Ender's Game

2013-12-06 11:46
 
Ender's Game
What it's about:

In the near future, a hostile alien race called the Formics have attacked Earth. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham, all would have been lost.

In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Hyrum Graff and the International Military are training only the best young minds to find the future Mazer.

Ender Wiggin, a shy but strategically brilliant boy, is recruited to join the elite. Arriving at Battle School, Ender quickly and easily masters increasingly difficult challenges and simulations, distinguishing himself and winning respect amongst his peers.

Ender is soon ordained by Graff as the military's next great hope, resulting in his promotion to Command School.

What we thought:

In its essence, Ender’s Game is a thought-provoking dystopian future where it takes the idea of child soldiers and puts an interesting spin on the theme of innocence lost.

I won’t put the movie in league of other great sci-fi movies like Star Trek, but it is definitely not a mediocre film. Not only does it bring up debate around children’s ability to cope with a military world, it also brings a harsh focus on the idea of pre-emptive strike and people's perception of 'the enemy'.

Asa Butterfield, who plays leading boy Ender, is definitely building up quite a repertoire of movies. He first made his mark in the saddest Holocaust movie ever made, The Boy In Striped Pajamas and gave a stellar performance at the age of ten. His second big movie was the critically acclaimed Hugo, where he plays the titular character.

Butterfield has a knack for playing lead children roles in adult movies, which made him a perfect choice for Ender’s Game. When it came to the twist in the movie, he gave an emotionally intense performance that could parallel that of any veteran actor.

Even if the plot can be drag in some places, especially in training the young soldiers, there were moments you wished the director and script writer, who was the author Orson Scott Card himself, spent some time on the ‘capture-the-flag’ game that the cadets played. It was such a fun game to watch you kind of wished for some more games and Ender’s quick movement up the ranks seemed a bit like they were fast-forwarding the movie.

I was disappointed with the generic alien race, which looks like oversized cockroaches and a lot of other alien movies. However, this is somewhat redeemed through Ender’s attempts to understand his perceived enemy which try to make them more than just bloodthirsty invaders.

This is not a sci-fi CGI fest, although it has some beautiful war scenes, and I would not advise the movie if you are in the mood to relax and enjoy some explosions and spaceships. It’s a deep-thinking movie that will pull you into the themes, especially violence and children, and its effects on society.

Not a brilliant movie, with many gaping holes especially when it comes to Ender’s family, but definitely surprisingly apt at sending its message.

Go watch it with your teenagers (although I think the general theme will fly past the head of anyone under 13) as it will give them a better perception next time you have a fight over another violent video game.

This is not a game.

Janet Benn 2013/12/17 1:07 PM
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It was good - ending was missing something
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