Saturday, November 2, 2013

Movie Review -- Ender's Game

Today James and I went to see the new movie Ender's Game, an adaptation of the Orson Scott Card novel. Now I'm here to tell you all about it.

Fifty years ago, an alien race called the Formics attacked Earth and nearly destroyed us. Humanity barely managed to defeat them and since then we have feared another attack. So mankind decided to raise children from birth to be the ultimate tacticians. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is one of these children, a prodigy with a strategic mind. He has a knack for ruthless efficiency, and soon catches the attention of Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford). Graff thinks Ender has the potential to be the best of the best, and ships him off to a training academy aboard an orbiting space station. There Ender makes new friends, including Bernard (Conor Carroll) and Petra (Hailee Steinfeld). They join him on Team Dragon, and together they participate in zero-g games against the the other teams, all in preparation for the next war against the Formics. However, the stress begins to take its toll on Ender, and he starts to question whether he really has what it takes to be a leader. All the while, Graff is pushing him to complete his training and take his rightful place as mankind's savior. Can Ender keep it together long enough to send the Formics packing?

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The CG is well-done, and the acting is solid. I particularly liked the way Ender's emotional baggage is conveyed to us. You can really see he's under a lot of pressure to see things through. The weight of the world is seriously on his shoulders, and Asa Butterfield does a great job of showing that. Also, Ben Kingsley gives a good performance, but I won't go into that because of spoilers.

However, those expecting a 100%-percent faithful adaptation may be disappointed. The writers took some liberties with the story, as James kept reminding me. "In the book, they didn't have FTL drives." "In the book, the aliens never reached Earth." "In the book, the shower scene is longer and more drawn out." In my opinion, because they took out parts leading up to the final revelation, it loses some punch.

Still, this movie is pretty good. I heartily recommend it over the last one I saw (Escape Plan). It's head and shoulders above most sci-fi films out there.

"When this is over, we'll have the luxury of debating the morality of what we do."

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