In spite of my leg being in plaster we went out for dinner and a movie last night. Choice of English movies here is limited so it was down to Ender's Game or Jack Ryan:Shadow Recruit. Partly because it's sci-fi, partly because it's a good book but mostly because it started at the right time we went for Ender's Game.
I'm familiar with the book which is complex, and occasionally brutal, morality tale about what means are justified in pursuit of the ends of warfare and in what circumstances war is justified anyway.
The film loses the brutal edge and softens and simplifies the largely unlikable characters from the book so that much of Ender's development comes too easily and too unbelievably, but that isn't its major failing. Its major failing is that for most of its running time it's actually rather dull and flat. The special effects work well; the acting isn't likely to win any Oscars but it's workmanlike enough; the moral aspects of the story are reasonably well preserved - but until about fifteen minutes from the end it's all rather uninvolving. There is something off about the pacing of the movie, which is odd because when you analyse it a lot happens, but it feels as if nothing has happened. It's never a good sign when I find myself looking at my watch an hour into a movie.
It does pick up as the end approaches but here too there is a problem. Knowing the end of the book, I obviously knew the end of the movie but even if I didn't the major plot twist is rather ham-fistedly telegraphed: actually not so much telegraphed as openly stated. It's so blatant that a kid as bright as Ender is supposed to be would have seen it coming a mile away which rather ruins the point of it.
So all in all a workmanlike but rather dull effort. Maybe try Jack Ryan next week.