The book was about a boy and his painful training and fine mind. The movie is a hollow echo. Almost everything that made the book meaningful to me when I was a teenager is missing:
the vivid culture and technology of Battle School
Ender’s creative tactics and reluctant ruthlessness
his politically precocious siblings, a family of Caesars
The movie tells us most of these things, but we never feel them, or even get to enjoy any dorky details. We learn nothing about zero-G combat and what armies of genius kids are like; the bullies are not menacing, and Ender’s wins seem more accidental than brilliant; we are notified by the script that Ender adores his sister and his brother is violent, but Valentine and Peter seem so ordinary they could have walked onto the screen from the set of a sitcom next door. The film has a few bright moments, but they are deep in the shadow of several major failures. I expected a disappointment, and I got it.