[movies] Elysium and Ender’s Game
Yesterday whilst Lisa Costello was out being busy, the_child wanted to watch a movie. She was really interested in Ender’s Game [ imdb ], but wanted to wait for Lisa to come home and watch it. (Knowing of her interest, I’d previously decided not to get into the deeply problematic political issues around OSC, though later, after we finished watching, there was a teachable moment, which I shall describe below.)
So instead we rented Elysium [ imdb ] whilst waiting for Lisa. Most of the reviews I’d seen of this movie had panned it, but I actually rather liked the film. It was basically a mashup of In Time [ imdb ] and District 9 [ imdb ]. Which is of course unsurprising, since South African Neill Blomkamp directed both District 9 and Elysium. The movie didn’t ask a lot from the viewer, and key elements of worldbuilding fell quite flat on even the most cursory critical consideration, but if you just followed the thread of the action and invested in both the eye candy and the dystopian porn, it held together. Plus the_child and I got to talk about the fact that there are places in the world today just like the horribly decaying shanty towns portrayed in the movie’s grim future. A fun enough SFnal adventure where the show was mostly stolen by Jodie Foster, although Sharlto Copley did a fine job of chewing the rug hard enough to dent the floor, while Matt Damon played his slightly superpowered everyman version of Matt Damon.
After Lisa came home, we tooled up and rented Ender’s Game. Setting aside both my memories of the book and my feelings about OSC, it was a pretty good movie. A lot of the plot was forced, but then, that was kind of the point. With occasional clicks of the pause button for discussion, the_child understood how Ender’s entire existence was being managed by deception and manipulation. Since she’d never read the book, she didn’t know the stakes in the graduation battle sequence until Ender himself found out, and she very much shared his profound sense of anguish and betrayal. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this film so much if I had not been watching with a teen aged viewer, but I did. Afterwards, when we were talking about Ender and the adults in his life, and the Formics, I was able to explain that the man who wrote that book so full of human understanding and real pain had long since turned into a very sad, vile person who worked very hard to do evil to many other people. She opined that OSC’s personal story was sort of like Ender’s story, which I thought was a fascinating insight.
Maybe today I’ll watch cartoons.