FILM REVIEW: “Ender’s Game”

Review by Galen Garner

On Friday night, I went to see Ender’s Game and I feel as though I left the movie with less than I went into it with. For those that are unaware, Ender’s Game is the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel. Why exactly was I lost?

My belief is that I should be able to go into a movie adapted from a novel and have no knowledge whatsoever of the book’s original content. That is the reason that I am seeing the movie. I want to know what happens in the general storyline without having to care what happened in the book. J.K. Rowling nailed this with the Harry Potter series, but Ender’s Game fell short by light years.

Ender’s Game is the story of a young teenage boy named Ender (Asa Butterfield) that has a very innate ability for devising advanced military strategies. He is believed to be the “chosen one” to save Earth from the invading armies of giant space bugs called The Formics. Ender excels quickly in his training and is taken under the wing of Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford).

Being chosen, means that Ender has the chance to join other advanced mind teenagers on a giant training space station outside of Earth’s orbit where he will participate in war games. While this is a great concept, this is also where Ender’s Game quickly started heading to a dead end. Characters in this movie are introduced so quickly and have such limited dialogue that there is no relationship that is really established in the plot.

While training in outer space, Colonel Graff receives a countdown notification of a threat from the Formics that will likely end life on Earth. This accelerates the training of Ender and quickly he is found leading his own squad. When I say lead I am referring to him yelling out commands and waving his hands around like a maestro in an orchestra. While leading, he is actually controlling a drone army that attacks from afar.

I mentioned lack of relationship building, but what this movie also lacks is a believable timeline. Ender is a teenage boy with advanced knowledge. I understand that, but what I don’t understand is how over the course of one hour (or maybe a few weeks in the movie) he is the admiral of the entire Earth’s army. Ender’s final training responsibility is to lead a simulated attack on the Formics planet in which he actually destroys the entire race.

Without knowing, Ender was actually tricked by Colonel Graff and the other leaders to lead a real attack on the Formics. His response is nothing short of a major temper tantrum and he storms off into the wilderness of the vacated planet from which the attack was led. While wandering in his pity, Ender turns upon a last surviving queen of the Formics that passes on a bug egg for Ender to protect.

The acting is subpar and the IMAX experience definitely needed to be in 3D. The graphics were too amazing to not be enjoyed in the 3D experience. Harrison Ford is easily the most redeeming part of Ender’s Game and it only makes me anticipate even more the opportunity to see him reprise his role as Han Solo in 2015.

Ender’s Game had great potential, but had a very cliché feel that mixed The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. The intended audience for this movie is absolutely young teens, but the average adult that has read the book will probably also enjoy this movie. I’m glad that I received a free pass to see this movie because I would have been highly disappointed if I had spent my own money. Therefore, I give this movie a BORED!


Follow Galen Garner on Twitter:  @bamaredsox

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