Ender's Game Reviews
A veteran Ford gives a well-rounded performance as the serious and harsh colonel. Here's when Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) comes into play. Ender is a shy, but highly intelligent, young boy who joins the elite in command school. Graff sees Ender's potential and wants him to succeed. Butterfield does a brilliant job showing us Ender's strengths and weaknesses throughout the film. Ender has a hard time fitting in with the other students and is bullied through most of the film. Worth mentioning are other well-acted performances by Steinfeld as Ender's friend Petra, Breslin as Ender's sister, Davis as Major Gwen Anderson and Kingsley (whose character I will not spoil for you).
All of them bring energy and spirit to help give balance to the film. One of the many allegories presented in this film is should the International Military wait for the Formics to attack or launch its own strike first. The film's sets are similar to a video game. The kids call the shots and engage in zero gravity war games. Many fans of the novel will be pleased with this version and excited for more to come. Ender's Game is set up nicely as a first chapter thanks to its veteran cast as well as new faces.
When we see we cant come close next time to not being prepared and it all ending that we need to make others see the path to fighting a new type of war. When we see its a different kind of war up in space when we face elements that we dont normally see to get through to face the next challenge in battle. When we see that only the smart and capable are chosen when we are limited to who can fight. When we see we built our battlefield in preparation for the next fight. When we see others are far more smarter in solving puzzles and challenges that they not only complete smart challenges but emotional challenges. When we see they are ready to face each challenge by seeing the challenges others dont see to be ready to solve them before they slow us or prevent us from fighting. When we see the brave sacrifice made by others to now take their place, when we see everything takes baby steps in what we are not used to. When we see we built such training grounds for each element that is faced. When we see what we see at a young age we put into good use when what we simulate in games we do in real life. When we see that we must study our enemies weakness and strengthens to know how to defeat them. When what others see first hand we cant see what they see to know what to expect. When we try to provide all that is required in seeing to get others ready when any moment when we least see it coming we can be throughen into battle. When we see what others intend for us to see to know it unlocks the answers to challenges that gets us ahead. When others wish to see leadership in the importance of missions we see victory as the only importance to be leaders. When we dont see where our challenges would meet us to meet every and any challenge. When we see we are fit to lead when we see no challenge is to greater then us. When what we dont see we see when others we thought we see dead were alive to show us what we couldnt see. When we see other ways of victory when others show us what we cant see. When what we think we are seeing isn't real but a game to only think & see like a gamer with no emotion over our actions. When what we see we don't believe when our actions are real that we later see our true emotion of our actions. When what we dont see what drives us to progress is communicating to us to aee whatwe dont see in what we should be doing before it is too late. When our actions don't see it before its too late to see that we atone for actions and put our leadership elsewhere. When we dont always see what weapinry we become or what we handle is being used for good until we later look in ourselves the truth of our actions in our emotions that we know later.
I honestly don't feel that having a 'young' cast adds anything - at times only seeming to add another level of forced perspective from the audience having to constantly absorb the detail that these young prodigies are supposed to be the best mankind can summon in times of war, for me it's enough to shake the suspension of disbelief.
None of which ultimately detracts from what is underneath all these minor collective faults and that is a deep and morality focused story. Just not one I'd wish to re-watch anytime soon.
GREG: (Greg Smith, Founder of Agile Writers of Richmond, VA) Ender s Game is the film to end all films! Lets recap.
SCOTT: We meet a young teenage boy named Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a cadet in training under the watchful eye of Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and Major Anderson (Viola Davis). Wiggin and others are training for what is described as an inevitable encounter with a race of alien beings called the Formics, who attacked Earth and nearly destroyed humans 50 years ago. Graff is impressed by the way Wiggin conducts himself both in training exercises and in his interactions with other cadets, especially the bullies.
GREG: Ender has a strong empathic sense that allows him to think like his enemy and use those thoughts against them. When he is inducted into the service for the final war on the Formics, he finds opposition in the form of Bonzo - a short but tough leader of the Salamander group. Bonzo wants to be rid of Ender as he has designs on being the commander to squash the Formics. But Ender uses negotiation skills to put Bonzo at ease.
SCOTT: Greg, Ender s Game impressed me. I was kept on the edge of my seat for two solid hours while I watched a remarkable ensemble of great actors, both very old and very young, perform their craft with considerable skill and intensity. In Ender s Game we witness the gripping journey of a gifted young boy who is shaped and mentored into battle-readiness by elders we both admire and revile. This movie s coming-of-age story is superior to any other I ve seen. Asa Butterfield as Ender deserves great props, but so does everyone else involved in the making of this film, from screenplay writers to production designers to cinematographers. It is absolutely fascinating to watch Ender become transformed under the tutelage of Graff. Indeed, Harrison Ford s portrayal of Graff is a joy to watch. Ford s own transformation from action hero to mentor figure in the movies (see 42, for example) has been sealed to perfection.
GREG: I agree with you. The special effects in this film aren t just for flash and show - they re part of the story. The movie is based on the book of the same name by science fiction author Orson Scott Card. I ve read the book and the movie is very true to the original. Unfortunately, things that took a chapter to expose in the novel sometimes get barely a sentence in the screenplay. For example, the fact that Ender has been bred from birth to be a tactical wizard and the ethical issues about using youngsters, some less than 13 years old are only touched upon. Still, there is a lot to think about with this film. The ethical issues it serves up are as relevant today as they were in 1985 when Card published the book.
