Monday, December 9, 2013

Movie Review - Ender's Game - by Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 114 mins

Ender’s Game is a sci-fi action movie based off the critically acclaimed 1985 book of the same title, written by Orson Scott Card. Since I have never read the book, I went into this viewing not really knowing what to expect. However, Ender’s Game surprised me in a big way with its smart directing, big time special effects and exceptional acting, particularly by the young Asa Butterfield, a not so young Harrison Ford (aka Han Solo) and the always great Ben Kingsley.

 The film opens with an exciting battle on Earth in the very near future of our world. The Formecs, a hostile alien species appearing to have a clear goal of annihilating the human race, are shown invading our planet with nothing but an outnumbered human group known as the International Military to stop them. If not for a sacrifice play in the middle of the war by Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), the human race would have been destroyed by these extra-terrestrial creatures.

 Seventy years later, the International Military remains intact, preparing for an inevitable second invasion by the genocidal Formecs that will determine the fate of our planet. The International Military’s plan for the next war is to take advantage of technologically advanced teenagers and train them to lead the International Fleet in battle. One kid they recruited is the shy but strategically brilliant Ender Wiggin, portrayed by Asa Butterfield. I must acknowledge Butterfield’s fantastic performance as he completely owned the character of Ender and truly carried the movie in this lead role.

The bulk of the film took place in the International Military’s training facility orbiting Earth which is pretty much boot camp in space. During the teenagers’ training, Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) envisions young Ender as the one who will save humanity. He mentors him as Ender works his way through the challenging, competitive academy. It was quite fascinating to watch Ender complete increasingly difficult tasks and quickly rise up academy’s ranks, eventually making it to the prestigious Command School. 

Overall, I found Enders game to be an extremely entertaining and very enjoyable film. It felt a bit rushed in parts and missed out on several potentially emotional scenes, but the outstanding visual effects and strong acting really made up for it. Personally I cannot compare it to the book, but from a pure cinematic standpoint this was a very cool and exciting movie.

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