Ender’s Game, based on the 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card, tells of Colonel Graff, who enlists the help of the hyper-intelligent young mind of Ender Wiggin. And as Ender leads his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth, he will also come to know what exactly war means. With engaging visual effects and believable young characters, this film not only entertains but also gives food for thought. The film looks at,not only how people view war, but how each sides justifies their attack.
Ender Wiggin, played by the amazing Asa Butterfield, is a compassionate yet strategic young man, who walks a fine line between human and solider. Asa Butterfield conveyed such an emotional range from, a normal teenage boy to a preeminent fleet commander; the audience can really engage and grow with him. His moments of vulnerability transcend the screen and script, allowing the audience to connect with Ender. However, the presence of many of the other child actors fails to make much impact. Maybe that is a good thing; Ender is supposed to be isolated and withdrawn, so as an audience we feel as much as he does. Butterfield can certainly holds his own up against big names like, Harrison Ford who plays Colonel Graff or Ben Kingsley who plays Mazer Rackham.Yet, the older actors also disappoint, partly due to their reduced roles but mostly due to flat writing. Harrison Ford was completely stagnant while Ben Kingsley’s character seemed a little out of place in this epic sci-fi. Nonetheless, Viola Davis did an amazing job as Major Gwen Anderson, the on duty shrink for the children, but she was barely in it!
The visual effects are great, and especially exciting in the scenes of stimulated zero gravity battle. The $110 million budget was well spent, creating orbiting space stations, battles and simulations. And the costuming helped in the story telling as well, as it was militant while still maintaining the futuristic feel.Unfortunately, the ingenious twist ending put the film in a reverse, leaving an unpleasant sense of distance and lack of energy, while the epilogue enters into a odd domain that feels out of place with the rest of the film.
Overall, this film is still an entertaining science fiction movie, visually remarkable and well defined, but it suffers from feeling compelled to try and tie up loose plot points.