Movie Title: Ender’s Game
Date Released: November 1st, 2013
Date Seen: November 2nd, 2013
Seen With: Dad
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
The movie is about Ender, a boy chosen for his intellect to train at battle school – a space training center for the future commanders of war, in the event an alien race ever attacks again. The idea is that children have minds that process complicated tasks more easily than adults and they can make decisions that adults normally would not. A silly premise, but apparently the book is good with a “deeper message” than the movie. I wouldn’t know, I haven’t read it. I’ve just seen this movie which is all I have to go off of. Going into the movie, I knew the basic premise of the plot (what I stated below), and I also knew the twist at the end. My sister told me because I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to read a book with a premise that stupid. So, yes, I knew the twist going in. But, not that it matters, because it’s blatantly obvious the whole movie what is going on. This was one of my problems with the movie. But, unfortunately it also helped the movie. Why? Without the blatant obviousness of what was going on, you’d have no chance of liking the movie.
As the children think that they are on the battle ship preparing for a future war, and we never see the aliens, nor is there any threat of war, we don’t really care or get into the action. We have no need to care about the war, and as such it creates no conflict and the movie is boring to watch.
Being someone who has never read this book, I went into this movie hoping for a good sci-fi movie. Unfortunately, it’s not great. The problem with the movie is the “twist”. The movie (and the book) have a twist that makes it so you never really care what is going on to the characters. There’s never a sense of real adventure, real action, real drama, because of how the movie is set up. It’s not the movies fault, really, it’s just that they tried to stay true to the book which caused the movie to be boring. It dragged on for way to long, and by the time you realized what was going on, it was too late and you don’t care. There are some very cool scenes, mostly involving the Battle Room. It is a room where the students train in a gravity less sphere, in a kind of capture the flag like game. Those scenes were very fun and interesting to watch – and I imagine if you’ve read the book they would be a very cool set of scenes to see come to life. It was especially cool during these scenes to see it in IMAX. I’m very glad I did, and seeing it in IMAX made this a 6.5 movie instead of just a 6.
The cast was alright, I felt the kids ages were off – way too old. And this is being someone who doesn’t know much about the book. Also, the adults were all super creepy, especially Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley. Not necessarily the actors fault more just the writing of the characters.
I’d say skip the movie, wait until it’s on DVD and watch it, unless a fan of the book. Then it would be cool to see these scenes, especially the battle room, come to life. Otherwise, wait a bit. But for sure see it in IMAX, if you do see it in the theater, it is worth it.
Part 2 – In Depth Spoiler Ridden Review
So, since the whole plot revolves around the children thinking they’re playing a training game, and we also never see any threat of the aliens coming to attack – there is ZERO tension in the movie. The movie tries to build up the final graduation battle, but you just don’t care about it because it’s a graduation battle. Who cares. They’ll graduate but when do we get to see real stuff. It’s kind of obvious that they’re really fighting, based on how the adults react to a lost battle, but still. This was the main problem with the movie.\
Another problem was the awkward relationship between Ender and his sister. From the trailers I totally thought they were dating, but no, apparently she’s his sister. Creepy. They don’t act like siblings either. There is an awkward moment where they go on a romantic boat ride, with an easel looking thing on the boat (for no reason), and Ender paddling it with a big stick into the sunset with his sister. She was really there for no reason. I think maybe the siblings are a bigger deal in the book, but in the movie that whole relationship was just odd.
The fact that I saw it in IMAX brings this movie up from a 6 to a 6.5. Skip it unless you’re a fan of the book, otherwise, don’t bother. There is no tension, no drama, and creepy adults watching kids play video games and capture the flag (albeit in a gravity-less room, the only cool part).