Ender's Game

Per Matt
If life was a video game, then Ender’s Game is destined to become our future.

In the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s award-winning novel, humanity’s survival is at risk after suffering catastrophic losses to an alien race known as the Formics. The International Fleet was formed, tasked with combatting these Buggers and their solution: Draft the world’s smartest children and enlist them into battle. The children have no pre-conceived notions of war, but their intuitiveness, decisiveness and fearlessness give them an advantage over life-long soldiers.

Enter Ender Wiggin. The youngest of three siblings, Ender receives a personal visit by Colonel Hyram Graff after defeating a local school bully. and enlists in outer space Battle School boot camp.

The Colonel keeps an eye on all his trainees tiny surveillance cameras, scattered among the space station. Ender receives a promotion after defeating a particular video game that unfairly plays with his emotions… but nothing’s ever fair on the battlefield. His brilliance lies within his improvisational battle plans and tactical knowledge, but constantly questioning authority gets him into trouble.

In a final graduation test, Ender leads Dragon Army (a battalion of misfits) in an important battle simulation that has steep consequences, should he fail.

Ender’s Game encapsulates a futuristic world and at times, veers into too many genres. Is this a Young Adult drama, science-fiction fantasy or an epic military battle?

The entire budget of Ender’s Game seems to have been spent on all the CGI of the film. Watching the movie, fittingly, feels like watching a video game. Asa Butterfield is acceptable as Ender, but his surrounding cast if filled with award-winning talent. Oscar-winner Ben Kingsley appears as Earth’s previous savior, returned from the grave and Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld is one of Ender’s biggest supporters. But Ender’s Game is basically Harrison Ford’s chance to get back into the good graces of sci-fi fans everywhere.

There was a time when Harrison Ford wouldn’t appear in any science-fiction fantasy tales. But now that he’s older and his past handful of films have flopped, he’s returned to the genre that made him famous. His grizzled war veteran, who often pushes Ender too far, steals every scene as both the protagonist and antagonist, often simultaneously.

I try to stay as spoiler-free as possible, so I didn’t listen to my Ender’s Game audio book or read anything whatsoever about the movie… so I actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit. But with the political controversy surrounding Orson Scott Card and the movie’s box-office fizzle, there’s most likely not going to be any sequels any time soon, and that’s a shame. I’d love to see this group of actors return for an epic battle in outer space. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in Ender’s Game.

Strength: A video game masked as a movie.
Weakness: Difficult to get emotionally attached to a video game-like movie.
WTF Moment: A possible Easter Egg is the 3-D imaging of the Formic planet, looking like the Death Star.

Notable Quotes:
– “This won’t hurt a bit.”
– “The Fleet owns you, Ender.”
– “I will be remembered as a killer!”
– “What happens when it’s no longer a game?”
– “He must never believe anyone will help him.”
– “With this victory, you’ve won all future battles.”
– “Just remember what I do to people who try to hurt me.”
– “We destroy the planet, we destroy the queens. Game over.”
– “There’s a chance, because of you, the Formics will leave us alone, forever.”

Review: 3/5