(2013)

Critic Reviews

51

Metascore

Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
Like its hero, Ender's Game relies on brains more than brute force. An absorbing portrait of Lord Of The Flies-style morality housed in imaginative sci-fi casing.
75
At times Ender's Game throws so many metaphors and moral dilemmas our way, we almost forget to appreciate the stunning and gorgeous visuals covering every inch of the screen. Almost.
75
Ender's Game is uneven - at times almost maddeningly so - with the first half offering more enjoyment than the second. Perhaps that's because, in military-style movies, I often prefer the training segments to the battle sequences.
75
A big, dark film that should satisfy the many fans of the Orson Scott Card novel and engage newcomers, too.
75
Ultimately, the movie is not, to paraphrase the U.S. Army slogan, all that it could be. The climax is uninvolving generic eye candy, and the sequel-friendly coda is unconvincing.
70
An impressive, thought-provoking astro-adventure that benefits from the biggest screen available.
65
Since it took 28 years to get it to the big screen, the fact that the end result feels rushed and hasty probably qualifies as irony.
63
A bit of a tweener, neither triumph nor disaster, a war-games fantasy with a use-by date of Nov. 22, when the new "Hunger Games" movie comes out.
63
There's lots of zero-g action in Ender's Game - even old Han Solo takes a whirl.
60
It falters once the actual war begins: Ben Kingsley shows up as a Maori warrior with the weirdest imaginable accent, the final battle is uninvolving, and there's an unconvincing upbeat coda. Ender's Game ends up being fitfully engaging and endearingly odd.
60
If only adapter-director Gavin Hood's movie had been tempered with craft and care and wasn't such a blunt instrument, one that seems designed as a delivery system for CGI derring-do instead of the heartbreaker it should be.
60
The movie's apocalyptic finale indicates that it's bitten off considerably more than it can chew in terms of ideas, but it looks good, and the story rattles along.
60
This starfighter-recruit blockbuster is refreshingly idea-driven.
58
As a mainstream sci-fi film, this enjoyable, occasionally poignant effort too often feels messy in the wrong ways.
55
It may seem odd for a teen-focused action movie to feel so glum, but that's actually something that the director gets right, even if it threatens to make this a dull affair: Ender's Game is a dark story of a children's crusade built on the crushed psyches of damaged youths, and too much uplift would undermine it.
50
Sure, it's good-looking, cautionary and clever enough. But there's not much in this “Game” that you'd call thrilling or fun.
50
It's a brutal story and a heady high-concept idea, but it plays out through characters with no identity other than their symbolic ones, and through shouted, simplistic arguments that repeat the same points over and over.
50
It comes down to this: Which is more important, the innocence of a child or the survival of the species? And if the race survives, will it just become like the enemy aliens that must be destroyed to do so?
40
It admirably avoids many of the pitfalls of adapting this book, but seems to have lost some of the life and pace as well.
38
Most Ender's fans, of course, won't care about comparisons and consider the film adaptation a long-awaited victory in itself. Those fresh to the tale - or at least expecting something fresh from it - may wonder what the fuss was about.
0
Ender's Game, the book, may have a special place in pop-lit. The movie, however, is as special as a migraine.
0
Not only does Ender's Game have many scenes in zero gravity, but this zero-sum fiasco has zero drama, zero suspense, zero humor, zero charm and zero appeal.

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