Why movie adaptations of books are a really good idea.

As a future librarian I feel like I might be struck by lightning for that statement. But this realization came to me yesterday as I actively sat on my bed staring at my TV absolutely riveted at the story unfolding in front of me. That story, was Ender’s Game. And before the diehard Ender’s Game fans come to skewer me, let me explain a bit.

I can’t stand reading science fiction. I almost never enjoy the process because science fiction tends to be set in the future and involve technology that doesn’t exist or concepts that are easy to visualize, and I lose the story because I spend most of the book slightly confused and not able to see what I’m reading. There is one sci-fi book I’ve enjoyed which is The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, but even that book I didn’t feel compelled to finish.

On the other hand, I love watching science fiction. I grew up on Star Wars and highly enjoy Doctor Who and starting to get more into Star Trek. I love these stories because I can see them. I have a picture in my head of futuristic technology that I otherwise would not have understood in a book form. Sci-fi is a better visual genre (to me) than literary. By no means does this say that Sci-Fi isn’t good in book form, but it’s less understandable for me.

But.

As I sat watching Ender’s Game yesterday, I was absolutely in awe of the world and circumstances of the story that was unfolding in front of me. The ending surprised me. I wasn’t expecting that ending but it also made me slightly happey because I love literary endings- the ones that aren’t necessarily happy and whole.

More importantly, the moment I finished the movie, I wanted to read the book. And before more Ender’s Game fans skewer me. I am aware that the book is different from the movie. I am aware that some of you absolutely hate the movie and others think that it was okay. But here’s my honest opinion… I don’t really care about your opinion. (Actually my honest opinion was a little more blunt, but I thought I should refrain.)

Ender’s Game (the movie) was very well-made. It took concepts that I hadn’t thought of before and made them real. What this means now, is that when I do read the book, I will be able to picture what before would have frustrated me. I will be able to see the book. I’ve had to learn over the years that it’s really not worth it to get super mad all the time about movie adaptations of books. 

I will say that there are sometimes that it is okay (Ella Enchanted and City of Bones to name a couple), but it’s also important to recognize that these movies are creating opportunities for a person to read a book that they might not have picked originally. Since I haven’t read Ender’s Game yet, I can’t say that this is one of the movies that people shouldn’t get worked up about. But, it wasn’t a waste. It served a purpose. 

And tomorrow I plan on watching it again because even if inaccurate, it’s still a wonderfully made film.

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