I’ve never read “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card. I read one short story that I found in an anthology, and “The Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoints” from Writer’s Digest Books, as a teenager in the 1980’s. He never caught my attention as a “must read” author since I preferred horror over science fiction. The trailer for Ender’s Game: The Movie surprised me, as was learning that Card supported the anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 in California.
Not surprisingly, a gay rights group wants people to boycott the movie.
As a moderate conservative and a Christian kicked out of a nondenominational church over eight years ago, I have no interest in re-fighting the culture wars that dominates the political discourse of the United State. If gays want to embrace marriage—and the consequences of marriage, say, a messy divorce when things don’t work out—I don’t have a problem with that. Politicians, especially those god-fearing politicians who keep their homosexuality in a locked closet, need to focus on the economy and not where people stick their yank at bedtime.
My friend and I debated whether or not to see the movie. While we’re both sympathetic in not wanting to support an anti-gay bigot, this was a Harrison Ford movie. While Card wasn’t a “must read” author, Ford was a “must see” actor. We watched Ford make his rounds on the late night shows, explaining how the 1985 novel predicted the Internet, how warfare would become a video game, and his role in the featured clip from the movie. The boycott got mentioned only briefly.
We saw the movie last week. No protesters stood in front of the theater. We got there early to watch the theater fill up. If there was a boycott, these people haven’t heard about it. As for the movie itself, it was okay. I really didn’t want to like the movie at first. The idea of training young children to become military leaders in a far-flung war should offend the sensibilities of people. That’s a war crime in today’s world.
My perception didn’t change until Ender tried to avoid a confrontation with his bullying superior officer, who ends up with an accidental head injury that sends him home from the war, and showed remorse because that wasn’t the outcome he wanted. Caught between the desires to have his fellow students like him, doing his best despite what other people may think of him, and being pushed to become harden soldier without compassion for the alien enemy, he must navigate this obstacle course while keeping his humanity intact.
I later read that Ender’s Game was the beginning of a new young adult movie franchise like The Hunger Games, if the movie does well. Ender’s Game did well for the opening weekend, but dropped 60% this weekend as Thor: The Dark World dominated the weekend. Another Ender’s movie is unlikely, but a TV series might happen. With or without a boycott, I’m not sure if I’ll watch that.