The Earth was ravaged by the Formics, an alien race seemingly determined to destroy humanity. Fifty years later, the people of Earth remain banded together to prevent their own annihilation from this technologically superior alien species. Ender Wiggin, a quiet but brilliant boy, may become the savior of the human race. He is separated from his beloved sister and his terrifying brother and brought to battle school in orbit around earth. He will be tested and honed into an empathetic killer who begins to despise what he does as he learns to fight in hopes of saving Earth and his family. Written by
CrystalSinger45, Jesse Daniels, strouda56
The U.S. Marine Corps has Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card on its recommended reading list for officers, saying that it offers "lessons in training methodology, leadership, and ethics as well." See more »
Ender says to Stilson, "One on one, then why are your buddies holding me?" Just before he starts talking he moves his lips, clearly saying something, but no sound is heard. See more »
Fifty years ago an alien force known as the Formics attacked Earth. Tens of millions died. It was only through the sacrifice of our greatest commander that we avoided total annihilation. We've been preparing for them to come back ever since. The International Fleet decided that the world's smartest children are the planet's best hope. Raised on war games, their decisions are intuitive, decisive, fearless. I am one of those recruits.
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At the very end of the credits, some Formic chirping can be heard. See more »
It seems as though all the great sci-fi takes forever to become films. It took over seventy years to give John Carter his big-screen debut. I had a copy of L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth that claimed that it would become a motion picture soon, but that never happened until almost twenty years later (and many would probably argue that it should not have been made). Ender's Game is another one of the best sci-fi novels I've read, and a film for it has been in development for something like ten years. So, in 2013, I couldn't have been more excited.
Ender's Game is kinda like The Hunger Games set in outer space, only more aggressive, more fantastic, and more original. EG has its fair share of special-effects-laden spectacle, with massive swarms of spaceships and incredible planetscapes filling up the screen. Fortunately, it's not all just action for the sake of action, it is all a direct consequence of the story. When the space battles aren't breaking out, the film still moves very fast with loads of character-driven conflicts.
The film still maintains most of its focus on telling the story, and it does hit up all the necessary plot points that were in the original novel. Some major subplots get cut out, the training/battle scenes are truncated, and various other liberties are taken, but for a two-hour movie, the filmmakers did their best to cover the entire plot, right up to its bizarre ending. A lot of scenes are exactly as I pictured them from reading the book (even the fantasy CGI mindgame scenes, which I always fancied should be animated Pixar style, and it turns out they were!), and the dark aggression of the book is mostly translated well into the film. Best of all, the book's biggest twists still bear some decent weight in the movie's narrative.
Unfortunately, some things are lost in translation. Just as it is with The Hunger Games, the specific nuances of the characters, their relationships, their emotions, and their overall pathos is better conveyed in the narrative of the book than it is on film. Ender's relationships with his friends (and even his enemies) are left at the surface level, and never really reaches the same depths as the novel. Some things remain unexplained or glossed over. Deeper themes are never fully explored. Although one can't expect every single thing in the book to make it into the film, EG falls just a little short in immersing the audience in the characters. It may be easy to root for Ender when he stands up to his bullies and commands a whole fleet, but the film won't leave that much of a lasting impression.
As a film, it looks pretty slick and stylish, with solid photography and editing. Acting can be rather mixed: I think all of the child actors did their jobs really well. Harrison Ford gets the most grief for his role, for he pretty much phones it in, but I still didn't think he was as terrible as other reviewers make him out to be. Ben Kingsley plays it kinda creepily in his role, and Viola Davis is pretty much herself. Writing in this film is okay, but has a rather bad penchant for exposition. This production has some good-looking sets, props, costumes, and special effects. The music score is not bad either.
As usual, the book is better than the movie, but I think the movie still does a good job as an adaptation. I expect that average audiences unfamiliar with the book will think this movie is okay, but might miss out on certain nuances. Book fans might gripe that the film doesn't do justice to certain things. In any case, I think the movie is worth a rent to all dedicated sci-fi fans.
4/5 (Entertainment: Very Good | Story: Good | Film: Pretty Good)
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