Ender’s Game the movie has two things riding against it: the insane bad luck of its director, Gavin Hood, and the latent homophobia of its source material’s author, Orson Scott Card.
Gavin Hood is best known for being the director of X-Men Origins, already acknowledged as one of the worst films of the last decade. Recently, Hood and Summit Entertainment played their trump card: that Hood was forced to direct the terrible script forced upon him by corporate executives, and that he was a pawn in the massive game called “We Don’t Know What People Like So Let’s Do Everything At Once.” This was good damage control, especially since until recently I’d given him the sole blame for the critical failure of that movie. Clearly Summit saw something in him that no one else did, and it seems that their risk paid off: Hood’s both writer and director for this film.
He recently interviewed with IGN to sum up the whole situation, and IGN’s Chris Tilly couldn’t have more perfectly explained what went wrong then like so:
The film had a famously troubled journey to the big-screen, and in the below interview, Hood calls it a “baptism of fire” revealing that while making the movie in Australia he was regularly getting new script pages from LA, sometimes the night before shooting.
Explains why Deadpool was so awkwardly shuffled into that crapfest, right?
So with Hood proving that he’s a good director as long as no one’s breathing down his neck, the other issue was Card. The seminal author did write one of the best science fiction novels of the last century, for crying out loud. He’d won oodles of science fiction literature awards.
However, Orson Scott Card does irrationally hate gay people, and there’s no justifying that. He’s been writing articles insulting homosexuals for years now.
I suppose that this call to boycott a film which he had no creative control over is sort of a sign that homosexuals are finally gaining some level of public acceptance. In a perfect world, people wouldn’t be hated for their skin color or religion or ethnicity or gender or age or sexual orientation. We’d all just love each other, right?
Unfortunately, no. But the issue here isn’t which fundamentalist religious group is going to picket which funeral, it’s whether or not you should boycott a movie because its author is a total scumbag.
Or because you don’t agree with the values that movie represents. Ender’s Game is very interestingly a book that encourages collaboration beyond the levels of race or religion or ethnic difference. Ender himself is the most tolerant and accepting character, with none of the prejudices of the other Battle School kids. He judges people for their character, not their characteristics. This, in turn, makes him someone who’s very easily likable, despite how ruthlessly violent he has to be.
Let’s name another film that got boycotted: The Da Vinci Code.
Wait, why was this one boycotted? Its author didn’t hate gay people, right? Granted, it did suggest that Jesus had kids and that a Catholic sect called Opus Dei were full of extremists…wait.
The movie actually dealt with this a little more carefully than Dan Brown did. It made a huge point that Opus Dei itself had no idea that people were being murdered, and that the true villain was manipulating them all along, just so Catholics all over the world wouldn’t understandably get pissed. I mean, hey, if there was a film that suggested that all Jewish people like me and Alex Caine were a bunch of hate-mongering jerkoffs, we would get pretty angry too—
But, you may say, The Passion of the Christ is a really terrible movie, and was only embraced by fundamentalist Christians who would’ve hated Jews anyway! What does that matter?
See, that’s sort of the point. Ignoring that Card isn’t getting any of the profits this film is making (and it already seems like it may bomb in theaters), ignoring that the book itself isn’t homophobic in any way, don’t you see the sheer pointlessness of boycotting any of these films? I hate The Passion of the Christ with a vengeance. I hate how much flak I got in middle school when that movie came out, the chants of “Christ-killer” and “hooknose” and “where’s your horns, Jew?” South Park even took the issue on, where Kyle sees the film and falls into a self-hating funk. I hate Mel Gibson and everything that man stands for. Unfortunately, he’s expressing himself.
As far as I know, this film, which openly expressed a hateful message and turned the story of one of the world’s most beloved religious figures into torture porn, was not boycotted at all. There were calls for it, sure, but in the end, it made a lot of money. Half a billion dollars worth. With a thirty million dollar budget. Thank you, Wikipedia.
Don’t you think, in the face of a movie that relentlessly terrible, that boycotting Ender’s Game is going to show Card who’s boss here? Do you think Card gives a rat’s ass? He’s getting more attention than he’s gotten in years. Sure, he may have gotten fired from DC for his rants, and his Superman comic book was shelved, but sales of his book are off the charts right now. That has nothing to do with the movie, that has to do with the controversy. I’m even willing to bet that many of these people who don’t want to give him money for the movie (which as Caine already said, he’s not going to) bought the book.
Books cost more than movie tickets, oh political activists.
For the love of God, guys, this is the kind of fanboy behavior that we shouldn’t be partaking in. I’m happy that it’s meant for such a positive cause, but I doubt the gay community will benefit at all from hearing how much you hate Orson Scott Card. I can’t claim to know what homosexuals want, but I’m going to guess they want the same things that everyone else does. You know, equality and justice and all that. All the freedoms that I’ve been given simply because I’m not gay.
If you want to help gay people, do something to get gay marriage legalized in all fifty states. Ensure that they’re given the same insurance plans and healthcare and parental rights as heterosexual couples. Do something that will actually benefit someone else. All you’re doing is supporting a cause that soothes your conscience. It’s like going on a mission trip to another country, feeding children for a week, and then leaving them in the exact terrible conditions they started in. No one boycotts Ender’s Game or feeds starving children out of any other reason but love, but it’s a pointless effort, and you’re punishing Gavin Hood and Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford and everyone else who worked on the film because they (presumably) wanted it to be made. They want nothing to do with Card, the book itself is a fantastic piece of literature.
So in muddled conclusion, I’m not saying that Ender’s Game is the greatest film ever made. It probably isn’t. The point here is to judge it separately from the book. If you feel so self-conscious about supporting Card financially in any way, just pirate the PDF of the book online. It’s a simple Google search away.