Is ‘Ender’s Game’ Worth Going To See? [REVIEW]
"When I understand my enemy enough to defeat him,
in that moment,
I also love him."
-- A. E. Wiggin
First I would like to mention, I read the book. As with everything, (it seems) the book is always better.
Ender's Game is about a young boy who is recruited by the International Military to lead their forces in an attack against an alien race called the Formics. The Formics attacked earth years ago, and only by the efforts of one great hero, by the name of Mazer Rackham, were we able to survive that initial attack. Since then, the military leaders of the world have chosen children to be groomed and trained as the next great military leaders.
How It Looked
For starters, the visuals in the movie were magnificent. I almost had a schoolboy glee when seeing the battleroom. The filmmakers did a great job pulling that part from the book. The same can also be said for the 'mock' space-ship battles as well. The set was made to look spartan as a military installation should however, I feel the filmmakers lost out on what could have given the movie more visual depth.
The plot development was sad. There were key plot points that were left out of the movie that would have added a greater development to the characters and their individual struggles. Ender's siblings were barely touched upon in the movie but in the book they offered both a strong positive and negative reinforcement of character and drive in Ender himself. Hyrum Graff's interaction with Ender offered only a two dimensional relationship in the movie, and lacked any depth. Finally, in the book Ender spent 6 years at battle school, and only 1 in the movie. Most of the close ties molded in the movie were hurried, if touched upon at all. Ender's ruthlessness was mentioned but rarely exhibited in what I think may have been an attempt to make the movie agreeable with the masses.
Asa Butterfield made this movie what it is by portraying Ender as the dichotomous individual he is: a strong, independent, lonely, caring, compassionate, and ruthless tactically thinking child. There were many times that Butterfields portrayal of Ender were so spot on, I felt my emotions roll along with him. If you choose to see the movie for no other reason, it should be to see Asa Butterfield.
Harrison Ford's return to space as Hyrum Graff was spot on. There were issues with his portrayal of Graff in relation to the book that disappointed me. However, I think these were merely issues with the writing of the movie rather than his acting. Graff was meant to be a manipulative puppet master handling all aspects of their training and through his machinations create Ender into the military commander needed.
Some of Ender's battle school mates weren't cast very well, most notably Moises Arias, as the angry bully Bonzo. His acting, was just that, acting. I did not feel he was actually that person, nor did I feel his anger.
The movie is definitely worth seeing despite its drawbacks in both development in characters and plot. I have come to respect Asa Butterfield's acting as top notch and he does not disappoint. I would not classify it as a 'Great' movie, but I definitely think it was good and am happy I decided to go see it in theaters. Also, if you get a chance I highly recommend the book. It is easily one of my favorite.