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Matt Mueller’s “Ender’s Game” Should Have Ended Before It Began

In response to Matt Mueller’s 336‑word review of Ender’s Game on Total Film

By ,

Matt Mueller’s “Ender’s Game” gets off to a rough start when Mueller introduces the titular film as “based on a YA bestseller.” This is likely to alienate many sci-fi fans of the source material who might see the “YA” label as a slap in the face.

There are plenty of turns of phrase in Mueller’s Ender’s Game that are even more wince-inducing than “Based on a YA bestseller.” Here are some highlights:

  • “in-yer-face violence”
  • “geekgasm”
  • “where strategic nous is key”

It’s hard to fathom how that last one in particular made it past the editor, if indeed there was an editor. The sloppiness of this review certainly calls that into question.

Mueller does get one thing right, and that is mentioning the personal politics of Ender’s Game creator Orson Scott Card. Some reviewers might be inclined to omit any mention of Card’s virulent homophobia, but Mueller brings it up on two separate occasions. Movie reviews don’t have to be apolitical, and Mueller’s taking Card to task for his reactionary worldview is the highlight of an otherwise low quality review.

Mueller’s Ender’s Game is not a complete flop. Mueller’s personality comes across strong, though occasionally it might have been worth it to pull it back a bit for the sake of professionalism. If he were to spend more time and effort on his subject, and maybe enlist the help of a good editor, Mueller could have some real potential.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation