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‘Ender’s Game’ delivers pure sci-fi gold

Chase Pendzich , 4Play Writer
November 14, 2013
Filed under 4Play, Top Stories

“Ender’s Game” brings a strange future of children leading armies against aliens to the big screen.

The movie opened in theaters everywhere Nov. 1. It was directed by Gavin Hood (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” 2009) and starred Asa Butterfield (“Hugo,” 2011) as Ender Wiggin and Harrison Ford (“Star Wars,” 1977) as Colonel Graff.

The film was adapted from the critically acclaimed novel of the same title, released in 1985. This new version of the epic tale holds mostly true to the plot of the novel.

In a world where kids are trained to become the next great military generals, Ender is the top of the line. In this tragic future, the world lives in fear of an alien race, known as The Formics, after their failed invasion of Earth.

“Ender’s Game” displays the events of young Ender through battle school and the next great war in this dim future. Ender clearly has the most strategic mind when it comes to war, but he continues to have problems with both his compassionate side and his violent side.

At an early age, Ender is chosen by the army’s top recruiter of these child leaders, Colonel Graff. He places Ender in the military’s battle school where he faces the competition of the world’s best leaders, who are also very young strategists.

At this school, Ender encounters both military problems, as well as problems that a typical young boy would have, like girls and bullies. The battle school takes up most of the film and has its pros and cons.

Showing Ender’s petty problems dealing with girls and bullies really takes away from the seriousness and the absorbing storyline. The ideas of peace and war the film dives into take a back-seat sometimes to these coming-of-age plot lines.

These problems do seem odd in the film, but give the audience more of a connection with the film’s protagonist, Ender. By the end of the movie, the audience cares immensely for Ender, which adds a lot to the experience.

Overall, the film’s plot is very well done and is very thought provoking. The idea of using children as soldiers in a war is a unique and controversial idea.

The battle school scenes are visually stunning, which is one of the highlights of the film. The climax of the film, as well as the battle school scenes, are best described as just plain awesome.

The effects look believable and the action locks the audience into the story. The effects are exactly what the audience expects from a sci-fi epic.

The CGI attempts to overcome some of the faults the film has, the biggest being its pacing. A lot goes on in the film’s two-hour runtime.

The entire film feels rushed, but it’s expected with so much to cover and only one movie to do it in. A popular opinion of the movie is that it should have been split into two separate movies, but cutting it off half way would make the first one a mediocre sci-fi coming-of-age movie instead of a sci-fi epic.

Butterfield does a great job playing the lead. He puts a little too much emotion into more unimportant lines at times, but in the end he delivers a solid performance.

Harrison Ford delivers another stellar performance. He plays the anti-hero of the story perfectly. He’s basically a villain but it’s hard not to be on his side.

The problem with most of the acting in the film is overacting. Every line spoken comes off as being some important emotional line, which definitely takes the audience out of the movie at times.

The combination of an insane battle, an emotional Ender and a twist causes the climax to make up for some of the previous film’s faults. The audience can easily forget the overacting and coming-of-age scenes with the overwhelming emotion they feel during and after the climax.

“Ender’s Game” is great for any fans of the book and the sci-fi genre.