Starshine5050: Hello everyone! Welcome back to another round of “Objection!” As always I’m Starshine.
Judge: And this is your friendly neighbordhood Judge.
Starshine5050: Today we’ll be talking about the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s most famous work, Ender’s Game. Judge, why don’t you talk about what you thought of the film?
Judge: Sure thing. My general impression of the film is pretty straightforward: while I found it entertaining and visually pleasing, I never felt engaged or connected. I just couldn’t get myself to care about what was going on.
Starshine5050: I can see that — the film feels very cold. But maybe that was the point? To put the mindset of Ender, who is forced to be isolated from the rest of his schoolmates and later comrades?
Judge: That could have been what they (director, writer, etc.) were going for. But if that were the case, I think I would have at least felt something for Ender. I never truly cared for his feelings of isolation, mainly because I didn’t think they did a good job fleshing them out, which due to the pacing.
For example, this part specifically that threw me off: Ender quits, he goes back to Earth, Graff goes and grabs Valentine, Valentine quickly comforts Ender, Ender goes back to space. Felt really rushed.
Starshine5050: Yeah, they missed a lot of the nuisances in the story, not to mention the missing of the Earth stories. But there was also a lot to get to in the book and it was already over 2 hours.
Judge: That is true. But I think even with a lack of certain nuances and details, the film could have been better in my eyes with better pacing. I should say I don’t think it’s a bad adaptation though. Just not the greatest film.
Starshine5050: I think it deserves some credit! I mean it did give a whole solid plot without holes and with strong direction and narrative. I mean, some films can’t even manage that.
Judge: The plot was formulaic (aliens come, we must fight back), but you are right that there weren’t any plot holes. The direction and narrative were ok and at least better than some other “nerd” films this year like Man of Steel and Pacific Rim.
I have one big complaint in regards to the plot and direction however. Besides the pacing, I felt no real threat or looming doom, which is why I couldn’t be really engaged. Some friends I know who watched the film without ever having read the book were like, “So why exactly are they training kids again? What’s the threat again?” I think that’s a valid criticism.
Starshine5050: Man of Steel was trash, for sure. And it is, but also it depends on there person who see the film. I thought the battle scenes were pretty engaging and interesting. But wasn’t the point of the book that the treat was sort of non-present and it was more paranoia than anything else?
Judge: Hmm, that’s a good point. But when reading a book compared to actually watching something, the experience is different. I think that was something that didn’t translate, at least for me, over to the film. But one thing I have to really give a thumbs up to, is Asa Butterfield’s performance. I thought he did an outstanding job portraying an isolated, conflicted character, despite me not feeling anything for him, if that makes sense at all. Basically, it’s one of those, “Yeah I know he did a great job, despite me not feeling anything in particular.” Kinda like how I felt with Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood.
Starshine5050: Butterfield really did a lot with the role, even better I think than Jennifer Lawrence in Hunger Games, which is saying something. He felt like Ender — that’s the best any actor can do. Embody the character, don’t turn the character into a more likable version of you. Bean though, I wish there was more of Bean.
Judge: I agree, more Bean the better. But besides Asa and the guy who played Bean, I don’ think the the acting was anything special. Hailee Steinfeld was far better in True Grit. Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley were very meh.
Starshine5050: Ford was totally phoning it in — I don’t even think he likes movies anymore. Kingsley was too all over the place for me. I think though the real star is the fight and strategy coordinator. Seriously, those fake battles would have sucked otherwise. Such good direction.
Judge: Indeed, the action scenes were well coordinated and spectacular.
Starshine5050: So I think that about wraps it up for our “Objection.” Any last thoughts?
Judge: No not really. My rating of the film, for those who are curious, would be a 3 or 3.5. So I think it’s a film worth seeing at the least.
Starshine5050: I would go ahead and give it a 4. It’s a really good film in my opinion. That’s it for this round of “Objection” — tune in next time for more proper debates about pop culture.