In the not too distant future, in a galaxy not at all far away, there was a young boy who was called upon to save his universe and all the people he cares about. With the support of his sister, he is able to muster up the courage to defeat an enemy he doesn’t quite understand and face a foe he didn’t expect. Also, Harrison Ford plays a combat-ready, emotionally hardened fighter. Sound familiar?
Even with the controversy surrounding the author of the novel, Orson Scott Card, and his bigoted views, this film fails to deliver anything past a base sci-fi action that at the lowest level at least entertains, but leaves you hungry for something more intellectual.
After a near alien takeover of Earth, the governments of the world put together a program where they take the smartest children of the world and train them to be high-ranking tacticians, skilled enough to lead an army. Ender is the youngest of three children, who has been put into this mandatory program, and is the only to make it to the next tier of the program. He is essentially forced to grow up through this program, all while struggling to figure out for himself what it truly right and wrong. It falls to him alone to save the world and defeat the seemingly looming threat of invasion, but is the cost too high?
As a typical science fiction, adventure film, Ender’s Game is passable. There is nothing all too noteworthy. Sure it follows all the usual rules a film about space and aliens requires, but it misses the mark on originality. That is a shame too considering how cerebral and provocative the source material was. The only thought I had while watching the film was why is the acting so stiff when the cast is full of Oscar nominees and winners.
Dumbing down the source material and turning this film into another trite, wanna-be blockbuster was the worst thing this film could have done. No amount of zero-gravity acrobatics and CGI could replace how banal the story is told. The only thing the film really had going for it was the near-existential questioning of morality, and even that came off as an underwhelming after school special.
To my surprise though, as a whole, the film was a solid, average, watchable film directed by Gavin Hood. If you’re wondering why I was so surprised, you should also know that the previous film he directed was X-Men Origins – Wolverine. Now you will understand that me saying Ender’s Game is a big improvement from his previous film should not be considered a compliment.
Ender’s Game can best be compared to a child star. Sure, the child has a very promising future at the beginning, but after a series of bad choices and corrupted views, you end up wanting to read about them more than you actually enjoy seeing them on a screen.
RATING: ★★★★(4/10 stars)
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