Young Ender Wiggin is recruited by the International Military to lead the fight against the Formics, a genocidal alien race which nearly annihilated the human race in a previous invasion.
In the near future, a hostile alien race has attacked Earth. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham, all would have been lost. In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Hyrum Graff and the International Military are training only the best young minds to find the future Mazer. Ender Wiggin, a shy but strategically brilliant young leader, is recruited to join the elite. Arriving at Battle School, Ender quickly and easily masters increasingly difficult challenges and simulations, distinguishing himself and winning respect amongst his peers. Ender is soon ordained by Graff as the military's next great hope, resulting in his promotion to Command School. Once there, he's trained by Mazer Rackham himself to lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race.
In the future, Earth was attacked by the alien race Formics and after many casualties, the hero Mazer Rackham destroys the mothership and defeats the aliens.
Fifty years later, the outcast boy Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is recruited by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and Major Gwen Anderson (Viola Davis) to be part of a selected team of boys and girls that are being prepared by the International Military for the next invasion of the Formics. Colonel Graff believes that he may be the leader and savior of the human race, but Major Anderson is concerned with the psychological damages that may be caused to Ender.
"Ender's Game" is a rip-off of "Starship Troopers" for juvenile audiences with a story with many contradictions. Ender is trained to kill but has conflictive crisis when he is bullied by the violent Bonzo Madrid (Moises Arias). His attitudes always generate negative comments from Anderson and Graff and it is difficult to follow what he should do to please the military. Why experienced commanders would need a kid to command the earthling fleet? Harrison Ford is awful in the role of a tough colonel. My vote is four
Title (Brazil): "Ender's Game - O Jogo do Exterminador" ("Ender's Game – The Terminator Game") I have been a fan of the Ender's Game ( and the rest of the Ender Saga) for over 10 years. So I was extremely nervous about the release of this film. Enders game is a story focused around characters, this is put first over action, I was concerned that Hollywood would destroy the essence of the novel and of "Ender" for a quick action packed space film aimed at kids. I was wrong to be concerned this was a great adaptation. It stayed true to the novel and kept all of the major plot points and themes.
Firstly, Enders Game the film is not just for book fans. I took my partner who hasn't read the book and she told me "it was good and understandable" and she didn't feel that she was missing any details due to the fact she hadn't read the books. So like a good book adaption it works well as a standalone edition of the story.
Secondly, I hope you can forgive me for referring to the book occasionally throughout this review. In addition please don't interpret my comments as a "whinging Fanboy" upset about how the film changed things in the book. I fully understand that a film adaption is exactly that, an adaption, and parts must be adapted to work on the big screen. In fact, I felt they could have pushed the boundaries further and made more dramatic changes.
1) Visual Effects - The visual effects throughout Enders Game were fantastic. (Spoiler) The Formics, the space crafts, the Battle Room and the Command School and the war scenarios looked awesome. (End Spoiler).
2) Brutality - If you needed any convincing that Enders Game was not a kids film (which it is not), then I think the sheer brutality shown by Ender in the opening scenes will convince you. Enders Game is a film about kids but it isn't a kid's film. I was really happy that they kept this (and another) brutal scene in the movie because these are key moments that develop Ender and provide his major internal conflicts.
3) Battle Room –The Battle Room in this movie was true to the book and looked realistic and very visually impressive. It was great to see it on the big screen.
4) Plot – On the whole the plot was great. It was fast paced, exciting and full of action but also the more important emotional/character development scenes as well. Ender's Game provides a good middle ground between a movie focused on action and a movie focused on the characters story.
5) Acting - I was really torn with the acting in this film. I thought Asa Butterfield (Ender), Harrison Ford (Graff), Ben Kingsley (Rackham), Viola Davis (Anderson) and Moises Arias (Bonzo) were brilliant and had strong performances, but I found myself indifferent towards the others. To name and shame, I especially thought this was true of Aramis Knight (BEAN), who I found to be very unbelievable.
6) Dap and Anderson – Those who have read the book will instantly notice that Dap and Anderson are portrayed completely different in the film. This was an adaption I really liked. It was great. It added a new dimension to the characters and even lightened the mood of the film..
7) Valentine and Peter – In the book, Ender maybe the focus of the main plot, but there is a subplot focused around Peter and Valentine on Earth. This would have taken the focus away from the main plot, adding confusion and length, I am therefore glad to see this was omitted in the film adaption.
1) Bean and Alai – Bean and Alai have very little screen time. Both characters seemed two dimensional and their conversations with Ender seemed strange because of this. For example (SPOILER) When Ender is promoted, Alai who we have seen little of so far in the film, comes out and shares a special word with Ender "Salaam", in the film this affection seems misplaced and strange, in the novel Ender and Alai have a "special" relationship, it is almost homo-erotic and this is why this scene is so crucial, I didn't feel this came across in the film. In the film Bean strengths as characters don't come through he, like Alai, is two dimensional the fact he appears earlier than in the book weakens Ender and Alais relationship. (SPOILER END) I therefore feel it would have been better if they had swapped Alai for Bean allowing for a single more dimensional character rather than bringing Bean in earlier and splitting Enders time between them both.
2) Plot Speed - At times it felt like Enders Game, the Highlights. (SPOILER) I would have loved to have seen more battles in the battle room, at least a montage of battles being won, it almost felt like Ender won one battle in charge of Dragon Army and that was it off to command school. (SPOILER END)
3) Enders Breaking Bonzo's Rule - (SPOILER) In the book this is a defining moment when Ender creates a new attacking strategy and on his own decimates the opposing army, showing his strategic genius. The book changes this completely making Ender disobey Bonzo for emotional reasons and then allowing Petra to tells Ender what tactics to use to decimate the opposing army which makes it seem like Petra is in fact Earths last chance. (SPOILER END)
To conclude, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was great seeing my favourite book on the big screen. I can truly say that this is probably as good a film as they could've made without extending the screen time. If only adapter-director Gavin Hood's movie had been tempered with craft and care and wasn't such a blunt instrument, one that seems designed as a delivery system for CGI derring-do instead of the heartbreaker it should be. The film storyline may turn out to be a fusion between 'Ender's Game' and its parallel novel 'Ender's Shadow', focusing on the important elements of both. Technically speaking, both books take place at exactly the same time, and they both focus on the same events at the Battle School, but from the points of view of two different characters. a5c7b9f00b
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