Now in theaters, "Ender's Game" is an exciting, sci-fi fantasy-adventure designed for young audiences and those with wild imaginations. Directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine), "Ender's Game" takes you on a wild space journey with a complex struggle for Earth’s survival. This film is exceptionally intriguing, is filled with remarkable visuals and special effects, and will keep you entertained throughout, but can also be slightly ambiguous a times.
Based on the fictional military novel of the same name, the film takes place around 2086. when the Earth has been attacked by an alien race, known as “Formics." Years after the first attack, the International Military begins to train young kids in the hopes of replacing a legendary hero, Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), to end the war and save the human race. After a brilliant, loner student, Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), gets in a fight with a fellow trainee and makes a good impression in front of Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford), he is pulled from Earth School and placed into Battle School. Here, the elite are tactically trained through the use of difficult strategy games, such as open-field combat in zero gravity, and this is where Ender truly sets himself apart from those around him with his rebellious and disruptive techniques and instincts that help him outsmart his peers. After being promoted to Command School, Ender is trained under Rackham himself and commands his own team in a final battle to save Earth.
This film jams an elaborate, futuristic piece of fiction into an average-length presentation for the big screen and has a very intricate, perplexing story that creates an entirely new world and future of its own. The director often spends a great deal of time on a single part of the narrative, while other times rushing information and quickly moving the film along. There are several twists throughout and although you may feel yourself lost at times, the action and computer-generated displays should keep you engaged. The special effects are rather impressive and visually electrifying, much like a fireworks show or an imaginative computer screen-saver, and similar to the recent film, "Gravity." "Ender's Game" reminds me of several sci-fi or fantasy films as well, including "Tron: Legacy," "The Chronicles of Riddick," and "Pan’s Labyrinth," mostly for the visuals but also for the aliens, creatures, planets, space environments, gravity effects, and more.
"Ender's Game" is fascinating for fans of science fiction fantasy and appears to be geared for a largely teen audience. A fair amount of the cast is comprised of younger actors, and the film seems to be a mix between fantasy and realism with light, playful dialogue and thrilling action. Viewers may feel like some of the action or choices made by the characters are somewhat dark at times, as someone like Ender is ruthless in his progression up the ranks to become a leader, but the closing of this film offers a well-summed up, satisfying feeling. Asa Butterfield gives a solid performance as Ender Wiggin, a sharp prodigy who takes no abuse, and Harrison Ford holds a large role as the aggressive, pushy military leader. The film also features Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, and more.
Rating 3.5 out of 5.
Enders Game is rated PG-13 for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material. Running time is 1 hour and 54 minutes.
Hayden Pittman is a special contributor to WFAA.com and a freelance film critic and entertainment blogger out of Dallas. More of his content can be found on YouPlusDallas.com and his author archive here. He is a film, TV, and sports enthusiast, and hopes to pursue a future in filmmaking and screenwriting. As an average, passionate film lover who rarely misses a film, his reviews are straightforward and his way with words will let you know in a simple way what he thinks. Don’t like what he has to say? Let him know at firstname.lastname@example.org.