Running Time:1 hour 54 minutes
Adapted from the classic Sci-Fi novel of the same name, Ender's Game puts us in a future where the human race was nearly wiped out after an alien race known as the Formics launched a full scale attack in the hopes of colonizing our planet. The brave actions of a lone fighter pilot turned the tide of the battle and the humans were able to drive the Formics back to their home world. In an effort to keep the planet safe from future attacks, the nations of Earth have banded together to create a military force that is constantly preparing for the next time the Formics attack. The best and brightest children are sent to military academies from a very young age and trained to be the next generation of commanders because of their ability to process information quickly and adapt to the enemy's tactics. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) has emerged as a prodigy and the director of the children's training program, Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford), is convinced that Ender is destined to lead the final battle against the Formics. Time and time again Ender proves his tactical genius during the training and war games, but as the pressure intensifies, Colonel Graff worries that Ender will will crack under the stress and fail when the fate of the world is on his young shoulders.
I really enjoyed Ender's Game. I hadn't read the book, so I was able to judge the film on its own merits and I thought it was visually spectacular and had a very good story. The fact that they place children in a very serious and regimented military environment but allow their childlike wonder shine through when they experience zero-gravity for the first time, juxtaposed with showing their cutthroat tactical focus during their war games is a very compelling way to draw in the audience.
The adults in the cast give the film a very good foundation to build on with good turns from Harrison Ford, ViolaDavis, Ben Kingsley and Nonso Anozie. The adults have to strike a delicate balance as military commanders whose charges aren't just soldiers, but also children, and you are able so see the conflict in the adults as they push these children past their mental and physical limits. Where the movie really makes the move from good to great is in the casting of the younger actors. Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Aramis Knight and Moises Arias are all excellent in this movie with Butterfield in particular embodying Ender with a cold intensity while maintaining an undercurrent of emotional vulnerability that makes sure you never forget that he is a child. This is a very thoughtful and intelligent story and it is told very well, so if you are looking for a great, escapist experience at the movies, you should go see Ender's Game. B+
A classic Sci-Fi novel, Ender's Game, was once considered un-filmable, but thankfully modern CGI and animation have allowed this brilliant book to come to life. I have always been a fan of the novel, and I worried about how the filmmakers would be able to show the delicate emotional states of the children with the war training they are receiving. Director, Gavin Hood, managed to strike a careful balance between these two ideas with a compelling and thrilling intensity. At a brisk 1 hour and 54 minutes there doesn't feel like an extra second at all in the film. As a fan of the novel, I wished that Ender's siblings would have been included in the film in a more significant way. I love their secondary storyline in the book--although including it would have made for a much longer movie. I agree with Scott, the acting was superb, and I was most impressed by the emotional range of Butterfield and Steinfeld. There two rising stars have been fantastic in their previous roles and I can't wait to see as they mature as actors. Even if you aren't a big fan of Sci-Fi, the movie is interesting, intelligent and well-paced. A-