Movie Reviews

Published on November 1st, 2013 | by gareth


Ender’s Game

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

plausibly dangerous.


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.

About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”.He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show.He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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