The movie wasn’t the worst adaptation of a book I have ever seen (looking at you Eragon), but it would have been SO much better had it been made into 2-3 seperate movies. The pacing of the movie is just so fast. We see Ender at the beginning, he has a fight with some bullies, beats the crap out of one (in the book, it’s even more brutal), then we’re at his house. We see his brother Peter (in the book, you see he’s a sociopath, in the film, just an agry teen) for all of 5 seconds (in the book, he plays a much larger role as an influencing part on Ender) and his sister Valentine (the exact opposite of Peter, as she is incredibly empathatic, but in the film, kind of close to Ender, but not very) who has all of 2 scenes in which she is in (in the book, she and Peter get their own sub plot where they begin Peter’s plot to eventually take over the world, but that is completely left out of the film). We see a little bit of their parents, who don’t play that big of an impact in the books, but their backgrounds are completely left out (Graff explains to Ender about their circumstances). So Ender decides to go with Graff and kind of says goodbye to his family, but like all future relationships in this movie, its skimmed over at the best of times.
During the next part, where Ender is in Battle School, he kind of makes friends with a few people, but like I said earlier, the movie doesn’t really focus on these things, at all. The characters are kind of just there. Everything is being rushed right through. Also, Bean is NOT on the same shuttle as Ender. Bean is a few years younger and considerably smaller than Ender (in Ender’s Shadow, Bean is revealed to be even smarter than Ender). We kind of get the idea that Ender made friends with Alai, Petra, Bean, and a handful of others (Bernard, other than a very short time, was never actually Ender’s friend, quite the opposite), but those characters are kind of just there. In the book, it actually shows why he became friends with these people, why he trusts them so much over others.
Another problem I had was Bonzo. The kid who played him did a decent job acting, but the problem wasn’t the acting. Bonzo is supposed to be a few years older and considerably bigger than Ender, and yet is portrayed by someone half Ender’s size. And the bathroom “fight” scene in the movie was not very good and did not relate to Ender at all. The other reason, was how his name was pronounced. In the movie, everyone keeps saying “Bonzo!” like Bonzo the clown. In the movie, they even go so far as to tell you it is pronounced Bone-so. Pet peeve, but it is right there in the book.
In the book, Ender is facing down Bonzo, Bernard, and a few others. Ender convinces Bonzo to fight him 1 on 1. Bonzo sends his goons away to keep anyone from coming in (one of Ender’s friends DOES try to come in and stop it, but cannot get through). Ender let’s the showed heat up the soap on his body so he’s hard to hold onto. Bonzo get’s Ender into a headlock, but Ender, in full self-defense mode, launches his head straight into Bonzo’s nose, jamming those bones into Bonzo’s skull. Bonzo obviously let’s go, but Ender, wanting to make sure that no one tries this again, launches a flurry of blows that sends Bonzo flying, but no other reaction from Bonzo. It is revealed that Bonzo was in fact killed by this (and that kid Ender did the samething to at the beginning? yeah, he died too), not left up in the air.
For the ending, I’ll leave that as surprise. But this movie just tried to cram too much stuff into too small a timeframe for it to do the book any actual justice. Ender’s siblings, who are every bit as smart as him, but have the wrong type of personalities, heavily impacted Ender’s life and are often referenced by Ender as doing such throughout the book. In the movie, other than saying he missed Valentine, they’re basically ignored, depsite having rather important roles in the book. Petra, Ender’s first friend in an Army (Ender was in a few, FYI, not 1), never temporarily joined him for a battle while he commanded Dragon. In fact, Ender’s army completely crushed Petra’s Phoenix army so thoroughly that Petra was angry at Ender for awhile after. And Bean in the movie is little more than a named extra, while in the book, despite being the smallest, and perhaps youngest of his army, proves to be far more intelligent and resourceful than anyother of Ender’s army. They never really went into much with Alai either, who in the book, became Ender’s best friend.