11 June 2014

Movie Review: "Ender's Game"

Rated: PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action, and thematic material
Starring: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, and Hailee Steinfeld
Released: November 1, 2013 (theaters) / February 11, 2014 (DVD / Blu-Ray)
Fifty years ago, the Earth was decimated by the Formics, an alien species.  The war wouldn't have been won if it hadn't been for the actions of Mazer Rackham, a pilot who has since become a legend.  Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), like most kids of his generation, has been attending a school designed to make kids into commanders.  His sister, Valentine (Abigail Breslin), failed out because she was too compassionate; his brother, Peter, did the same because he was too brash.  Noticing Ender to be a combination of the two of them, Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) offers him a place at a boot-camp-style Battle School.  Ender and the other cadets train for war...but is war really the best answer?
Based on the novel by Orson Scott Card.

My Review
Some years ago, I was urged to read the book Ender's Game by a friend who insisted I would love it...but I didn't.  Though the core story was entertaining, all of the bullying and name-calling made it hard to finish.  This film adaptation dials down on the latter, but the former is quite present, making this film almost as difficult to get through.  Not are there some rather cruel acts that the kids perform on each other, but a few crude allusions--such as the only girl in a squad saying she has "more balls" than the rest of them--made this film a bit too crass for my tastes.  The special effects were great, but that no longer makes a film outstanding anymore.  (Spoiler Warning!) The ending of the movie really upset me...but I think that's the whole point.  For Ender to think that he is merely playing a game, when he is actually doing a real battle and destroys an entire planet as a result...that was serious betrayal, and, if I were Ender, I'd have been upset, too.  He was told that they won the war, but, really, there were no winners...and that's usually the way it is with war. (End Spoilers!) Frankly, this movie and the book that inspired it are space operas I can do without.

Score: 2.5/5

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