Ender's Game (2013)

Ever watch a movie after you've read the book? Ever love that book and really want the movie to be great? Ever set yourself up for disappointment? Ever try to explain that the good movie was actually based on a spectacular book that should really still see the big screen?

If you know nothing about Ender's game, this movie presents it as a kind of version of Starship Troopers. In this version, they are looking for the smartest child to learn tactics and anticipate his or her opponent, as adults lack the imagination and ability to ignore consequences that is inherent to having little worldly experience. So, they will be more daring and consequently more frequently victorious.

Their enemy is a bunch of intelligent bugs clearly hell-bent on the destruction of humanity. They came to our planet once, and one brave man managed to lead humanity to victory. Now, they are looking for a second great tactician to save them from the looming bug menace. We can all assume, based on the title and they character we are following around that they are looking for Ender.

Harrison Ford looks a lot better than he did in the last few films I saw him in. I mean, they don't exactly get any extreme close ups, but he looks like a grizzled war veteran instead of just a really, really old guy like he does everywhere else. When it comes to acting, he usually brings his A game, and he brings it here pretty well. He manages to be gruff and unlikable while being likable and even a bit of Ender's mentor.

I don't remember seeing Asa Butterfield before, even though I must have seen him in The Wolfman. He plays the titular character here, and he does a very good job. Ender is supposed to be very cerebral, but the script really doesn't help us out here. I know what is supposed to be going on, what struggles he's dealing with, how he ascends to be the leader of his team, and his relationships with his family members, but this script leaves him and the movie in general a bit hollow.

Sir Ben Kingsley has a role in this movie as the human antagonist. He is supposed to help Ender become the leader that they need him to be. He does a much better job here than he did in A Common Man, and he certainly had better actors around him and a bigger budget to deal with in this one. His Australian accent is pretty decent, and he definitely has the acting chops to do pretty much whatever he wants.

There are some good actors in more supporting roles, and the effects were very good. The biggest problem with this movie comes back to the fact that they took a long book that was renowned for the detail and depth of characters, and they couldn't present it in 2 hours. Should it have been 3 hours? Quite possibly. Ender's rapid rise through the school barely gave him time to form relationships let alone actually do the things necessary to advance. Harrison Ford kept complaining that we didn't have enough time, and he was right. This movie didn't have enough time to tell the whole story. The story it told, however, was very good, and someone going in with no expectations may very well love it.

Direction was decent
Acting was great
Effects were great
Script was way too rushed
Story in general was great

4.0/5

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