In the world of science fiction I consider myself a fan, but not a fan-boy. By which I mean that while I do love many of the films in the genre - from 2001 to Alien, Close Encounters to Moon - I do not obsess over them. I don’t relentlessly watch every movie in the genre, nor endlessly debate the realities and potential realities of the films in online forums. I watch the films I hear good things about, sometimes like them (sometimes not), and move on to other films in other genres.
I’ve also read very few books that would be considered science fiction. Recently I decided I should probably remedy this a little and started reading some of the classics in the genre. One such book I’d heard great things about was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I read it and its sequel, Speaker for The Dead. I liked them both though I feel their prose is a little stilted. The ideas the books deal with and the concepts raised though, are really quite intriguing, and Card does a masterful job of writing about them in a meaningful and realistic way.
When I heard they were making a movie of Ender’s Game, I was excited (though not as excited as those fan-boys.) But also a little leery as it seemed very difficult to take the philosophical points the book was making translate into the screen (not to mention all the naked, under-aged boys.) When the trailers came, it appeared as if the movie had taken all of the action and none of the meaning. Still, the reviews were fairly good, and I’m enough of a fan to want to see it.
It's funny, this weekly column I write. Here I’ve just tossed off a few paragraphs about this book and the movie it is based upon with fairly weak praise, and yet I make it my Pick of the Week. It isn’t a slow week either. There are lots of other interesting films coming out right now. There are films and series that I’m quite sure I’ll like more than Ender’s Game, and am excited to purchase on DVD and Blu-ray. I have no real answer to why I picked it other than there is some strange personal excitement about it that drives me to make it my pick. I suppose that comes from so much Internet buzz. Sites like Reddit went wild over the film, and absolutely gush over the book and that rubs off. I want to like it more than I expect I actually will. And well, that’s kind of what I like about this column. It gives me a chance to be excited about things and to write about that excitement and maybe even pass it on a little.
So, yes, Ender’s Game is my Pick of the Week. Not because it is the greatest movie coming out this week, nor because I know I’ll just love it. No, it gets picked because the Internet has got me excited about something and that excitement gets passed around and shared. There is so much garbage in the world and on the computer screen that when we can get excited and show some fan-boy love for a few brief moments then I’m happy to be a part of it.
Extras include audio commentary by director Gavin Hood and another one with producers Gigi Pritzker and Robert Orci. There’s a 50-minute making-of, deleted/extended scenes, and a short feature on the motion-capture techniques used in the film.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
The Jungle Book (Diamond Edition Blu-ray): The classic Disney family film gets the full high-definition treatment. Read my review here.
Sherlock: Season Three: The BBC modern adaptation of Sherlock Holmes continues to blow the movie version away. I just wish they did more than three episodes a year.
All is Lost: Robert Redford is a tour de force as a man lost at sea. Or so they say. There was a lot of anger over him not getting an Oscar nod. I’m looking forward to seeing it so I can decide for myself.
Counselor: Novelist Cormac McCarthy penned this Ridley Scott movie starring Michael Fassbender and Penelope Cruz. That’s a recipe for something awesome, but sadly the reviews have been awful.
The Americans: Season One: I’ve heard great things about this show about a couple of Russian spies living in suburban Washington D.C.
Diana: Naomi Watts stars as the late Princess of Wales. I’ve not heard a lot of buzz about this one either way, but I’m intrigued enough to give it a shot. Enter our contest to win Diana on Blu-ray.
Doctor Who: The Moonbase (Story 33): Another classic Who with Patrick Troughton.
Jean Rollin: The Vampire Films (The Rape of the Vampire, The Nude Vampire, The Shiver of the Vampire, Requiem for a Vampire): Rollin was the master of the erotic, gothic horror story. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of these films, but I’m always knocked out by how beautifully filmed they are, an amazing thing considering the low budget and lowest common denominator feel most of these type of pictures have.