Ender's Game - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Ender's Game Reviews

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MANUGINO
Super Reviewer
December 3, 2013
This is not a game.

Good Movie! Despite all the odds, Ender's Game winds up as a very good movie that just barely misses on being a great one. Perhaps the films biggest strength is its production design, the technical team did an outstanding job of bringing the environments of the battle school to life, the zero gravity combat scenes being some of the films biggest highlights. It's not all perfect however, there is a little problem with some of the heavy exposition dumps in the film. Plus a couple of the actors (most notably Viola Davis) seem lost and don't know what kind of movie they're supposed to be doing. The biggest problem with Ender's Game is the incredibly fast pace, which isn't an immediate issue, but a lot of story and character development suffers. Overall though, this film was worth the long gestation period. It delivers more than we had a right to expect. Orson Scott Card may be homophobic but the powerful message at the heart of this film says much more than the average Hollywood film is capable of delivering.

The Earth was ravaged by the Formics, an alien race seemingly determined to destroy humanity. Seventy years later, the people of Earth remain banded together to prevent their own annihilation from this technologically superior alien species. Ender Wiggin, a quiet but brilliant boy, may become the savior of the human race. He is separated from his beloved sister and his terrifying brother and brought to battle school in orbit around earth. He will be tested and honed into an empathetic killer who begins to despise what he does as he learns to fight in hopes of saving Earth and his family.
Super Reviewer
½ November 5, 2013
Meaningless with little thought to bigger issues. Really not acted or executed well. I'd prefer watching a rerun of Star Wars. Also, the fact that the story was written by the anti-equality NOM man Card makes the film unworthy of the time of fair-minded audiences.
ajaymuthecooldevils
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2014
A great story with great cast but such a waste since the execution didn't turn out to be a perfect one.. Given a wonderful cast such as Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Sir Ben Kingsley and all you can make is a decent movie?? Well there's definitely something wrong here.. For the story itself, I think they could write a better script since the ending quite disappointing for me.. Overall, it's still a nice movie to be watched with family and it's quite entertaining, but too bad it could have been a great one..
skactopus
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2014
Gavin Hood's Ender's Game is science fiction simplicity.The film feels shorter than its 110 minute run time; not that it's edge of the seat exciting, but more due to the hastened pace of the story. The storytelling isn't choppy; however, there is definitely more to be explored when it comes to the plot details. The ending is also anticlimactic, leaving a feeling of unfulfillment.The sci-f concept and the high use of effects deliver a visual delight, thus partially making up for the film's shortcomings.Like the hasty pace, the characters lack depth in detail, although the actor's performances are acceptable. Asa Butterfield has a voice that lacks range, while Abigail Breslin is highly underused. Hailee Steinfeld and Ben Kingsley are pleasant surprises.Ender's Game isn't perfect, yet it is more than an average sci-fi picture. If there is time to spare, then feel free to play the game.
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2014
Ender's Game starts off with promise, but by the end, we're left with an oversimplified, rushed, and underwhelming adaptation of one of the greatest science fiction novles of all time. Gavin Hood takes another step back from his Tsotsi days as a director-for-hire on a project that shouldn't even exist to begin with.
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2014
First and foremost, I'm not a big sci-fi fan. I do enjoy some sci-fi movies, but overall, the genre isn't really my favorite. I like alien invasion movies, but movies that deal more with intergalactic drama, more times than not doesn't work for me. So, I know a lot of people that really like "Ender's Game", so I figured I'd give it a shot on the ole Vudu. While it's not a bad movie, it's not a movie that really stands out for me. It's about a Colonel(Harrison Ford) who enlists a brilliant young boy named Ender(Asa Butterfield) to join his fleet. Humans are at war with aliens and he believes Ender can win the war. It starts off pretty slow, but it does pick up and gets better as it goes. The effects are good(expect the aliens, I thought they looked kinda cheap). I've had more than a few people talk about the ending saying things like "it's crazy!" and "I didn't see that coming!" It's a good ending, but to me got more of a "that was cool" than an "OMG" reaction. Do I hope for sequels? Sure, why not? If this continues into a franchise, I'm sure it could grow into something better. But as a standalone movie, it was about average to me. But, to anyone that really likes it, that is awesome, I'm happy for you. Because I can totally see why people would love it. But for someone who isn't in love with the genre, I wasn't like head over heels. One more quick think, Asa Butterfield is an amazing young actor. Between this and "Hugo" that kid has a bright future! Check it out and let me know what you think of it.
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2013
I think this was an interesting premise but I felt disappointing and wanting more. I just don't think a film is that commendable if it doesn't feel satisfying.
Super Reviewer
½ February 4, 2014
Yep its another film adaptation of a book, and this one sounds weird doesn't it...Ender's Game, what kind of name is Ender?. No I haven't read the book so I can't compare obviously, but I will say straight off the bat that this film did sound very much like a swish version of the old movie 'WarGames'.

