Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ender does not end here

Ender's Game, a movie based on the novel by the currently controversial Orson Scott Card (who is in the soup for not knowing when put a cork in it), is a decently executed science fiction film, although I found Harrison Ford's unrelenting scowl as the head of the planet's military command to be a bit of a headache inducer. The furrows in his brow were deep enough to plant crops in. Director Gavin Hood keeps this enterprise moving along well enough, explaining its fake historical circumstances and contrived dream theory well enough , but there was really no anticipation in the story line. 

I hadn't read the novel and likely will not do so--I like my scifi on the screen where words don't matter--but I had a very good idea where this thing was going. Let me just say that with the Title and the plot's strong emphasis on battle simulations in preparation for war, the shocking twist was not a shock, twined or unwound. It is, you guessed it, a thinly  disguised critique of militarism and war mongering. It's not Noam Chomsky, but the subtext has the benefit of being easily grasped, too easily perhaps. The state of Political Commentary isn't that much smarter than the barely concealed verities in Ender's Game. The flashy  visuals, not a spoonful of sugar,make the medicine go down. 

The ending was an expected and unsatisfying set for the sequel; the dissatisfaction lies not in the fact that story was unfinished by the end of the movie, but that far too many movies you take a risk on seeing are likely not intended to be stand alone entertainments but rather the installments of studios hope will be profitable franchises. The prevailing feeling is "here we go again", as you feel part of the masses, teased by gossip, speculation and all other manner of celebrity non-news , responding in Pavlovian fashion to a vague , if  loud and flashy promise that you can relive the thrills you had over a cherished film from long, long ago. You may that particular memory from your own experience. Whatever the film, though, all of us know, in an unguarded moment of self-honesty, that those thrills are not coming back. 

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