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Ender's Game
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

It's all right ... but ...

5/10
Author: maxaira from Canada
31 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was very much looking forward to seeing this film as the trailer had much in it that would appeal to anyone seeking a film with a lot of CGI effects and action sequences. From this standpoint it was very good and through most of what we see we are not disappointed. From a story point of view, however, it leaves much to be desired. Drama has never been a really strong point with Harrison Ford, though what he did with "Regarding Henry" was exceptional. Ford needs actions flicks to really shine. Here there was action but he wasn't a part of it. He played to it and as a result he appeared a weak character. No, the action was all on the part of the young people that were involved and while they were into it, sort of, even here things fell a little flat. Of course the plot centred on Ender and from the moment he was recruited to be a "warrior" it seemed as if he knew what he was and was to be about. We were never, until moments from the end, given to understand that he merely looked at the whole of his role as a mere "game" though the title should have told us otherwise. Yet when the end rolled around, and that happened far too fast, suddenly we see a young man filled with seeming righteous indignation that he should have been used to wipe out an entire "species" of life. Yet this is precisely why he was recruited in the first place. Why did he feel this way? We have no idea but suddenly he's off into the nether reaches of space as a peace ambassador. And why? I doubt we'll ever know.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This and the book are not related

5/10
Author: Oskar Ziaja from World
20 January 2014

The book had so much richness connected to the plot and character psychology. You could really understand why things were happening and what the characters were feeling and thinking. Ender's brilliance was what made him the key role. The way he would deal with the sharpness that was constantly trying to slice into him. Major plot points were skipped. Ender moved on from scene to scene without much incite into his motives and what he had conquered on each step. Some decent visuals and effects, yet for a highly advanced future it seemed a bit plane. Lack of holograms and such. The holopad being just a tablet seemed too plane. Battle room scenes were quite nicely done. Making battle room scenes with 80 people would have been impossible anyway. I recommend to read the book. It's a work of art and this movie just doesn't measure up.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Over/underacting by well known actors

5/10
Author: senutyenool from Awestralia
17 January 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

SGT Dap is either too dumbed down, or they definitely needed someone else to play this role and put not only some feeling but I think to make this role more believable use someone with military knowledge/background. The way the character is currently played, anyone with a skerrick of military background would laugh at this 'Sergeant' as he is a pussy, with no command behind his voice.

As for Ben Kingsley trying to portray a Kiwi (New Zealand) accent, ummmm, crap is the only description I can use to portray his mangling of the Kiwi accent. Obviously trying to get the Kiwi's to watch this movie, but all I can say is that they are going to be disappointed, very disappointed.

In closing, it was not a 'bad' movie, however, the 2 main 'critiques' above really let this movie down, also you could 'see' what was going to happen next, it was that predictable, which partially ruined the story as nothing untoward/unexpected happens.

And, no, I have not read the book/s.

Cheers

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Twisted Training

6/10
Author: 3xHCCH from Quezon City, Philippines
8 December 2013

"Ender's Game" is a science-fiction film about kids being recruited to be soldiers to fight aliens who threaten to destroy humanity. Andrew Wiggin (nicknamed Ender) was the youngest of three siblings, an elder brother Peter who hates him and a sister Valentine who is very devoted to him. Ender was recruited by Coronel Graff when he was observed to have the requisite temperament and leadership potential. He defied all the odds stacked against him by his wits and cunning, and finally being able to successfully destroy his targets in the ultimate simulation test. But he finds out that he has done more than the game he thought he was playing.

Lead star Asa Butterfield has grown up taller since his role two years ago in the Oscar-nominated film Hugo under Martin Scorsese. It is impressive that he has these two big films in a row, both with him playing the title role. He is obviously older than the book Ender (by 10 years!), but he was still able to show the vulnerability of this character underneath his military tactical genius.

The rest of the cast are an impressive mix of Academy-Award winning or nominated actors. Harrison Ford (nominated for Witness in 1986) energetically plays gruff Coronel Graff. Viola Davis (nominated for The Help in 2011) plays Graff's assistant Maj. Gwen Anderson. Hailee Steinfeld (nominated for True Grit in 2010) plays Ender's training pal Petra. Abigail Breslin (nominated for Little Miss Sunshine in 2006) plays Ender's loving sister Valentine. And finally Ben Kingsley (won for Gandhi in 1982) plays Mazer Rackham, savior of the human race in the second alien attack, who also became Ender's mentor.

This film is based on the first novel of what would be a series of five books by Orson Scott Card, aimed for the teenage-young adult crowd. The book contained a lot of psychological analysis of children and violence that underlie the action, which the movie cannot possibly completely convey.

The book also had much younger characters than what was shown on screen, like Ender was supposed to have been six years old only. The film nevertheless was a faithful enough adaptation, albeit rushed in parts in the name of cinematic license. It was able to bring to life the action in the training hall and the zero-gravity simulation rooms that would of course rely on the reader's imagination in the book.

