Page to Screen Discussion: Ender’s Game

22 Nov

As a writer, I always want to say that the book was better than the movie. I can think of several instances off the top of my head where I feel this way: Harry Potter, Silver Linings Playbook, The Cider House Rules, etc. But I can also think of one or two instances where I liked the movie better. The one I always come back to is the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I thought I’d add a segment where my readers can debate me on these topics. As I see movie’s that I’ve previously enjoyed as books, I’ll post one or two points and let the reader take over the discussion in the comments. Let’s see how this works.

My first post is about Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I read the book over the summer and I saw the movie last week. I’ll set my argument up here. Feel free to take any form you want if you choose to disagree or agree with me.

The Book
Pros: Development of Ender through his childhood, ability to take the ending far into the future, subplot of Peter and Val’s political work on Earth.
Cons: Showed Ender as almost superhuman in strength and intelligence at a young age (6), unable to show too much action when Ender was not narrating (limited to the first part of the chapters when Anderson and Graff talk).


Image from

Image from

The Movie
Pros: Amazing depiction of Battle School, concentrated Ender’s journey into a short time so his mental exhaustion was even more plausible.
Cons: Compressed timing took away from Ender’s character development (Thank you The Wanna-Be Writer for this), had to leave out sub-plot of his siblings back on Earth, left out colonies at the end.

So, what’s my end opinion? I liked the movie visually, but the story in the book was much better. In the end, that’s what we’re going for. The book was better.

What did you think? I’d love to hear other opinions. Please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

Until next time, write on.


3 Responses to “Page to Screen Discussion: Ender’s Game”

  1. Jane November 22, 2013 at 11:48 AM #

    Movie adaptations of books are always a tricky endeavor. The first challenge is to capture what readers envision. The second is to condense a story that takes hours upon hours to read and transform it into a watchable 120 minute flick. When comparing books to movies I like to think about it in terms of food. I wouldn’t go so far as to adopt the old adage of “apples and oranges” but rather I’d say the two are more like peanut butter cups and pb & j sandwiches. While both have the core story of peanut butter at the center, the peanut butter cup of movies offers a short but sweet snack while the larger and healthier pb & j sandwich of books spreads out the story for the reader to take on in manageable bites until she or he is left full and satisfied.

    So the question for Ender’s Game asks would you rather have the peanut butter cup or the sandwich? I think the answer depends on taste and timing.

    Eaters of the book sandwich often times set their expectations high for the movie. When walking into the theater many book readers take their seats in hopeful anticipation that the writers and directors were able to scan their book brain memory and plaster it on the silver screen for all to enjoy. After seeing the jelly subplot of Valentine and Peter cut out and replaced with a chocolaty visual display, it is understandable why fans of the book may have felt somewhat unsatisfied and hungry for more.

    But what happens when you bite into the sweet peanut butter cup first and you venture toward the pb & j sandwich for more of that awesome peanut butter? In the event of seeing movies before reading the book, it is likely that individuals would have a completely different outlook on which is better. Or, at the very least, they would have a higher rating of the movie compared to those who read the book first. Instead of noticing what was cut out or how Ben Kingsley books nothing like the Mazer you had in mind, you would go into the book knowing what Mazer looks like and be pleasantly surprised by the added subplot that gives Val so much more depth.

    As far as my overall opinion on Ender’s Game goes, I’d say the book was better. But having my fill of peanut butter after reading and watching the story, I can honestly say I don’t have room to re-read the book, but I can easily fit in another sweet viewing of the movie, and I think there is something important behind that,

    Final Note: My apologies to those with allergies to peanuts if my exhausted metaphor was lost on you. For the record I do have one movie in mind that was better than the book in my opinion, and yes I saw the movie first. While Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club was an awesome read, I can’t help but say I liked the movie more.

    Happy Reading, Happy Watching, Happy Eating,


    • Sam November 22, 2013 at 12:16 PM #

      Wow, thank you for such a rich response! I love your peanut butter metaphor (even sweeter with my love for Reese’s). I always try to look at a movie/book and try not to think about what I loved that was left out. There will always be ‘jelly’ left on the editing room floor and I try to accept that. I do think I’m guilty of going into a film with some specific things in mind and being upset when they look different on film. Mazer’s face tattoos I could get over. Anderson being a woman was a little harder for me.
      I always try to read the book before I see the movie out of fear I’ll loose interest in the book if I know what’s coming, whereas a movie still holds the visual allure. The only instance I can think of is The Fellowship of the Ring and in that case I did prefer the movie. Maybe there’s some relation between what you experience first. I tend to agree books are usually better.



  1. Goodreads Challenge: Complete! | Taking on a World of Words - December 20, 2013

    […] Enders Game by Orson Scott card (4) […]


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