Movie Review: Ender's Game [2013]

Finally, kids are important in the future.

In the year 2086 alien species called  Formics attack the Earth. Commander Mazer Rackham sacrifices himself to save the planet. 50 years past without any sign of alien form of life on our planet but humans are still getting ready for future battles, that might come any moment. The only weapon they have (except than machine that cost 7 billion USD) are genius kids - specially trained highly intelligent people.  Most outstanding of them is Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) - a 15 years old boy with brilliant military tactics. He and another dozens of youngsters were permanently instructed and prepared on International Fleet's base in the space. However, they were never taught to be friends with each other, because only one of them would be "the chosen one" to lead the rest. If you look at Ender, he is an absolute outsider - a tiny, feeble, shy boy who sometimes turns out to be the biggest geek. But here comes a "surprising" plot twist that he has to defeat enemy that killed thousands of brave soldiers (no, seriously, this is not a plot twist, at all).

So, the movie basically evolves around him. And we're having quite long and peaceful voyage with Wiggin from very beginning to the end. At first I though of seeing massive battle scenes, with brilliant CGI, a lot fire and blood, but instead we have quite logical and predictable story of a confused kid who was foisted real guns. Watching a fantasy movie, I was not surprised how awesome and unreal Ender's character was. I liked how steadily and permanently he evolved on the screen, how he turned from a simple boy into a complex person. Asa Butterfield delivered very confident and emotional performance, even surprisingly better than I expected. He was great in Hugo, but here, having more character resources, he did exceptionally better. Wiggin is a little boy and a grown man the same time, who has self-reliance of elders and sensitivity of younger. All these was convincingly expressed in every emotion or movement of Asa.
The rest of cast is quite good, including Oscar nominees Viola DavisHailee Steinfeld & Harrison Ford, and Academy Award winner Sir Ben Kingsley. They all do their best to make a average story look more interesting.

Lacking massive attack scenes, it is hard to be surprised with visual effects. Only last 20 minutes bring enough action to see how well CGI and different techniques were used. But I still think there is nothing new even here, especially compared to Gravity, Star Trek into Darkness and The Hobbit this year.
Here is what I found to be the biggest problem. Ender's Game is not either kids movie or adults movie. It's somehow in the middle having few battle scenes for big people and few computer games scene for kiddos. Mixing these things does not fully worked with me. Personally, I'd love to see more action here. If Gavin Hood as a director could decide for whom he's making a film, I'd be more pleased.

Novel, on which film is based, has a sequel. I hope they'll make a sequel to motion picture too, but I want it to be more breathtaking and involving. Something like Star Trek into Darkness has done to me this year.


  1. Keith & the MoviesFeb 3, 2014, 7:26:00 PM

    Nice review. This is one I never made it to the theater to see. I kept pushing it back. Still anxious to give it a chance.

  2. I recommend to give it a chance, I think it is still a nice one time watch film )