Ender’s Game

{4.5/5} “There’s too much at stake to let your unfiltered thoughts leave this station.”

It’s the future. A race known as the Formics attacked Earth but Earth eventually defeated them. Another war is inevitable, so children with great tactical minds are taken to the orbiting Battle School to have their skills honed. A brilliant tactician named Mazer Rackham was responsible for defeating the Formics the first time, and the International Fleet is looking for another such person. When Colonel Graff finds Ender Wiggin, he hopes that he’ll be the one.

Ender’s Game, released in 2013

It’s based on the novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card. It’s one of my all-time favourite books, which I would put in my list of 10 best science fiction novels. I was a bit apprehensive about the movie because much of the book is about what Ender is thinking and because some other book to movie adaptations have fared not so well.

In adapting a novel to the screen you have to cut out a bunch of stuff, so of course that’s what happens here. But Gavin Hood, the writer and director, did a great job with his adaptation. He cuts out subplots and streamlines the main story, giving you hints about how to fill in the gaps. Could anyone have done a better adaptation, creating a 5/5 movie? Possibly. Orson Scott Card wrote a screenplay, and I’d be interested in reading it.

The special effects are terrific. In complex battles it’s sometimes tough to follow exactly what’s going on — a common complaint, and perhaps inevitable.

One of the main things that sells what’s happening in the movie is the acting. In particular, the acting of the kids in the Battle School — Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, and the others. Abigail Breslin only has two or three scenes but manages to convince you that she is important to Ender.

It’s about friendship, leadership, and trying to do the right thing.

It felt a tiny bit rushed. I would have preferred more time spent with Ender and his team in Battle School.

It’s been a while since I read the book. The movie’s faithful adaptation reminded me of it, and I will undoubtedly read it again at some point. If you want a fuller, richer version of the story I encourage you to read the book.

If you watch the movie without reading the book, I’m not sure you’ll understand why this is one of my all-time favourite books — for that, you’ll have to read the book yourself.

The music is by Steve Jablonsky (The Island) — it’s OK but didn’t really stand out.

Asa Butterfield (Hugo) plays Ender and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) plays Petra. Abigail Breslin (Janie Jones) plays Valentine, Ender’s sister.

Harrison Ford (42) plays Colonel Graff and Viola Davis (The Help) plays Major Anderson. Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3) plays Mazer Rackham.

The movie was directed by Gavin Hood (Rendition).

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 at 11:05 am and is filed under Reviews of movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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