Published on November 1st, 2013 | by gareth0
We have two review for you.
By Joseph K. Saulnier
When I first heard they were making a movie from one of my favorite books of years past, I was a bit
nervous. How could they fit so much information into one movie, without it turning into a 6-hour trip
into [Orson Scott] Card’s universe? Then I started to think about how much I actually remembered from
the book, and thought that it was about time that I pick it up again to refresh myself before the release
of this much anticipated film. But wait. This, I decided, was not the best approach to this. I wanted to
watch this film, and then present to you a review from the point of view of someone who has not read
the book, or that it’s been so long since you read the book that you basically forgot all the major plot
points of the movie.
Ender’s Game is the story of Andrew Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), and young boy who was a third-
born child into an age when populace control was in full effect. He is growing up in a time of recovery
for earth after having miraculously surviving an attack from the Formic, an alien species attempting to
colonize planet Earth. Earth is trying to mount an offensive on the Formic before they have the chance
to attack again and completely destroy the human race. Humans have taken to training children to be
commanders of their intergalactic fleet as they have the power to think quicker, and formulize strategy
Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) sees Ender as the savior of the human race and the one who can save it all.
He recruits Ender into battle school and oversees his movement through the ranks as Ender gains allies
and friends in Petra (Hailee Steinfeld), Bean (Aramis Knight) and Alai (Suraj Partha); all while worrying
about the safety and state-of-mind of his sister Valentine (Abigail Breslin). But, is Ender the brilliant
young mind that Graff thinks he is?
From a newcomer’s perspective, this movie was great. The story was actually captivating, seemed
to move along at a good (if somewhat swift) pace. The film is also very visually appealing and takes a
somewhat different approach to what we are used to seeing when people enter space, zero-gravity,
school and even battles.
The acting was superb as well with veterans such as Ben Kingsley coming late into the movie as one of
Ender’s instructors, and of course Harrison Ford does an outstanding job. But the real surprise here was
Asa Butterfield, who is virtual unknown.
He took the title role and really made it his own and did so in
such a convincing manner that you would think that this character was written for him (despite having
been realized about 13 years before his birth. I only wish we would have seen more from Abigail Breslin
as she has always impressed me in movies, and she does no less in her brief moments on screen here.
Now, as someone who has read the book before, I do have to agree with a statement my friend made
after we finished our screening.
This movie was really more of an overview of Ender’s Game, rather
than a retelling of the story as it should be. But it is understandable. There is just so much in this epic
tale that, as I mentioned earlier, we would have had to have a movie that was upwards of 6-7 hours.
They also made some changes from the page to the screen that I, and my friend, are not sure how we
felt about them… though we do understand why they were made. But overall, the film was still very
enjoyable and it was great to see certain things come to life (including the mind game).
Now for the elephant in the room. Many people have stated their intention on the internet to not see
the movie because of the book’s author’s point of view on a certain hot subject in the political world
these days. Many do not wish to support him and put money in his pocket as a result. But let me
remind you of something. Orson Scott Card has already been paid. The studio has already given him his
money and he has it, regardless of whether you see the movie or not. So I implore you, do not deprive
yourself of seeing this film because of one man’s beliefs (no matter what yours may be). You are not
supporting him or putting money in his pocket, but rather you are supporting a studio who saw fit to
take an excellent story and put it on the silver screen so that it may reach a bigger/wider audience. You
will not regret this movie, and may even be surprised by its message.
For me, this movie rocked and I definitely plan on seeing it again with friends that I couldn’t take with
me to the screening. Do yourself a favor, put your feelings towards the author of the book aside
(whatever they may be) and go check this out. You won’t regret it.
4 stars out of 5
By James Sabata
Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) is a child, chosen by an
international military to save the world from annihilation at
the hands of an alien species known as The Formics. The
military launches a pre-emptive strike on The Formics, believing
the aliens will attack Earth as they had done fifty years
earlier. Ender endures multiple training facilities with battle
simulations as he learns to become the military leader they wish
him to be. Along the way, Ender comes to see the enemy as
something else entirely.
With Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Abigail Breslin, Ben
Kingsley, and Viola Davis, Ender’s Game is not short on talent.
Each actor fully commits to his/her part, making it that much
more believable. This may well be a defining role for
Butterfield, who shines as the lead character. Ben Kingsley’s
attempt at an Australian accent isn’t the best ever, but it is
believable enough and serves as a reminder that this is an
international military, not just one from the United States.
Ford’s turn at Colonel Graff provides just enough rugged cowboy
for the authority figure and makes him interesting, fun, and
There are times Ford’s performance feels
almost outdated compared to those around him, but in this
instance, it strengthens the credibility of the performance,
showing how out of date Graff’s style is comparatively.
The special effects were brilliant in this movie. While
there is nothing new that hasn’t been done in any other movie,
there is a cohesion between the special effects and regular
filming that I find lacking in many films. At no time did I
feel like I was watching actors in front of a green screen. It
was just that real.
One of the biggest problems with translating a novel onto
the big screen is knowing which parts need to be cut. While
almost every screenplay adapted from a novel is labeled with
“The book was so much better,” this is one situation where I
personally feel the opposite is true. Not everyone will feel
this way, but I really enjoyed the movie as a whole and did not
miss any of the side stories cut for the theatrical version of
this story. If anything, it made the story much more enjoyable
to me. The one downside to this is that it will be a lot harder
to make sequels that flow as well as the books do. The set up
for those sequels is completely missing.
Ender’s game gives us a world where bullies can be
defeated, nerds can be the cool kids, characters move through
life by literally leveling up, and adults turn to children in
times of crisis to save them. The true magic lies in the fact
that they managed to give us this world in such a believable
4 out of 5.