I’ve been to the movies three times in three weeks.  That’s like a world’s record for me! Here is what I saw:

Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game made an okay movie.  If you have not read the book, you will find it to be entertaining, though you may have some questions about it afterward.  I read the book, but my son, husband, dad, and nephew did not know anything about it when they went to see it.  My husband found parts of it to be unbelievable.  My son said it was “meh.” (Teenagers!)  My dad thought it was pretty good, but I think he was relieved to see a more mature kids’ movie for a change, instead of the usual animated things he takes the grandkids to watch. My nephew, a fifth grader, seemed unsure about it, and I think this was his first real journey into a middle-grade level movie.  

I’ll say that what they DID include in the movie was fine.  I mean, we had to know the movie would be much more shallow than the book, that’s a given.  A lot of things were changed, starting with making Ender much older, which softens some of the violence in the story (and allows them to make a movie with a rating that lets kids actually see it.)  It is hard to tell how much time has passed in the movie though, and you can’t really understand that the book takes place over years of time and be able to realize how much they have manipulated and messed with Ender’s mind.  Ender’s brother and sister have been basically eliminated from the movie, but they try to replace those relationships with other characters.  With the actual characters gone though, a big piece of the plot is also gone, but I guess that works out okay because of the compressed timeline.  The book is much more political, but again that wouldn’t really keep the interest of the younger kids that the movie makers need to have in the audience.  It’s definitely a book that is hard to adapt for a film.

So, the verdict is, go read the book.  And then read some of the following books, because Ender’s Game was really just the set-up for the second book, Speaker of the Dead.  It’s a difficult read and it’s complicated, and it’s definitely not for everyone.  I’ve handed it to students only for them to pass it right back to me and say “Thanks but no thanks.”  Science fiction can be tricky because you have to be okay with not knowing what is happening until the author needs you to know more.

Thor 2: Dark World

This was great fun! I liked it better than the first one, and I’m not normally into superhero movies. I  preferred seeing Thor in his own world this time. Having him be lost and confused on Earth in the first movie did not work for me, so I’m glad he got to be a smarter character in this one.  Loki was fantastic and Thor’s mom gets a quick chance to show off her crazy skills, too.  At any rate, it’s not really a movie that you’re supposed to think about too much, so just go see it and enjoy! 

Catching Fire

So good that I didn’t even get upset with the cliffhanger ending! I read The Hunger Games when it first came out and before it was a “thing”, so I’ve been following these books for a long time.  This movie was really well done, and I particularly liked the pacing of how it played out.  It stayed in each setting long enough for you to gather the needed information and then it switched up again.  The images were very impactful.  Remember that in the book, the first part is Katniss and Peeta on their Victory Tour, then it’s the  Quarter Quell, they get swept off immediately for more training time, and the part about the games is pretty short.  The pacing was really important to make the movie feel balanced and still have a lot of action in it to keep it moving.  

The main thing I wished we had been able to see from the books would have been the videos of Haymitch in his Quarter Quell games.  His own story is only hinted at, but it explains so much about his character. I’m hoping that maybe some of those scenes will pop up on the DVD later.  If this same team is going to be responsible for Mockingjay, too, I’ll be very happy!

Next up…

The Book Thief

I read this book when it first came out, too, and it was my favorite book of that year.  The writing is beautiful and it looks like the movie will do it justice. I hope to see it this week while on vacation for Thanksgiving.  Part of me wonders if I have time to read it again, but maybe it is better to not confuse the two versions in my head. Has anyone seen this so yet? 


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