Review: Ender’s Game

Directed by: Gavin Hood

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Aramis Knight, Suraj Partha.

Rating:   Running Time: 114 mins.

Based on the 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game is set in the future on an Earth where years earlier, mankind was attacked by an alien race known as the Formics. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), an unusually gifted student has been entered into a military school where the most intelligent young minds are trained in warfare ready to defeat the Formics, After an encounter with a bully at the school, and how Ender reacts to it, he is chosen by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) as being the kind of mind they are looking for, Ender is advanced rapidly to an orbital training platform, where he joins other like-minded students, to see if he will be the one to lead their military force, and save humanity.

The movie rests on the shoulders of young actor Asa Butterfield, who gives an above average performance in the main role of Ender, successfully conveying emotion as he feels them through his experiences as he is trained to think more as a commanding officer than a child. Harrison Ford gives the usual passable performance that he has currently become accustomed to give, though on a couple of occasions, he does rise above this and begin to show there is more to him as many of us will remember.

The visual effects are impressive throughout, starting with the opening video of Earth’s first aerial battle against the Formics, then with the scenes set in an orbiting space station, where Ender and his classmates play out team wargames in zero gravity, all set inside a glass dome that looks out into space, and finally with an impressive hologram room where Ender commands a military space fleet in scenario after scenario. Though the movie is 2D, these scenes may have even been improved by the use of 3D.

Parents should be warned, the movie is at the higher end of the 12A rating, with some scenes – especially early on, with a scene where Ender faces off a group of bullies at the military school – are rather violent. This is due to the subjects covered in the movie, of children being trained to fight, to be tactical and to defeat an enemy. Because of this there is are also some strong adult themes covered in the movie, surrounding killing in war and the issue of morality vs necessity. Though it may go over the heads of some younger viewers, be prepared for questions regarding the movie, and especially surrounding the movie’s ending (which I won’t delve into for spoiler purposes).

Ender’s Game is a far more successful movie than I expected on first viewing, and having seen it a second time I can also confirm that it holds up under scrutiny of further viewings. Whilst not as fantastical a movie as some might expect, it deserves praise for both being entertaining and also posing some questions regarding the moralities of war after watching. Well worth checking out on the big screen if you like a healthy dose of sci-fi.

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Posted on October 28, 2013, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Overall, a fairly positive review. I look forward to seeing this one.

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