Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Ender’s Game, created by Gavin Hood based on the novel by Orson Scott Card: a Film Review


Humanity is ready to launch an attack on the Formic home world after the alien species attacked and nearly destroyed Earth fifty years before.  Due to Mazer Rackham’s last minute suicide dive into the mothership of the invasion army at the cost of his life the war was won and there have been fifty years of silence from the insect-like Formics.

The International Fleet has been training children on their space bound Battle School in preparation for the invasion of the Fomic home world.  They are authorized to take any child that shows a gifted potential to turn them into the newest commanders to fight the next war.

This is how Andrew “Ender” Wiggin ends up drawing the attention of Colonel Hyrum Graff at an incredibly young age.

Thrown into Battle School and all the isolation and pain that this entails, Ender eventually excels.  Could he be the hope that the IF is looking for to fight their final war?  Or will the reality of all the lies they are being told break Ender before he is able to finish his graduation – a final simulation of a possible battle on the Formic home world?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction, Action/Adventure, Military, Coming of Age

-Creator: Gavin Hood based on the novel by Orson Scott Card

-Length: 114 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (for mild violence and gore, mild profanity and slurs – though these are not any used on earth today, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

While this movie is not as good as the book in some ways I do think it excels in others. 

For people who enjoy or need a more visual medium to process sotries I do think the film caught the overarching themes and moral dilemmas of the book quite well.  Asa Butterfield’s performance as Ender is a big factor in this…though I do think that his height and stature really do affect how you see the character if you know anything about the book.  Ender is one of the youngest at school and therefore is quite small in comparison to the other students so it is a little odd to see him towering over Bonzo in the scenes they are in together.  But that aside it is truly a beautiful performance especially the end when Ender is told what is actually going on.  The level of slow simmering outrage that Butterfield is able to achieve in this scene is just lovely. 

Having Harrison Ford in the movie isn’t bad either!  While not my favorite of his roles I do think he did well as the Colonel in charge of the Battle School though I don’t think he was quite vicious enough.  Mazer was almost too much.  So, I guess it balanced out in the end.

The visual effects are some of the most stunning I’ve seen in a long time and have held up well over the years considering so much of the film had to be done with CGI effects due to the fact that we haven’t figured out how to live in space at the stage the film needs to be in.  they did update how the simulations look…while I do think they are more realistic and like our video games of today I do think the more simplified almost Pong or Space Invaders level of tech that is described in the book would be a lot easier to convince the kids of being fake…

Which I guess is the whole point and does add to the fact that as an audience we can almost tell its way more real than Ender and his team are told from the beginning. 

So many moral issues that are covered in this book.  But I do love Ender’s come back to his Colonel…because its so true.

“How we win matters.”

And isn’t that the whole point.  So many times we just plow forward in life and don’t take the time to get the other side of the story… we just care about winning.  Not how we do it.

But sometimes…a lot of the time…HOW we win is EXACTLY what matters.

Films and books like this are so important to show to people…because that is the important message.  Not the effects or the costumes or the sets which were all great by the way, but the moral of the story and the performances of the actors sometimes are more important that any beautiful visual we can put together.

I love this story and really do think most preteens and early teens should see this film and have the moral and emotional discussions about what this story is bringing up discussed in depth.  I think it would do a lot of us some good.


Rating: 4 out of 5.

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