The science-fiction movie Ender’s Game is many things. It is a movie about a war with aliens, about training the next great battle commander to defeat those aliens, the psychological effects of being trained to be the next great battle commander, and the ethics of war. That seems like a lot of ground to cover in just one hour and 54 minutes, and it is. Ender’s Game does a stellar job including it all.
Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is tasked with saving the human race from an alien invasion. He is whisked up to Battle School, a space station with a stunning view. Fortunately, the movie does not try to one-up Gravity with its impressive cinematography. Instead, it focuses on the plot.
The movie can feel a bit rushed at points. Granted, it was adapted from a 380 page book that spans a few years, but the movie takes place over the course of about one month. A few more scenes, possibly going into depth about the years of training, would have fleshed out the story line and improved the pacing. The movie hit the nail on the head with the ending, and, in the book, the ending was what counted most.
Those who have read the book will notice that Ender’s relationships with the other students are brushed over. The film mainly focuses on Petra (Hailee Steinfeld) and Bernard (Conor Carroll). All the young actors are incredible, except for Bonzo (Moises Arias). Bonzo is supposed to be intimidating, but his short stature mostly makes him seem ridiculous. The adult cast is strong, with big name actors such as Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Ben Kingsley. The decision to make Major Anderson (Viola Davis) a woman was a good one because it relieves some of the tension from the typically male-dominated military hierarchy.
Ender’s Game is incredibly well-done. That said, though writer-director Gavin Hood did work hard to make the movie suitable for a PG-13 rating, the film still contains some of the violence of the novel. Unless you are vehemently against violence (or science-fiction), Ender’s Game is worth your time.
By: Emma Morrison