For months my wife would get as giddy as a school girl when she saw anything pertaining Ender’s Game. She even has swept through the all the Orson Scott Card books to prepare herself. Me? I haven’t read the book. Don’t even have a desire to. And that didn’t change after watching the movie last night.
If you’re as ignorant as me, I’ll give you the basic lowdown. After Earth is destroyed by an alien race the military recruits children to groom them into commanders because they process information faster than adults do. Ender Wiggens (Asa Butterfield) is a special kind of boy. Although not fully explained why, we are to believe that he is somehow designed to become an elite commander. He is a mix of his brother and sister, empathetic and violent which makes him a good balance to be what the military needs. Col Graffen (Harrison Ford) recruits Ender to a battle school. Here he is takes on leadership role by questioning and challenging authority. That’s all you need to know because from there it gets a little too complicated.
For the most part, I did enjoy it. It kept my attention and interested in Ender. As for the rest of the cast, not so much. I applaud Ford in his hard-ass commander role. You could tell he was desperate to protect Earth from another attack. As for the rest of the cast, they felt flat, boring and didn’t care too much about. Except for Bonzo (Moises Arias) who was incredibly unlikable, it was a shame I had more negative feelings toward that character than positive for any of the others.
I’ve heard a ton about the weightless Battle Room and I was actually looking forward to it. And of course it had to let me down. It seemed too slow and lazy. The rules of the game, even though I understood them, made the game more exciting than it actually was. There was a point where Ender steps up the plate in a game and wins, but the cheesiness of it just blemished the whole scene.
As for the acting, I usually give a pass for child actors. Butterfield didn’t need a pass because I understood the character and his mindset but I wasn’t pulling for him either. The other actors seemed flat and silly when they spoke. I was aware that they were acting albeit unconvincing. I got the impression that they were trying their hardest to do what they could with the material they were given. For that, I blame the screenplay written by the director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
What made the movie altogether worth it for me was the philosophical message that culminated at the end. What happened and how Ender handled it really hit home for me.
As for being an adaptation, I knew they can’t put every word from the book onto the screen. I get that. I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter books and movies and could never understand why a non-reader wouldn’t fall for it like I have. My meh-ness of Ender’s Game has helped me understand that. It just didn’t click with me. Valiant effort nonetheless.
What did you think of Ender’s Game? Did you read the book? Tell me your thoughts.