Ender's Game

Ender’s Game

I first read Ender’s Game when I was 14 years old, and I’ve written before about the strong impact of the book on me and many other young readers. Even Orson Scott Card has acknowledge the incredible way young people connect with the underdog story of Ender Wiggen: “They didn’t love Ender, or pity Ender (a frequent  adult response); they were Ender, all of them. Ender’s experience was not foreign or strange to them; in their minds, Ender’s life was echoed in their own lives. The truth of the story was not truth in general, but their truth.”

The strong connection I have to this story makes it even harder to understand how the man who wrote the character of Ender is also the same man who hates and actively campaigns against gay marriage and LGBTQ rights. The Ender I fell in love with at 14 would never have supported such action, and it’s that Ender I want to support when the movie comes out this weekend.

But how can I willingly buy a ticket, knowing some of my money will go directly to Orson Scott Card? He absolutely has every right to his political and religious beliefs, just like I have a right to my own beliefs. But part of my belief system includes not supporting people or organizations I think are actively harming society, so giving Card money makes me squirm.

Of course nothing says he will use the money made from this film to support his political causes…but nothing says he won’t do it just to spite all his angry fans either.

But I want to support the movie to show the entertainment industry that a story like this–one that features smart characters, serious moral topics, and no unnecessary uber-sexy women who add nothing to the plot–can be well received. Not every person involved with this movie agrees with Card’s views, and my aim is not to punish them because I’m upset with one man. I love science fiction, and I want there to be more sci-fi movies.

Sites like Skip Ender’s Game make a compelling argument for why it’s important to boycott the movie, and I agree with what they say. But my inner 14-year-old fan girl wants to relive the joy of first discovering Ender Wiggin and realizing that I wasn’t a freak. Maybe the movie will suck, and I won’t even want to go see if after the initial reviews come out this weekend.

Or maybe it will be as good as I hope, and I’ve got to choose between one of my favorite books and a cause I cannot let my money support.


So we went to see the movie, and I did not like it. At all. They kept to Ender’s basic story line fairly well, but changed so many other characters. Bean was there from the beginning, and Valentine and Peter’s entire story of world domination was cut! And because the movie didn’t have a narrator, the only insight we got into Ender’s mind was from super sappy emails he wrote Valentine. The special effects were amazing, and I like most of the casting decisions they made….but there was none of the emotion and moral debate that made the book so wonderful. The movie also felt extremely rushed–I would have gladly sat through a three hour movie, if it meant the movie would be better and they didn’t have to cut as much material. Oh well, at least my husband and I got a nice date night out of it?

Because there are so many great books with amazing story lines and well-developed characters, it is only understandable that directors would try to adapt books into movies. Some succeed, but many many more fail. As a book lover, one of my favorite hobbies is complaining about the useless attempts at translating a great book into a great movie. Yet every once in a while magic happens, and a movie is able to take the basic premise of the book and make it even more exciting. So today, in honor of the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” (which I won’t be seeing because I still haven’t read the book…30-some person waiting list at the library. So if you do watch the movie, let me know how it is!), I am going to make a list of my favorite book-based movies. Obviously there are many more movies than my four favorites, so feel free to argue with my picks or make your own list by leaving a comment!

#1: Harry Potter (specifically The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, and The Half Blood Prince)

I grew up loving the HP books. Being roughly the same age as the characters, it seemed like everything that happened in the book (minus the magic, sadly) was happening in my own life. Although I really did not like Harry the last few books because he was mean to his friends, I still pre-ordered each new book and sat up all night reading. Fun fact, the day the boy and I started dating was the day after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out, and we were both so tired that day because we stayed up all night reading! And our first “real date” (not walking around town talking, or sitting in the park) was to go see a HP movie. The reason I like the later movies is the acting got better, and they started to deal with the darker story lines, making them a more accurate reflection of the books.

#2: The Lord of the Rings trilogy

I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy the summer between eight grade and freshman year. While I sometimes struggled with the books, the stories themselves and the characters made them worth the summer-long reading adventure. Any book that includes made-up languages and worlds, maps, battles and magic is perfect for me! When the first movie came out, I was extremely doubtful: how could a movie encompass all the detail from the book? And then I saw the locations they filmed in, the actors, and the beautiful sets…and I was convinced. Visually the LOTR movies are stunning, some of the prettiest movies I’ve ever seen. The costumes, especially of the elvish women, are perfect. The Hobbits are funny and adorable. And who can resist a movie that inspires great debates over who was better, Sam or Frodo? FYI, Sam is better because he isn’t a whiny crybaby with a weak will.

#3: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

I’ll be honest, I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest after I had seen the movie several times. I know there are many differences between the book and the movie (many scenes in the novel were left out, along with a change in narrator), but I have greatly enjoyed both versions of the story. The book has a unique and distinctive writing style, but the movie starred one of my favorite actors, Jack Nicholson. The majority of the movie was filmed at the Oregon State Mental Hospital, while the boating scene was filmed in Depot Bay; creepy as the mental hospital is, I love seeing my state in movies! In fact, I’ve had a desire for a while now to have a movie weekend with nothing but movies filmed in Oregon. This one is at the top of my list of must-watch films.

#4: To Kill a Mockingbird

I read To Kill a Mockingbird sometime in junior high, and then again for a school project freshman year of high school. It was a pretty boring project, but I am always willing to read a great book again. Despite the fact that the main character is a child, the book tackles extremely important issues like racism and discrimination. The best part of that project was the day we watched the movie, which I had never seen. I adore black and white movies, and Gregory Peck is perfect in his roll as Atticus Finch. My favorite scene in the book is the moving speech in the court room, one that I actually read out-loud to myself just to hear those words spoken. Gregory Peck, in all his amazing skill, did not fail to deliver the speech perfectly. If nothing else, I love the movie just for those court room scenes.

There are many other movies I enjoy based on books, but I either haven’t read the book or did not enjoy it. That’s my list, I can’t wait to hear about your favorite movies based on books!