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.