Directed by Gavin Hood
Written by Gavin Hood (screenplay), Orson Scott Card (based on the book Ender’s Game)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, and Hailee Steinfeld
The International Military seek out a leader who can save the human race from an alien attack. Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth.
70 years ago the world was ravaged by an alien race called Formics. After an impressive military strike by a skilled fighter pilot, it become clear that the Formics can suffer damage despite their superior technology. Now, the world prepares their defense by recruiting adolescents in an intense battle school that takes only the most brilliant young minds of the time. Enter Ender Wiggen, a kid that’s strategically skilled beyond his years. He’s chosen for battle training and leaves his family behind. What awaits is empowering, enlightening, and ultimately a morality play on an epic level.
I feel compelled to mention I in no way endorse Orson Scott Card’s barbaric viewpoint on homosexuality. He’s a talented writer and certainly entitled to his opinion, regardless of how much of an asshole he is. I assure you, he’s an asshole.
I read this book when I was about 18 in the late 80’s. I loved the book, something all the local geeks could agree on; Card can write his ass off. All these years later, does the film hang with novel? In my opinion, it does. I didn’t want to see this film as a two-part thing, so the losses are acceptable in the grand scheme of things. The film is rushed, how could it not be. While the novel spends generous time on things like battle school, Ender’s actual life-changing video game, and character development – the film is forced to condense itself. Personally, I loved it. You’re never ever going to perfectly replicate a book and all the inherit feelings that accompany the literary work. There’s just too much room for personal interpenetration.
Asa Butterfield is off the charts as young Ender. He’s the classic “chosen one” character that must put his unique skills to the greatest test. People complained about Butterfield not being charismatic enough to be a “hero”. That term is used loosely within the confines of Ender’s Game, I assure you. I thought the kid killed it and I hung on his every word. The film has less action than the casual viewer might expect. This is a thinking man’s sci-fi film, and less of a shoot-em-up. Be ready for that let down if you only want to see things explode.
Ender’s Game is a visual orgasm. Film nerds are loosing it for good reason – this film is beautiful to view. The theme of war and children are nothing new, but balanced perfectly with the film’s other points. In the end, this is a film for our entertainment; don’t go in feeling like you must have commentary on life, war, and manipulation when it’s over.
This was all I hoped for and has a cast to rival any sci-film of the last ten years. Go see Ender’s Game.