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Michael Burgin’s “Enders Game” Too Focused on the Book

In response to Michael Burgin’s 560‑word review of Ender’s Game on Paste Magazine 

http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2013/11/enders-game.html

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Michael Burgin’s “Enders Game” is not helped by a typo in the title nor by his focus on book-versus-movie comparisons.

The concept of an unfilmable book that takes place mostly in the protagonist’s head is familiar to moviegoers, as are the articles and interviews about filmmakers navigating the narrative and thematic shoals that bedevil the novel-adaptation process. Indeed, Charlie Kaufman’s “Adaptation” is a meta-fictional exploration of nothing else.

Burgin blazes no new trails in discussing the adaptation of “Ender’s Game” and, indeed, lingers too long on the subject. Readers will be forgiven for wanting to know the quality of this movie as a stand-alone work of art. Readers will also question his assertion that pleasing fans of “Ender’s Game” will play a role in its office success.

In the end, movies succeed or fail on their own. Readers will recall that some of the most well regarded movies in cinematic history—The Godfather, M*A*S*H, Gone with the Wind--have eclipsed the novels they were based on; and, as in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, filmmakers sometimes take much needed liberties with the revered source material.

Burgin errs in comparing the appeal of The Hobbit to Ender’s Game; no slight to the latter but the former launched the modern fantasy genre and is responsible for the acres of fantasy novels currently filling bookshelves across America.

Spending more time analyzing the merits of the movie qua movie would have been more fruitful than lingering on the novel-to-movie issues.    

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