a zoo in hell


Ender's Game (2013)

Ender's Game

Okay, so Orson Scott Card is a science fiction visionary if ever there was one. Unfortunately, he's gotten himself wrapped up with a point-of-view that is at the very least bigoted, at the most completely moronic, and is also, by virtue of being conservative, hostile to his chosen field of expression.

Plenty of visionaries are assholes in real life, that's for sure, but what makes his case rather tragic is how close he came to being truly prescient with the book this film is based on. Young men conducting war like it was a video game? Where have I heard of that happening? Mass violence abstracted with technology? What a strange and alien concept!

I don't know about this movie. There's some cool special effects, but that's about all there is to recommend. Harrison Ford (Col. Graff) is not at his best, he's like the President in "Air Force One" with a severe hangover or high amounts of THC in his system. He only is pretending to give a flying frack about this whole war for the future of humanity thing. Ender's (Asa Butterfield) transformation from idealistic kid to killer to rebel is an arc we've seen in many anti-war stories, but here it feels like kind of a whiney version of "Born on the Fourth of July" or grade-school "Starship Troopers".

Never mind that someone high on the food chain clearly thought this was the same sort of thing as "Hunger Games" or maybe wanted to make it more like "Hunger Games". Surprised they didn't change the title to "Ender's Games". (Asylum should get right on that!)

Overall, it's also tragic that there was so much outcry over Orson Scott Card's politics in regards to this film. Not because they were wrong, of course, but because if not for that, this film would have been forgotten that much sooner. Personally, I keep books and movies in different compartments of mental space, but I know that this film will color many people's view of the book. Which is probably the biggest disappointment of all. The correct response to this film isn't really outrage, certainly not awe, but quite exactly a soft and nearly unspoken "meh".


T.A. Wardrope