BY CHRISTOPHER HASKELL
NOVEMBER 3, 2013
This review may act as a spoiler, so stop reading now if you wish to be completely surprised. Occasionally in working for the industry and passionately partaking in the marketing for feature films, there come causalities like “Ender’s Game,” which completely telegraph their ending. Ask anyone who actively avoids trailers and they’ll tell you that they give away too much of the film, so that they are expecting certain sequences or they’re able to guess how the film will end just from the two minutes of footage. “Ender’s Game” did not even try to keep their secrets hidden, perhaps banking on the fact this was a popular book series that has been around for quite some time. Regardless, the tagline to the posters and trailer is “This Is Not A Game,” which could be innocent enough. But entering into this film with the idea that this isn’t a game, then telegraphs the ending, which could potentially be a complete surprise for anyone like myself who has never experienced the book. That being said, a film cannot be completely based on the strengths of its twist, and although this caused a somewhat mild annoyance, the film must go on.
Asa Butterfield was a strong choice to play Ender, who often embodies the leadership qualities that Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) sees in him. Butterfield never appears false in his role and carries the film nicely from start to finish. The script carries as many morals as I would expect from a children’s novel and has strong ties to fellow boy wonder stories such as “Harry Potter.” With some seriously dark undertones in the rights and wrongs of genocide, intergalactic or not, the film’s dialogue brings up some strong points on pushing people past their breaking points for the good of the world. Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Ben Kingsley fill out the more important and sparse adult roles while the rest of the film rides on the child actors including appearances by Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld. Had I read the books, this film would probably have held more stock for me, but instead, it falls a bit flat on its CGI-heavy demeanor and heavy-handed moral strategy. “Ender’s Game” shows the importance of less is more, and with several sequels to the book, we’ll see what will become of this potential franchise following this mishap.
November 1, 2013
by Orson Scott Card
(for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material)
Orson Scott Card