'Ender's Game' Is a Worthy Adaptation - Boycott the Book, Scott-Card Isn't Getting Paid
You should be boycotting the book, not the film, if you really want to make a stand against homophobia
Ender’s Game was a risky project from the outset. Not only is Orsen Scott-Card’s novel one of the most revered sci-fi works of all time, but the author’s forthright and controversial views on homosexuality have polarized fans of the franchise and the gay community alike.
But there is a crossover between the two – the gay community and fans of Ender’s – which lead to a campaign to boycott the movie remake of Scott-Card’s timeless book.
Those opposed to Scott-Card were furious that a man with such backwards views should be allowed a global platform in which to entertain and stimulate such a large demographic. What’s more, they didn’t want the author to profit while his homophobic views still permeate the zeitgeist.
But, today – the day Ender’s Game, starring Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield is released – we’ve learned that Scott-Card won’t earn another penny from the cinematic re-imagination of his book.
According to The Wrap, he, rather short-sightedly, signed off on the his movie deals 10 years ago, and has no creative input in the film or fiscal windfall from it.
Ben Kingsley in Ender's Game
“It changes with every deal depending on the stature of the property and the author, how the picture is going to be financed and balancing all that out to decide if an author wants upfront cash versus backend participation,” said Jason Dravis, president of Monteiro Rose Dravis Agency.
“There’s no set rule or trend that I’ve seen going one way or the other. It really depends on the individual author’s tolerance for risk.”
If you really want to stand up against homophobia, then boycotting his book would be a far more pragmatic step. The book currently stands atop the New York Times’ Paperback Mass-Market Fiction Best Sellers List, ahead of The Racketeer and Mad River. Scott-Card is profiting handsomely from this, so a widespread boycott of his novel – not the entirely separate film – is the way to go.
The furore surrounding Card and his controversial views wasn’t lost on the film’s most marketable star, Harrison Ford, who was moved to distance the film from any homophobic musings the story’s creator may have.
"There is nothing in the film or the book addressing [Card's] current dispositions, or prejudices,” said the Indiana Jones star, who is rumored to be making a return to the Star Wars universe for Episode VII, said. (The Guardian)
Director Gavin Hood said: "It has been a real dilemma for me: I love the book ... and it's very difficult for me to reconcile that with his clearly contrary views to the ones I hold on the issue of gay rights."
Boycotting the book and seeing the film is all-well-and-good, but it doesn’t really do you any favours if the film’s rubbish, which most predicted it would be. But an accomplished – sometimes steely – performance from the young Butterfield and some emphatic action sequences have confirmed it as a solid action sci-fi at worst; a love letter to fans of the franchise at best.
“Against considerable odds, this risky-sounding Orson Scott Card adaptation actually works, as director Gavin Hood pulls off the sort of teen-targeted franchise starter Summit was hoping for,” said Variety in their review.
Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian, who tends to favor art-house films to Hollywood blockbusters, but has recently mellowed, giving films like Fast and Furious 6 positive reviews, was subtly impressed with Hood’s efforts.
“The movie's apocalyptic finale indicates that it's bitten off considerably more than it can chew in terms of ideas, but it looks good, and the story rattles along,” he wrote.
“Whatever you make of the book's widely derided author, Ender's Game is one of 2013's more thematically original stories, with a compellingly icy lead performance from Asa Butterfield,” added Catherine Bray, writing for British site, Film4.
Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld in Ender's Game
It hasn’t all been positive, with the film’s 77 reviews settling down to an overall score of 62% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s still considered ‘certified fresh’ with that score, but Ford et al will certainly have been hoping for a slightly more positive critical response.
That said, fans of the legend will almost certainly want to see the film. And now it’s been confirmed Scott-Card won’t gain financially from the movie, it might give some of those previously wrestling with their love of sci-fi v their morals, an excuse to fill their boots.