Based on the 1985 novel of the same name, Ender’s Game is set in a future when the Earth’s inhabitants are preparing for an alien invasion. These aliens, a bug species called Formics, have attacked previously and Earth’s unpreparedness cost millions of lives. Determined to not allow a repeat of the horror, children are trained from a very young age to eventually lead mankind into battle against the invaders.
The children are tracked and monitored as they learn via various methods such as war and tactical games on the computer or in real environments. These environments include zero gravity. It is after such observations that the tactical genius of young Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) is discovered by military trainer Colonel Graff (Ford). But first his emotional reactions are tested by unceremoniously throwing him out of the academy.
Needless to say, Ender is taken back and rises quickly through the ranks showing not only great tactical and military skills but impressive leadership skills as well. He is taken under the wing of fellow trainee Petra (Steinfeld) who uses her free time to help Ender catch up to classmates. This new friendship does not sit well with everyone, especially the young group leader Bonzo (Arias) who antagonises the thus far fragile Ender at every opportunity. A final confrontation between the pair has devastating results. Of course, the movie culminates in an epic test of Ender’s abilities as a tactician and leader.
I have read that Enders Game is on the recommended reading list for the US Marine Corps. And I can see why. It’s not about putting a gun in someone’s hand, pointing at a bullseye and telling them to fire. It’s about planning, strategy and leadership. Young Ender is not particularly fast or strong but he can see outside the box and takes risks that others may balk at. He does not simply command but earns the respect of his team and leaders such as this take strong, united troops into battle.
This is a world that prizes military prestige above all else. The Wiggin family lament that none has so far made it to the upper echelons of the military. Ender keeps referring to himself as ‘a third’ and as he is the third child in the family, I assume there is some sort of child per family limit in force, much like China’s eternally controversial one child policy.
This is a must see for sci-fi fans. I do feel there were some gaps in the story-telling and some characters seem to have evolved in leaps with little or no real explanation. But this often happens with book to movie scripts.
It has some spectacular space battles and some really cool special effects. The zero gravity training room is a particular treat to watch showing gun/laser battles that are simply not possible in any other environment. My inner geek girl was mesmerised.
This is a better than average sci-fi movie. There are no superheroes or marauding enemies. Or are there? 😛 There is no dumbing down here …… you have to watch and think about this one. And there are some big twists just to keep you on your toes. Overall, a good, solid summer movie.
Love Flick xx
Director : Gavin Hood
Starring : Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davies, Aramis Knight, Suraj Partha, Moises Arias
Running Time : 114 minutes
Release Date : 5 December, 2013