SCOTT: Absolutely. In fact, the movie works on many levels. It works as a thriller by portraying a bevy of great characters all urgently preparing for imminent war against a formidable foe. It works at a cerebral level because it raises some profound questions about how best to face one s enemies. Is conflict always unavoidable? Do you destroy your enemies or show understanding and compassion? The film also works as an ethical examination of the role of children in wartime society. If an entire society s existence is at stake, can children be exploited to the point of irreparable harm all in the service of saving the society? The movie also works as a textbook examination of leadership. How does leadership emerge? And what is the best way to develop successful leaders? We see these issues dealt with vividly and to great effect in Ender s Game.
GREG: This movie could only be improved if it were longer. You heard me say it, I wanted more. The relationships with Ender s sister and brother were not played up enough to give us insight into how these affected his psyche. Still, if you paid attention these elements were exposed later. One of the themes I appreciated was the in-fighting that occurs among intellectuals. These are high-performing, high-IQ children. There is a scene early in the film where Graff singles out Ender as being the smartest kid in the room. Ender complains that Graff made the other kids hate him. Orson Scott Card (and screenwriter/director Gavin Hood) really understand the competition among not just young people, but full grown adults who are in intellectual competition.
SCOTT: Ender s Game is pretty much everything you want to see in a movie. There is a skinny, boyish underdog of a hero who is thrown into a world fraught with danger, a world that will forever change him and everyone around him. There are mentors to admire and mentors to question. The villain is said to be vile and deserving of eradication, but we re led to wonder if this is true. The hero encounters one growth opportunity after another and resolves these situations in sometimes surprising ways. Ender s Game is the complete package. It easily earns 5 Reels out of 5. The hero story couldn t be more textbook, more moving, and more satisfying. Joseph Campbell himself couldn t have concocted a more powerful journey with nearly all the hero stages revealed in full form. Ender Wiggins is one of the most memorable characters in the movies in 2013. I have no problem awarding Ender a full 5 Heroes out of 5 as well. Movie: Heroes:
GREG: I agree Scott. Previous movies this year, especially Science Fiction films have played up the special effects and action in the films. Ender s Game starts with some deep philosophical issues and layers on great visuals and action. Even Star Trek Into Darkness (which springs from an anthology TV series that dealt with the thorniest issues of its time) cannot touch the emotional and intellectual content of Ender s Game. I m happy to award Ender s Game 5 out of 5 Reels for a quality movie going experience. And Ender gets 5 out of 5 Heroes for an engaging and mythical hero story. I m nominating Ender s Game for the Reel Heroes Hall of Fame. Movie: Heroes:
SCOTT: I concur. This is a Hall of Fame movie if there ever was one. .
I am aware that this is based on a very popular novel which I have not read, but have had details explained to me. For this reason I cannot help but notice how much has been missed out. The early scenes of the film do feel rushed and important character traits skipped are over to keep the pace of the narrative moving at a steady speed. This being said, things begin to kick in and get reasonably exciting in the second act once we are introduced to the battle room and all the wonder that comes with it. The special effects are stunning here and you can see where all the budget has gone (sometimes to the detriment of some other scenes possibly deemed less important). There is a nice twist in the final act that will leave you quite shocked if not aware of the book plot already. The closing scenes are a bit strange and I've been told do twist Orson Scott Card's narrative a little. To what end I'm not entirely sure. Having a few extras explained to me regarding the books final pages, the films ending began to make a bit more sense. I think I may have to read it....
Overall, I enjoyed Ender's Game but would've forgiven the risks of an extended runtime in order to give the audience a bit more of the novels substance.
From the begining it's seen that the staff for the production can make it better , but not the first two scenes , after them. They show us a little bit of Ender's life on Earth , that's a mistake. Even two more minutes may have been crucial to make the movie more exciting.
After that one there is another mistake that shows itsself because the weird change of positioning of the main characters around Andrew Wiggin. Alaj , the best friend of Ender , is shown even more seldom than other character Been , who meets Ender first.
Then the most nasty fail or act of the staff is the timing of the training of the main character - Andrew and then the others'. It's shown that Ender learns everything about the ships and all other little important things about the job for only around 10-15 days. That's impossible , maybe not for Been but for a normal human it is not. He has to learn so much data and it takes time to learn it like he has to.
Also it might have been a lot better if the "simulator battles" in the comander school were more many to let the audience see how hard it is to those kids to fight day in and day out. And show us their fatigue.
Last thing. The end. The end could've been more impacting.
So that was from me. I like the movie a lot. So and the book. It's my favourite. Actually the movie could've been better than the book if the staff wasn't too stupid to make a more great script. But it is still a great movie , for me amazing , because I love it.
If the producers find people better than this ones the sequels might be great. For example I suggest me after few years - 3-4y.
The movie doesn't make a strong enough case as to why the kids are the last resort. Why should we exclusively entrust our younger generations to command an entire army fleet? Best gamers in the world aren't necessarily kids. If the movie can't believably answer this, then the source novel is probably not worth cinematized in the first place.
The story has an uneven pace and unconvincing acting / dialogue during first half, but the pace ramps up quickly with an epic and surprising ending during second half. So overall, I still find the film entertaining. I especially like the last game Ender played, with awesomely stunning visual effects. The last 20 minutes actually makes the movie worth watching for me.