Review #45 Ender’s Game

Directed by- Gavin Hood

Starring- Asa Butterfield, Haille Steinfeld, Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley

Ender’s Game is the story of Ender Wiggin, a particularly gifted boy who is chosen to train with the International Fleet to fight the Formics, an alien race that has already invaded Earth twice.

Ok so I went to the Ender’s Game Q and A (which can be read here) and was so impressed with what I was hearing about the book and with the three short clips we were shown that I read the book in two days flat so I could watch the film and (hopefully) appreciate it. The book is INCREDIBLE, and it’s recommended reading for the American military. That really shows that it is not a children’s book. But sadly director Gavin Hood made this film a cross between the worst Harry Potter movie and Space Balls.

The book has several storylines, one of which is about the political situation on Earth and at the time reflected the different blocs from the Cold War. THIS IS COMPLETELY MISSED OUT IN THE FILM. Of course children wouldn’t have been able to understand the political philosophy and complex themes from the book, that was what made it so great.

At the Q and A, I thought Harrison Ford was a bit, well… doddery. Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld seemed good enough, but all three of them majorly disappoint in the film. Butterfield and Steinfeld play their characters out like awkward teenagers, not the murderous warriors they have been trained to become. Also, Ender is a military genius and as Scott Card has pointed out, the book goes on pretty much inside his head. He is a brilliant leader and an awesome tactician out on the battlefield, bringing in new methods of combatting the enemy. Where was this in the film? Nowhere to be seen.

There’s a pretty cool epilogue in the book where we read what happens after the main part of the book (trying desperately not to give anything away here). However, these are all built into the film at the end and do not have the depth or significance that they do in the book.

One of the very few impressive things about Ender’s Game is the visual effects- absolutely stunning, especially the zero gravity scenes set in the Battle School.

So, to conclude. It’s really quite rubbish and unimpressive. There’s better child actors out there than Butterfield and Steinfeld, and sadly Harrison Ford has lost his touch in a dull performance. At the Q and A they said they were thinking about a sequel but due to its dreadful box office performance, that idea has thankfully been shelved. Just go read the book instead.

I won’t be going to the non-existent sequel, but I will definitely be reading more of Scott Card’s books.

EDIT: Ben Kingsley’s New Zealand accent is awful. He starts off sounding South African. It gets a bit better. Just a bit.

Two stars.