To start off I am just going to say that I love Ender’s Game and I have read it several times. Due to that I know a lot about the book. I am not saying that I know everything in the book because I do not. I also know that movies have limits but some of the things in the book just made me go a little bit crazy. (Please note there will be spoilers)
Let me start off with my biggest problem: Bernard. In the movie he was everywhere. I felt that the director or whoever was in charge of who was in what scene looked at a scene and were thinking, “We need someone here, oh I know, let’s put that minor character Bernard in this scene.” Bernard has such a small role in the actual book seeing him everywhere just drove me insane.
The next thing that drove me crazy was the person they chose to portray Bonzo. It is not about his acting skill, I felt everyone did a good job in the movie. My problem was his height. He was smaller than Ender in the movie. In the book he is both older than Ender as well a taller than Ender. In fact in the scene that he fights Ender he makes it as even as possible but then says that it is not his fault he is taller than Ender. Another thing is that Bonzo was actually one of the worst commanders when Ender finally became one. Even when Ender was not commander Bonzo was still only second or third place but he commanded everything and did not allow Ender to even enter the battleroom till five minutes in and then he was not allowed to move. In the movie he had apparently not lost one game.
Next is the battleroom. In the book there are several of these rooms shaped in a cube. There can or cannot be “stars” in the room and it can change its level of darkness in the room to make it harder or easier. In the movie it was just one large glass circle and it somehow was bright in there even though in reality most of the light would just go through it and the only places with lights would be the people and the “stars”. They also completely brushed over all the rules of the battleroom.
My next problem was the time period in the movie between just before Ender becomes commander and shortly after Ender kills Bonzo. In the movie at the time he was still in Bonzo’s army and the people started flocking to him for his strategy. That never happened in the book and could never happen because he only had two battles in Bonzo’s army and he did not have a real strategy. Another thing was that Bonzo would never have eaten with Ender because a) he never liked him and b) there was a separate place where commanders ate. They also manage to gloss over everything that the teachers were doing to make every battle harder for Ender and his army. They also took out the last battle Ender had after he had his fight with Bonzo; the one where he has to fight two armies at once and Ender just gives up trying and very slightly cheats by skipping the whole taking out the enemy part. Also the one time Ender fought Bonzo’s army Bonzo proved how bad he was at commanding with Ender just destroying his army. In the movie it was lacking because the movie tried to combine the two battles while at the same time ignoring a lot of the rules of the battle room.
Another big complaint I have is with the final Formic War. First off they have Bernard in it (I often think of the movie as Bernard’s Game because of how important they made him). Another thing is that Ender could not see any of his friends till the war was finally over. They also did not touch on the ships too much but when they did they had the correct weaponry but there were not just one of those ships in a fleet. In the final battle in fact there were several. Also only Ender’s friends actually controlled the ships other than the actual people in the ships. Finally the war was extremely difficult on Ender and his jeesh (group of friends/crew). There were extreme emotions going on that the movie did not even touch till Ender found about it being real.
My final complaint that I have, thinking about the limitations with child actors, comes from the ending of the movie. In the movie Ender finds the last queen on the Eros (the planet that Ender and others command the battles at) and then sends a letter to his sister Valentine and leaves to find a place for the new queen. In the book it is much deeper. After the battle everyone commanded by Ender in the final battle returns home one at a time till only Ender is there, but he is not allowed to come home because of his brother Peter. Valentine did not want Ender under Peter’s power and since during that time they had gained massive influence. Valentine forced Peter to make a deal to not allow Ender to come home. Valentine then heads to Eros, becoming a launching station for colonization ships. She convinces Ender to come with her to one of the worlds and Ender agrees. After they have arrived Ender becomes the governor of the colony for a while. Later another colonization ship is about to arrive and Ender goes with a young boy to find a new spot for that group. That is where Ender finds a place from out of his mind when he was playing the fantasy game in battle school. That is where Ender finds the last queen in the form of an egg or something similar. From her he learns the story of the Buggers and writes a book about them and calls himself the Speaker for the Dead. He sends it off with the books that Valentine had been writing about the Formic War. Later Peter, knowing that it was Ender who wrote it, asks for Ender to write his life story. After that speakers of the dead became common and Ender and Valentine continued exploring the worlds left by the buggers till Ender could find a place for the queen.
As a final note I would like to say this: I do not hate the movie. I thought it was a good movie but not a good movie based off a book. They changed too much for it to be a good representation of the book. Usually when these types of movies come out I just expect too much especially after the Harry Potter series kept it very accurate to the books. The one thing that I can say that I am happy about is that it was not a Percy Jackson movie. I am not going to even touch that for a long time.