The way you win matters – An Ender’s Game Review

Ender's Game Poster

Ender’s Game, based off the first book in the hit series of the same name, has gotten mixed reviews from critics. After watching the movie, I’m not entirely sure why.

Ender’s Game is a science fiction story set 50 years after a failed invasion of Earth by an alien race known as Formics. Ender is a gifted boy being trained to lead the armies of Earth if the Formics should ever return. Will he rise up to the challenge, or fail, as many others have before?

The Good

  • Great effects
  • Asa Butterfield delivers a great performance as Ender Wiggins
  • Interesting story
  • Emotionally packed, but is quite “heavy” with very few uplifting moments to counteract the serious nature of the film
  • Gavin Hood makes up for the disaster that was Wolverine: Origins

The OK

  • Interesting relationship between the sympathetic Major Gwen Anderson (Viola Davis) and the no-matter-the-cost Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford), but I would love to have seen more of this
  • Certain things seem a bit rushed, but I guess this was done to keep the movie’s length reasonable

The Bad

  • Nothing wrong with the movie itself, but a lot of people are complaining that it lacks the complexity of the books, which may be the case, but this on its own doesn’t make it a bad film

Movie Opinion

Ender’s Game has just managed to squeak through as Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 65%. When I was getting ready to go watch the last show on Sunday morning I was thinking of maybe giving it a skip because of these mixed reviews. I’m glad I didn’t because I really enjoyed the movie. A lot of the dislike for the film seems to be coming from critics who’ve read the book, and as someone who hasn’t read the book I must say that the film is pretty damn good.

It seems that the two major criticisms are the changes from the book (of which there have apparently been quite a few) and the lack of  time used to ensure character development.

Again, as someone who hasn’t seen the book, the story worked for me. There’s depth to the plot which deals with issues such as bullying, ostracisation, and the purpose of violence. Each of the characters had their purpose in the story and they played it out well.

I do somewhat agree that the movie did feel a bit rushed. This film does have a “ticking time bomb” plot device which helps cover this up to a certain degree, but it would have been nice to see a bit more of the relationships between certain characters.

One of the other minor issues is that some of the supporting child actors weren’t so great.

Overall though these issues aren’t enough to bring the film down for me. I really loved Ender’s character, as I felt I had a lot in common with him. He’s highly intelligent, highly empathic, but also understands that violence has a purpose in life. He’s not happy to hurt people but he will do so if necessary. The story may have been a bit rushed but it hit (or at very least touched) all the right notes. As someone who hasn’t read the book, I really enjoyed it. If you’ve read the book, leave your expectations at the door and you’ll probably enjoy the film as well.


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