Posted by Mark Bridge On November - 6 - 2013 0 Comment

Other than comic books, young adult novels have become a go to source for film adaptations in recent years.  Some have succeeded in becoming a profitable franchise, while some were just a non starter.  Ender’s Game is hoping to become the next entry in the former group.  The film based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card, sees Earth years after an alien invasion where a battle school has been created to train warriors for a possible second invasion. Humanity has decided that children’s mind are better at tactics that an adult mind, so they are specifically bred for the purpose of war.  A young cadet by the name of Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) catches the eye of Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) who thinks he is one of the most gifted tacticians.  The way Graff manipulates both Ender and the people around him to make Ender into the leader he wants him to be was truly Machiavellian.

The film employs some grade A talented actors to bring these characters to life.  Harrison Ford brought the right amount of emotion and depth that Graff needed which some would consider an under stated performance.  It worked for the film and it made the emotional scene near the end with Ender and Graff stand out more.  Asa has the task of carrying the entire film.  He did a brilliant job of convincing us that Ender is as smart as the film says he is. There were some moments where his acting wasn’t quit on point.  But for the most part I quite enjoyed him as Ender.


Academy Award winner Viola Davis plays the sympathetic Major Gwen Anderson, whose job it is to assess the minds of the cadet.  Davis and Ford share a lot of screen time together, and those scenes did a wonderful job of building Ender’s character and revealing the personalities of Anderson and Graff.  Each are working towards the same goal for Ender’s future, but Anderson worries about how far they are willing to go.  Having Davis in the role was genius casting on the part of the filmmakers.  Then we have Ben Kinsley playing a character that I will not reveal here as to not spoil a surprise.  The tattooed face character he play has the most scene chewing dialogue out of all the characters.  That’s not a bad thing for this film as I just see it as part of the character’s charm.  Rounding out the rest of the cast are the kids that Ender meets while attending battle school.  They are all talented and are able bring different personalities each of their characters.

Director Gavin Hood certainly redeems himself with his direction after the X-Men Origins: Wolverine debacle.  I especially like the pacing which is a result of the brilliant editing coupled with the score to move the film along.  It’s almost like the technique that Chris Nolan uses in his film to tell these complex narratives with the music and edit driving the plot.  The special FX where helped us to more immersed in that universe.  The scenes with Ender directing the fleet were exhilarating.


Ender’s Game is a worthy addition to the young adult genre film that I hope is will be able to expand its universe in other installment.  When the film was over I was eager to witness further adventures with the characters.  It was thrilling moment to moment, right up to the final epic battle.  This one is a must see.

Rating: ★★★★☆ Great

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Categories: Movie Reviews