By The Voice Staff
“Ender’s Game” is based on the book of the same name by American novelist Orson Scott Card. Released on Nov 1, 2013 in the United States, the film was directed by Gavin Hood, who also penned the screenplay. It stars Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff and Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin, the title character. Also starring are Hailee Stanfield as Petra Arkanian, Abigail Breslin as Valentine Wiggin and Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham.
The plot involves the past attack on Earth by an alien species called the Formics in 2086. In this attack, Mazer Rackham and his small force repel the attack, but Rackham sacrifices himself to save Earth. However, the Formics are believed to be ready to attack once again.
Years after this initial attack, Ender is recruited by Major Graff to enter Battle School, the training ground for future military leaders. Ender quickly moves through Battle School and is transferred to the Salamander Army. There he forms a bond with Petra Arkanian, who acts as somewhat of a mentor for Ender.
With his friends from Battle School joining him for graduation day, Ender enters into a simulation that takes place near the Formic home world. Ender destroys the Formic fleet while Petra uses the Molecular Detachment device to destroy the alien’s planet. Afterward, Ender is told by Graff that the battle was real and that the Formic have been destroyed.
While not as thought-provoking as the novel, the movie still offers a good deal of science-fiction excitement throughout.
The space battle scenes were quite impressive overall. Watching the students fly around in zero gravity was interesting and fun to see. Some of the scenes in the Battle Room were a bit busy as far as content goes. However, while having an almost constant view of Earth through the window-walls kept the focus on its possible destruction, it also seemed to be a bit more self-serving to the CGI programming than anything else.
Ford comes across well as the stern Colonel Graff, the man who thinks the annihilation of the Formic is the only way to save Earth from destruction. Leaving the action hero role to the younger actors has served him well in recent years, and this movie is no exception.
Butterfield does his best to bring the intricacies of Ender’s personal conflict to his role, and succeeds most of the time. He uses subtle glances and movement to tip off the audience when trying to deal with his internal struggles. The book is far more in depth as to Ender’s internal dialogue, but the performance by Butterfield handles most of these internal struggles well enough, even without going into great detail.
With a combination of action and good CGI, the film manages to be entertaining, if not a bit rushed when compared to the book. Fans of the book will find faults, but those looking for a good sci-fi military story should be satisfied.