“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.” – Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game
It is the future, and humans are living in fear of being taken over by an alien race (Formics). Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) defeated the Formics and saved the world 25 years ago, and even though there has been peace since then, the International Military won’t rest until the Formics have been destroyed.
Colonel Hyram Graff (Harrison Ford) must find the person to lead the army that will once and for all destroy the Formics. It is believed that because children have grown up in a world of technology, they are best suited to lead the battle. They operate on instinct. The genius child that Colonel Graff thinks will save the world is the highly talented and inquisitive, Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield).
I have to say I am not a big fan of sci-fi movies. I just can’t buy the whole, the world is going to be taken over by the ugliest looking aliens we have ever seen on screen, and it is up to one person to save the entire universe! So, I was quite cynical going into this film and I was ready not to like it.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that this film (based on the book of the same name) captivated me from word go. I cared about the characters and where this story was going. Even though in this case, it was up to one of the smartest kids ever to save us all!
All the pressure is on Ender’s shoulders to save the world and on Butterfield’s shoulders to make this film work. If lead child wasn’t strong enough, the film wouldn’t work.
Butterfield played Ender perfectly. He was not precocious or annoying. Instead he was icy and steely whilst also vulnerable. This is such a mature performance from someone so young. Butterfield looked like he really knew what he was doing and I was happy to leave the fete of the world in his hands.
Butterfield was aptly supported by his younger cast members, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Aramis Knight, Suraj Partha, and Conor Carroll.
But it’s not all about the kids in this film. They are lead by fantastic adult actors – the likes of Viola Davis, Harrison Ford, and Ben Kingsley.
At times Ender’s Game feels like a video game – but that’s not a bad thing. It’s the best of the gaming world meets the movie world. The visuals, and use of all the latest technology, is outstanding.
Even though Ender’s Game is set in a futuristic world and the enemy is an alien race, lessons can be taken from it. Think before you hit. Understand before you attack. And is winning at all costs really the right thing?
Ender’s Game is a very sophisticated take on the 80’s kids save the world type films (Goonies, The Lost Boys). We haven’t seen many of those types of films successfully done this millenium (the best I have seen was Stephen Spielberg and JJ Abram’s, nostalgic, Super 8).
I thoroughly enjoyed the ride Ender’s Game was taking me. I was very surprised to see that I was sucked in and rooting for Ender to save us all. It was all going well until the last five minutes. The ending went off the rails and is a let down.
If you can forgive the actual ending of Ender’s Game, and in your mind let it end 5 minutes before the credits roll, then this is well worth making the trip to the cinema for.