The film's casting of short and hook-nosed Moises Arias as Bonzo Madrid is also puzzling, since the book describes Ender's tormentor in Battle School to be "a strikingly beautiful boy of aristocratic Spanish lineage." Arias is nothing like that physically at all, but the contrast of his Bonzo with Asa's Ender was strikingly ironic.

I found it strange that a movie about a devastating alien race never actually shows anything scary about these monsters or what they were supposed to have destroyed on Earth in the past. Instead we see a seemingly gentle and graceful leaf-like insect creature, so as the audience, we are not completely convinced about Ender's mission or Graff's true intentions.

So, "Ender's Game" is good enough as a sci-fi movie with young adult characters in the lead. For me though, the whole film, even with its spectacular special effects, feels strangely generic, and an amalgam of various similar movies in the past. Maybe I am just not its proper target demographic. 6/10.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

not bad. totally worth seeing if you like the book.

7/10
Author: Hermitage171 from United States
8 December 2013

This had some good points, and some bad points.

The first few scenes were very promising. The stuff with the monitor.

The 'drill sergeant' scenes with Dap are where the movie started to lose me. They were just too much of a cliché, and not very intelligent.

The battle room visualization was pretty cool. Kind of beautiful, actually. Not much time was spent on strategy, but that was a little vague in the book also, to be honest.

Strangely, Harrison Ford's Hyram Graff seemed like a bit of a weak link. Bad writing and direction, maybe. His speeches seem just a little too speechy and on the nose. He's also present just a little too much in the movie, whereas in the book it's driven home that he's a somewhat aloof top-level administrator, rather than someone whom the boys see around every single day.

The relationships among the different Battle School cadets all got pretty garbled, but that's natural when you consider the challenge of condensing all that stuff into one movie.

I don't know why they made Bonzo such a little guy. He was supposed to be big and scary in the book -- a lethal threat despite being unarmed.

I like what they did with Ender's fantasy computer game. Maybe a plot hole here and there, but they condensed that whole plot line in sort of a neat, creative way.

He's in the movie for like five minutes maybe, but Kingsley as Mazer Rackham was a fun bit of casting.

The spaceship battle scenes are very pretty! Big payoff there.

All in all, I'm not quite sure why this movie did so poorly. I can think of a few points where they could have made the dialogue a little less ridiculous, but I don't know if that's the real problem. The book is popular as heck, so I would have thought that would have driven box office receipts a little more. Obviously the studio made the same bet, and lost. Certainly the special effects were nice, but maybe it fell into a weird no man's land by being not sexy enough for some adult audiences, without being a particularly suitable movie for children, either.

Anyway, I'm glad I managed to see it before it left the big screen altogether, which happened sooner than I might have expected.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Almost great

6/10
Author: evan_harvey from Australia
5 December 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just watched Ender's Game. It was almost a great film. Almost. Here's why: The director (who also wrote the screenplay) obviously didn't read the book. Or if he did, he didn't understand it. It's been a long time since I read the book, but from memory here's the main problem with the film.

At some point in the original story, Ender is told that the Buggers are a hive mind. They attacked earth, thinking that humans were non-sentient. When they realised that the humans were actually individual sentient creatures, it was too late to reverse their mistake. That's why the Buggers never returned to earth again to fight. The film hints at this a couple of times, but it never says why.

This is a glaring omission from the film. Why is it so important? Because it makes everything Ender achieved worthless. The Buggers were never going to return to attack Earth, so the human pursuit to the Bugger homeworld was unnecessary. Ender, though thinking his part of the war was just a simulation, is responsible for the death of what was ultimately a peaceful civilisation. That is the great tragedy of Ender's game; all that death was unnecessary, and Ender was the unwitting architect of it.

By completely failing to understand this, the director made a film that is largely pointless. Yes, Ender was tricked into thinking the "command school" battles were just a simulation, but the full extent of the horror he inflicted on the Buggers is unsaid, and that demeans the whole story.

Poor, poor effort, Gavin Hood.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Easy Way

7/10
Author: Mek Torres from Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines
5 December 2013

Ender's Game was one of those books that has influenced generations, mostly modern young adult novels; a special kid who is chosen to save the day but has to go on a special school or place to apply what he is destined for. A film adaptation is pretty obvious and how it ended up is as intriguing as it gets. It's immediately gripping at the very start. Even though the film is able to introduce its concept cleverly, the film suffers for lacking enough interest in fleshing out the rest of its universe. But again, it works better at delivering its style. Ender's Game is a solidly made film that has plenty of ways to covered up some of the flaws and instead make the overall film inevitably entertaining.

To be honest, the plot is well told. The real danger rather focuses on what the kids would end up after the military training than what the aliens would do to Earth. It's basic personal stuff towards Ender, which makes it quite gripping. While it decently follows its meat, the exposition moves too easy. The narratives may be straightforward and all, but there is a little sense of subtlety to the journey. At times it also feels cold. That's probably the result for not spending enough time developing Ender's relationship to the people around him. The film should have prioritized characterization as well to at least made some of its points compelling.

