an unusual month where I don’t go to at least a film a week there.

  • MisterAntrobus

    Hey, a paycheck is a paycheck.

  • MC

    Exactly. The Love Guru and Bloodrayne paid some bills I am sure.

  • Froborr

    I’m curious, from the people who mentioned liking Ender’s Game: how old were you when you read it? Because I’ve noticed a VERY strong pattern whereby people who first read it in their mid-teens or younger are generally strongly attached to it and see it as profound, while people who first read it when older see Ender as a vile little monster (though I wouldn’t go quite as far as the reviewer who infamously read it as a Hitler apologia) that the narration bends over backwards to try to excuse.
    I’m in the latter camp, by the way–it’s an evil little book that keeps screaming at the top of its lungs that its protagonist is sweet and sensitive and more sinned against than sinning, while consistently portraying him right from the first chapter as a vicious, murderous bully.

  • But that’s very much like the book then. Asa Butterworth is very much the way I remember Ender, though I haven’t read the book in over 20 years.

  • Read it in my twenties and didn’t like it much at all. Found Ender as a character totally unbelievable, and the ending atrocious. I have very little interest in this movie.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Same here, on all counts.

  • I read it first at the age of 20 and while I found it entertaining and will probably see the movie just because it looks like fun I found the characterization of Ender to be rather pathetic. Attention, Orson Scott Card: your mother didn’t mean it when she said bullies were only picking on you because they were jealous. She was just saying that. Writing a whole book based on that premise is simply unseemly and that aspect of the book gave me a lot of secondhand embarrassment.

  • RogerBW

    The book is hardly blockbuster action at all. (In fact I think it works much better in the original short story form; it’s only really got the one thing to say, and much of the novel felt like padding.)

    I’m inclined to agree with MC: as with Olga Kurylenko, seeing Ben Kingsley in a list of credits these days tends to be an indicator that it’s going to be a bad film. Seeing him in that prosthetic just doubles the effect.

  • He was awesome in Iron Man 3 though. :)

  • My solution is to donate to a gay-rghts organization. A $5 donation will far outweigh whatever part of your ticket that goes to his anti-gay donations.

    I’m not a fan of boycotts. I don’t like the idea of free speech or major moral issues being subjected to market pressure. Voting with your dollars mean the rich get a veto.

    (edit: removed a comma for clarity)

  • MC

    I am just thinking about Michael Caine. He has done some really great movies, but he has also done things like Jaws 4, which he was clear about doing just for the money and I quote: “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”

    I respect the fact that he is brutally honest about taking paychecks for movies because he likes working.

  • RogerBW

    Yes… though going by the stories, when you employ Michael Caine, you always get your money’s worth and a top-grade performance unless you ask him not to.

  • MC

    Of course, he is a total professional.

  • That’s one of my favourite quotes. There’s a lot of other great ones on the Tv tropes page for “Money, Dear Boy”.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MoneyDearBoy

  • I’m a big fan of this as well. If I buy something that involves somebody whose politics I despise, I donate an equal amount to a charity I know they would not approve of.

  • I first read it in my late 20’s, and I loved it, but my overwhelming emotional response was sadness. I hope the movie is a huge success, just because I want them to make the sequel, and I want to see savor the looks of utter confusion on the faces of people who haven’t read the books.

  • mdm

    In my case, I came into it in my early 20s, and enjoyed it. I have a soft spot for stories with badly damaged kids and other such monsters used as tools or weapons by other people who don’t want to get their hands dirty.

  • CB

    I read it in my late teens when I was in college. I loved the book, and I thought Ender was mostly a vile little monster. His redeeming qualities (as in, make him interesting, not redeem his soul ) are loyalty of a kind, and that despite ruthelessly pursuing a goal he constantly suffers from self-doubt that his justification for his actions (up to and including genocide) are just so, and paper-thin ones at that. He’s the kind of villain who thinks he’s the hero. I thought the narration served this well — pointing out how little choice he had in these moral dilemnas actually did more to emphasize the hints that he did.

    But like I said I was in college at the time and had been reading a lot of Kafka and stories with unreliable narrators and so on. I may have just been predisposed. I read Starship Troopers as being largely satyrical, but I’ve heard from those who know more of Heinlen than me that it was intended as a straight-forward representation of his political views, like an Atlas Shrugged that wasn’t awful. So you know, maybe I was projecting a more complicated story onto a simple one. I was the villain all along!

  • CB

    Why did I click that link?!

  • Sorry! Massively hyperlinked pages are the ultimate honey-trap for the intellect, aren’t they?

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