Anthony's Film Review

Ender's Game (2013)

A sci-fi movie that was better than I had originally expected...

Ender's Game is a military science-fiction movie based on the popular 1985 novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card (who, by the way, also helped produce this movie). This is a story that I never read before seeing its film adaptation, but thankfully, it's not necessary to read the book to understand and enjoy the movie. I know I did, because the film presented me with a good story that did not bore me one bit.

The premise is a familiar one: aliens have attacked Earth once, and a space military force is established to fight back. The twist here is that the enlisted personnel are children, mostly short of or just entering adolescence. As noted by top officers, including Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and Major Anderson (Viola Davis), the brightest minds are the youngest ones, so raising children on war simulation games can help create a strong military force. As the film begins, one youngster is given the opportunity to move on up: Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield, known for a starring role in 2011's Hugo).

The story is essentially about the growth of this young boy and his journey up the ranks. Ender goes from a basic military academy to Battle School on a space station and even makes his way into Command School. On the way, he makes friends and enemies alike. For example, Ender learns valuable combat skills from a girl named Petra, but also faces a very hotheaded and hateful unit leader named Bonzo. Otherwise, Ender goes through moments that are characteristic of any military setting, including things like roughness from superior officers and homesickness while under the control of the fleet.

There are two scenes in the middle of the story that are certainly interesting. One involves a mind-controlled video game that has a specific purpose for military trainees. This is something that Ender plays for a bit, and the meaning of the game's visuals will be evident later. The other scene involves a large zero-gravity chamber that acts as a battle training ground. This is where different teams at Battle School compete in a war game that involves shooting each other with laser stun guns and winning by getting an unharmed teammate past an opposing team's gate. It's pretty neat, especially when the barrier blocks in the chamber are rearranged into new formations.

All of this leads up to the final third of the film that, I must say, is more exciting and engaging than before. Ender finally is put up to the biggest challenge of his life, as he is given the opportunity to be a high-ranking military leader in a high-stakes game. No longer do we see him and his comrades as soft kids. Here, these 12- to 14-year-olds are working together as one, united in a common effort to defeat the aliens. What happens afterwards is unbelievable, to say the least.

Ender's Game isn't anything wholly original, but that's not as important as the fact that it's enjoyable. In starts off OK, then it gets good, and finally it gets pretty good. On my 1-to-10 scale, the movie starts at a 7 and momentarily feels like an 8 near the end. So with that, my final rating is a 7. It's a fun movie with a decent story, good acting, and nice special effects. Ender's Game has, indeed, emerged as a winner.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Ender's Game, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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