And so the humanity of the characters are somewhat now relied on the actors. Asa Butterfield has a built for a hero, but other than the witty side, he is able to express the character's angst quite well to be relatable. Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Ben Kingsley did what they had to do, and it's good enough for the roles. Most of the credit goes to the direction. Gavin Hood displays sorts of gorgeous shots around its Sci-Fi aesthetics. Following the camera easily brings a large adventurous experience along the way, providing vertigo and excitement. The visual effects obviously helps heightening things up. It's just great to look at and it's appropriately satisfying as a standard action blockbuster.

Ender's Game deserves to flesh things out more within the heart and the characters, but it's still a decently crafted movie. There's a sheer sense of adventure by the filmmaking. The world is already intriguing anyway, but there is definitely more interesting things that it might've developed to make it a lot more engaging. Again, it was the style that helped the audience thoroughly connect to the story. Ender's Game may not be as sensational as some other YA films out there, but it gets its job done well to keep it away from the worse ones.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An Excellent Presentation of the Novel on the Big Screen

9/10
Author: Zhang Qi from Singapore
30 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really want to thank Gavin Hood for coming out with such an excellent movie which really presents the gene of the book. I am a huge fan of the Sci-fi book Ender's Game. Although the opinion of an ordinary girl half the Earth away may seem trivial to you, I still want to thank you for showing a reader a world I thought only existed in imagination.

Unlike some other Sci-fi movie (I don't want to mention name here) which fall into the easy track of piling up fancy battle scenes and advocating individualistic heroism, this piece of art work is a loyal presentation of the essence of the book. I do enjoy the breath-taking demonstration of the battle room and the inter-stellar war in this movie, but what I appreciate most is how it depicts Ender, the main and most complicated character in the book. This movie shows a true Ender, so the audience can see both a fragile and incredibly strong boy. The director even managed to show the deep influence on him by his cruel brother with minimum scenes with Peter.

War is never the emphasis, but Peace is. I'm glad that although training and fighting are important scenes of the movie, it did not stop there. On the contrary, it raises the question that why we have to fight this war, and whether there is any chance of peace, which is consistent with the idea of the book: every civilized species in the universe should be treated equally and with respect.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Fun & exciting. Geared toward teens but adults will like it as well. The violence isn't anything for parents to be worried about

7/10
Author: Tony Heck (cosmo_tiger@hotmail.com) from United States
25 November 2013

"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." After an attack on Earth by an alien race the International Military Academy will do anything it take to keep it from happening again. Colonel Graff (Ford) is in charge of training and finding the future leaders. When he watches a young soldier named Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) he thinks he has found the future. I will do this review in two parts. First of all this is a fun and exciting movie that is geared toward teens but adults will like it as well. The effects are great and the violence isn't anything for parents to be worried about at all. For then entertainment factor alone I recommend this for all families. The second part is about a deeper meaning. I could be reading way too much into this and I don't mean to get political but the movie is kind of a metaphor for the Iraq war. I don't want to give anything away but if you go into it with that mindset you will see what I mean. I know the book it is based off of is older then the war but when you watch it you will see what I mean. Anyway what I'm trying to say is that this is a good family movie that I recommend. Overall, exciting and entertaining and me and my son both liked it. I give it a B+.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

It is NOT Gravity

7/10
Author: Justin Ng from Shanghai
11 November 2013

Here's a few things I will say about this one.

1. It is not Gravity. Which meant, it's probably not FILM OF THE YEAR, National Film Registry (Hollywood Hall of Fame) future inductee materials, it is not LIFE OF PI (inspirational EPIC), also Ender's Game didn't have the luxury to have Tarantino to direct the show (so NOT a cool type movie), it will not blow yr mind or inspire you to change yr life etc, but...

2. It is a solid sci-fi thriller, well done, good acting, OKish special effect (again, gentle reminder, NOT GRAVITY), lack of depth in story, a long winded like Peter Jackson would probably produce a more detail and added more EPICness into this great material. Personally, kind of feel like it was too rush, probably a longer director cut will do the film more justice. Well, it work for THE ABYSS, not sure bout this one.

3. DO NOT READ ANY SPOILER / WIKIPEDIA PAGE about the story line. Pls don't do it, I regretted this a lot, take away an important plot twist which kind of ruined the fun at the end.

4. Why Ben Kingsley has an Oscar while Ford has none, well watch this film and you will know why. Old BEN has like a 5 minutes cameo and yet stole every scene possible. Butterfield kid was good, not Harley Joel Osment's Six Sense good, just quite good. The rest kind of fall flat. This is a waste to a list of talented cast, due to the rushness. A 180 minutes run time would probably better to showcase this wonderful scifi tale. Just IMO, didn't ask you to like it.

5. Get to know that the director (Hood) from South Africa too. Kind of worry he will shake his camera like his fellow country men did in Elysium, luckily he didn't, which was good. It can be quite violent at time, not for kid, especially when children saw what Ender did to his foe. Take this as a warning.

Thanks for reading, enjoy the film.

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