So in the year 2086 aliens attack the Earth, ravage it but get beaten by the heroics of a bunch of jet fighter pilots (no doubt US ones) and one specific pilot called Ben Kingsley. We see this at the start in a lovely 'Independence Day' rip off which really really does look and feel like a complete rip off right down to how one human manages to bring down the alien mothership. He flies his jet into the ship...yep that's it, he crashes his jet into the underside of it and that somehow manages to completely tear it apart. Wow, after all that time fighting all they had to do was smash a jet into it.

Fifty years later and the human race now depends on young children to defend the world against further alien attacks. Yes the powers that be have decided that the worlds smartest scroats, that have been raised on...errr videogames, are the best chance for human survival in the future. So all those hours playing Grand Theft Auto will finally pay off for you it this universe. So all these super gaming kids get sent to a strict military space camp where they are trained a whole lot of military crap that doesn't seem to have any remote use for what they are gonna be doing at the end of the day which is commanding massive fleets like a videogame.

Yes this film had me thinking, why are all these kids being taught how to shoot each other in big zero G war games? why are they being run into the ground like a common grunt? why are they being taught martial arts and self defense?. At the end of the day none of that, in my view, will be of any use when it comes to commanding these fleets...like videogames. The whole thing just felt so bizarre, the fact the world relies on prepubescent kids in the first place, kids that seem to crack easily quite understandably and all that film time based on those pointless zero G war games. Yeah so the training gets them tough OK, but end of the day they're still only using a large touch screen monitor.

Essentially this entire film is all about watching this one sulky kid getting trained because Harrison Ford thinks he's 'the one' (haven't seen that before). That's it! that's all it is! just glossy looking videogaming and training with lots of pomp and emotional musical scores which fail to evoke any emotion because he's only playing flippin' videogames and training!. Oh and can't forget about the obligatory bullying of the new kid, gotta have that training camp bullying. It all looks fantastically slick and shiny no doubt, can't fault the visuals at all just like all modern films, it looks superb. But the film is so utterly dull and pointless and it doesn't even explain anything like why do these aliens attack Earth in the first place. Also these aliens are actually large bugs, overgrown locust looking bugs (Starship Troopers novel much?), they don't have hands fingers or thumbs of any kind. So how in the hell do they manage to even build spacecraft let alone fly them like some kind of divine air Gods. These ships actually manoeuvre like small flying bugs, zipping around in massive cloud-like swarms, its insane!. Daft thing is the human ships do the same thing too! they perform moves that would render 'Han Solo' and 'Pete Mitchell' lost for words.

What made me laugh was the fact that when Ender fudges up his training missions both Ford and Kingsley's characters berate him like no ones business! yeah that will help him sheesh!. I dunno what think of this film I really don't, the acting by the adults is limp with Ford merely growling all the time and Kingsley slipping in and out of his Kiwi accent. The Maori tattoos on his face are pretty much just there to give him a more interesting look, otherwise he'd just be another grumpy officer. The kids do all act pretty well I can't deny, although Butterfield as Ender does grate with his pouting face and whining.

I can't say much about the finale without giving it away but it did catch me out I'll admit, didn't see that twist. So I must give kudos for that, after which the plot does get more interesting as Ender does kinda go native with the bugs, but then it ends so that sucked. Seems to me that the next chapter is more interesting than the stuff we just had to sit through. So don't go expecting lots of futuristic space battles and bug zapping cos you ain't gonna get it folks. No bug hunts here I'm afraid, just lots of tedious military war games explained to you via lots of fast talking incomprehensible futuristic military space jargon.
Super Reviewer
November 17, 2013
If "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars" had a baby, this would be the miracle that they birthed. "Ender's Game" is in no way a classic that those films are, nor will it ever become one, but it is a blast to watch and it has very loveable characters. With a unique sci-fi twist of a story, a group of kids are brought into space to be trained in a school to fight in the galactic war. One student, Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), has a brain that is far superior than the others which is why he constantly get's promoted. This film is much more fun than it should be. With high tech gadgets that are actually believable, a story that will please audiences of all ages, a cast that works great together, and a great twist that will really make you re-think reality, "Ender's Game" is one of the better popcorn flicks of 2013. It's nowhere near a great film, but it's too damn fun to pass up. Highly recommend "Ender's Game," especially to those who were sceptical, because the movie offers much more than you see. Well worth the ticket price!
FiLmCrAzY
Super Reviewer
November 11, 2013
The backwards and forwards of this movie is enough to bore you very quickly, with the epic battle your promised, your left feeling completely and utterly disappointed...maybe a good stepping stone into what might lead onto an epic thrill ride, but for a stand alone film it quickly lost my interest and will power to continue watching.
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2013
It's a good Sci Fi movie, but with so many blockbusters in the genre lately you can't help but feel this whole thing takes place in an underdeveloped universe.

