Pointless Nonsense

Posted in movies by Bill on November 6, 2013

endersgameEnder’s Game probably would have been a story that appealed to me greatly as an adolescent, but as an adult it came off as incredibly pandering to nerds. It tells the story of a kid who is smart, excels in school, plays video games a lot, is unpopular, gets bullied, and sits alone at lunch. But his bullying is actually due to some guy testing him to prove he’s the most awesome kid ever, and his video games are training to command a fleet of spaceships. So it’s this incredibly transparent attempt to appeal to nerds. And that wouldn’t bother me if it didn’t take itself so seriously. I mean, lots of superhero stories do the same thing, but at least Spider-Man cracks a few jokes.

The big controversy about the movie was Orson Scott Card’s public stance against gay marriage. Which, combined with the trailers not looking that exciting, would have been enough to keep me from seeing it until an out-of-town visitor wanted to see it, at which point I felt it would be rude not to go, and then said visitor didn’t make the movie anyway. But I digress, I’d heard people argue that Card’s homophobia didn’t come across in the books and also that he wouldn’t stand to make any money on the back end anyway, so buying a movie ticket wouldn’t actually put cash in his pocket. But of course, the better the movie does, the more likely they would be to make a sequel, and the more people would think about buying the book. So I’m not sure the financial argument holds water (but it was nice to see that it didn’t exactly blow up at the box office). But I didn’t see any content in the movie itself that was really objectionable from a political correctness point of view.

One really nitpicky thing that bugged the crap out of me is that they opened the movie with a quote attributed to “A.E. Wiggin,” causing me to think “who the hell is A.E. Wiggin?” Then they introduce Andrew Wiggin but also mention that he has a brother. So then I’m thinking “is he A.E. Wiggin, or is he Andrew J. Wiggin and his brother is Anthony E. Wiggin?” Eventually they mention that he’s Andrew Ender Wiggin, clearing that little mystery up, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to attribute the quote to “A. Ender Wiggin” and never call him Andrew, since you only have two hours of movie to work with and that needlessly complicates things?

Spoiler thoughts to follow:

The biggest thing that bothered me was the lack of explanation over why they used kids. The opening narration and Harrison Ford later were both clear that humanity needed a leader like Mazer Rackham, because Mazer Rackham saved their asses before and without Mazer Rakham they were totally screwed. But, surprise plot twist, Mazer Rakham was alive the whole time. So… what was the point? Harrison Ford hates kids so he wanted to psychologically damage as many as he possibly could? Mazer being alive served no purpose in the movie anyway. Ender sees him and asks why he never saw the whole video. So Mazer shows him the whole video along with some flight data, and Ender figures out the whole queen business. But Harrison Ford could have shown him the whole video and the flight data. Mazer runs the “simulations” against Ender, but Harrison Ford could have done that too. Mazer being alive accomplished exactly two things: fanboys got to go “hey, it’s that guy from that book I read!”, and I got to go “hey, why do they even need Ender?”

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