Ender’s Game the Movie

Image courtesy of Image Shack

I finally watched the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game”.  All in all, the overall ideas and feelings were captured with the special effects being well done.  However, I have a nit to pick with the director and Hollywood in general.  Why is it so hard to conceive of these type of stories actually starting further in the future the way they should be set.  Card’s story takes place further in the future than depicted in the movie.

The screen writer and director decided to open with an “Independence Day” style space battle (almost an exact copy of the ending) to represent the second invasion, which in the book was repulsed near Saturn.  They even used current jet fighters as our defense.  They then go on to state that the current time frame of the movie is fifty years after this battle where the book says it is eighty years since the second invasion.  Therefore, in the movie it only takes fifty years to go from jet fighters and no manned deep space travel to constructing near light speed fleets with world destroying capabilities.  This includes the travel time from our system to the Formic territories and conquering one of their worlds.

To contrast, the book starts at a point in the future where we already have in system fleets capable of battling around Saturn then gives another eighty years to adapt the alien technologies and launch the fleet, which was done in stages as we were able to build enough ships.

I just do not understand why some directors feel they need to hold everyone’s hands when it comes to science fiction.  They have to start from a comfortable, easily recognizable, near future that makes the sci-fi aspects seem closer to fantasy than science.  Would it really have been so hard to come up with a way to depict the original battles in space as they should have been?  Let the shocked viewer actually use their mind a bit to realize that the story starts some hundred years or so in our future.

To me, the story was cheapened by this need to cling to the familiar.  For the same reason I could not get into the Aliens versus Predator movies.  Instead of taking place in the future around where the original Alien movies occurred, they chose to come back to our present, which by the way is inconsistent with the Alien movies cannon.  To me, the only proper handling of Aliens versus Predators was the old Atari Jaguar video game of that name that took place in a futuristic setting.

Why I Disagree with the Minimum Wage Increase

Surprising as it may seem, I disagree with increasing the Federal Minimum Wage.  Not; however, because I don’t want to help the poor, but because it is a flawed method of achieving those ends.

While I understand the principles of how the increase will help severely poor families survive and the extra cash flow will improve the economy, I am also a middle-class survivor of several minimum wage increases.  The lesson I learned from experience was that the true idea of getting the rich to share more fairly in the wealth we all create does not happen.  What you see instead is that when the rich have to pay more for the lowest class employee, they balance that cost by shorting the middle class employee and the consumer.

When the minimum wage goes up and a new employee is making close to what an employee who has been there several years, the rich employer does not suddenly say that isn’t fair to my loyal worker and give them a raise too.  They just say they can’t afford it and when reviews come around, raises seem to disappear.  Many companies have instituted salary caps like major league sports teams.  My company has an unofficial one that means I have not seen a raise in six years (not even for cost of living).  Wal-Mart is another such company.

Basically, this method of raising the poor out of poverty does so, not at the expense of those who have benefited the most from our economic system, but from those that do the most to maintain our economy.  The middle class takes the brunt of helping the poor and feeding the ever-increasing gap between the rich and the poor.  In the end, the middle class is being relentlessly pushed into poverty by the greed of the rich and the short-sighted visions of those trying to help the poor.  We need a better solution before there are only two classes, the rich and the poor.  The middle class need to band together and say enough is enough.  They need to become such a nuisance (civil disobedience – Occupy Wallstreet) and make it stick.  To change things, we need to do without the fluff and live within our means so that the loss of our sales will impact the corporations.  Unfortunately, this will hurt.  The rich won’t give up their money easily, but a quick sharp pain is better than this slow torturous death we currently live with.  Think about your children.