Hood also does a very subpar job handling the passage of time, whether it was through a misuse of montage or the inability to show Ender age throw careful SFX/makeup I can't help but feel the whole thing took place within the span of a couple of weeks.

Then there's the throw-away supporting cast. Other than Petra (and possibly his sister) all supporting characters were largely forgettable despite the use of working archetypes.

With all that said, it boasts an interesting story and with the multiple clans in the training room you almost get a "Sci Fi Harry Potter" effect with the franchise that tweens may enjoy. Although the zero-G skirmishes between the clans did end up feeling rather arbitrary to preparing them to be flawless commanders. The effort to make it seem relevant in the end was almost a stretch.
TheDudeLebowski65
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2013
Based on Orson Scott Card's book of the same name, Ender's Game is a terrific Sci Fi action with a cast of impressive actors. I own the book, but haven't read it, so I'm just going to review the film. I had mixed feelings about this one when I originally saw the trailer. However I was pleasantly surprised at the result. This is a visually stunning action film that is effectively acted and directed. Although it has its fair share of flaws, the film is redeemed by a great lead performance by Asa Butterfield, who previously starred in Hugo. Another surprising performance is that of Harrison Ford. The story is well constructed and will satisfy anyone looking for a highly engaging picture that will keep you involved from the first frame onward. For what it is, Ender's Game is a stunning piece of work, one that uses a simple concept, but is elevated by good performances, a well crafted script and awesome visuals. The film takes time to take off, but once the story unfolds, the film really takes off, and really is an exhilarating spectacle. This film was a surprise, and I didn't think it was going to be as good as it is, but overall this is a well crafted film that has plenty of memorable moments. Even if at times there are a few parts that could have been improved upon, Ender's Game is one of the most surprising films of the year. If you're looking for a fine action Sci Fi film, then give it a shot. I can compare the book to the film, but for what I've seen here is a very good film that will certainly appeal to viewers that enjoy a good Sci Fi action adventure.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2013
What it wants, this intergalactic tale of us versus them, is to be be associated with expressions such as "epic!" and "awesome!". To this end Harrison Ford's presence has been got, a reminder of another intergalactic of which he played a small part, now ushering in a new generation as it were, Hans Solo passing the baton, and he does well here. The young director charges his actors to amp up the emotion in every scene and the young cast does its best though not given a real chance to connect. All in all not a bad first installment to another in the space opera canon.
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2013
The film adaptation of "Ender's Game" vividly illustrates many of the books cool concepts, but the thing that separates the story from other sci-fi plots is also its biggest detriment: the kids. While Steinfeld and Butterfield have both proven themselves talented actors, the script makes even their dialogue sound stilted, and its much worse for the less-talented kids. Unlike the book, which really depicted an Earth in desperation, it simply does not feel believable enough that the human race would be put in the hands of children. The effects may be pretty cool, and the film is impressively cast, but "Ender's Game" squeezes too much and ends up delivering too little.
zach l.
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2013
Ender's Game offers a few good set pieces and action scenes but ultimately feels a bit cheesy and overwhelmed by its "teenage" cast.
c0up
Super Reviewer
½ November 3, 2013
'Ender's Game". Dark, a well-acted ensemble, unexpectedly badass at times. Asa Butterfield is great! Entertaining, if imperfect.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2013
Honestly I know more about Ender's Game thanks to the swirling rabble about boycotting the film thanks to author Orson Scott Card's homophobic personal views. I didn't even know this book existed until I heard about the movie. With my cloud of ignorance, as well as some lingering worries that the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was at the helm of this expensive would-be franchise, I was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining I found the movie. It's set in a future where children are culled and trained to be super soldiers against an alien race that has been in seclusion after a failed invasion of Earth. The emphasis is on strategy and manipulating your opponent, which leads to many military training sequences. At one point I wondered, "Is this whole story going to be training sequences and zero-gravity laser tag?" It's not, thankfully, but even those sequences are fun. Writer/director Gavin Hood does an excellent job of fleshing out this world while giving enough time in between the games to also flesh out his ragtag group of characters. There's something inherently satisfying to watching a team come together, and the film has plenty of small payoffs. The visuals are astounding to soak up. The zero gravity fun, backlit by the stars, is dazzling. The acting is strong across the board, with special appreciation that Harrison Ford has a good role that he's actually well suited for. The pacing does start to slag toward the third act, mostly because the plot feels like an escalating series of games, until it's not. There's a measured degree of ethical ambiguity and contemplation to the film that's admirable. Whether you plan on boycotting Ender's Game or not, it's a successful, thrilling, and visually engaging sci-fi flick that deserves to be seen at some point.

Nate's Grade: B+
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