Coming to theatres this Friday from director Gavin Hood and Summit Entertainment comes the highly anticipated ENDERS GAME.
This film tells the story of Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a young man who has the extraordinary ability to solve complex problems. While in military school he is watched by Col. Graff (Harrison Ford) for a specific purpose. Chosen to go off planet and train, he leaves behind his sister Valentine (Abigail Breslin) and parents.
Earth was attacked by aliens called the Formics seventy-years ago and now the human raced will do whatever is necessary to prevent it from happening again. Ender is chosen to work his way up in the ranks rather quickly but it’s not without problems. Major Anderson (Viola Davis) sees Ender as having difficulties with his environment. Often bullied by others, Ender always manages to find a solution – even if a violent one at times.
Sent to train at Battle School with Petra (Hailee Steinfeld), Bean (Aramis Knight), and Alai (Suraj Partha), he becomes their commander in the Dragon group. As a group they hone their skills and knowledge of how to save humanity.
What Ender doesn’t know is that something is reaching out to him – but is it to late?
FINAL WORD: Butterfield is fine as Ender. He has the look and ability to freeze his emotions when necessary. What is interesting is that he can be quiet tough one moment and turn on the water works the next. I did have a difficult time believing he could hold his breath so long without the use of the respirator – perhaps more of his many talents.
Ford, yes, Harrison Ford as Col. Graff. It’s interesting to watch Han Solo manipulate his way into getting what he really wanted – a kid who could win for everyone. I’m not sure I ever really warmed up to the character but perhaps that was the intent. I just didn’t see ‘acting’ in this character – I just saw Harrison Ford.
It’s always lovely to see Viola Davis but I kind of want to ask what she’s doing in this film? The character is motherly but doesn’t see it through if that makes sense. Breslin as Valentine is another role that’s fine but not much substance.
Now, the kids from the Battle School – they were kinda cool! Steinfeld is the Princess Lea, if you will, and hopefully we don’t find out Ender is her brother! She is a strong female presence in a male dominated school. I kept thinking ‘you go girl!’
Knight and Partha are solid characters and embrace the quality of what it means to have friendships based on strength, loyalty and a bit of fun.
Other cast include: Moises Arias as Bonzo Madrid, Khylin Rhambo as Dink Meeker, Jimmy Pinchak as Peter Wiggin, Nonso Anozie as Sergeant Dap, Conor Carroll as Bernard, Caleb J. Thaggard as Stilson, Cameron Gaskins as Slattery and Sir Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give ENDERS GAME three tubs of popcorn out of five. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy the film; it’s just that I found myself thinking ‘wow, this is a glorified STARSHIP TROOPER’. That was a film I still to this day enjoy because when Neil Patrick Harris meets a bug – I mean what else can be said!
The special effects are very cool but there isn’t anything here I haven’t seen before in that department. Again, the Battle School scenes are pretty good when it comes to tactics and maneuvers.
Orson Scott Card, the author of ENDER’S GAME and its sequel SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD and ENDER’S SHADOW are used in schools. Card has received both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for his books. So it would seem we shall see more of Ender!
I’m sure fans of the book will be thrilled with what they see. I’d be even more curious to talk to someone whose read all the books and get their take. That is an iffy proposition because I don’t much care for potential future film spoilers. I guess I’ll have to wait.
In the end – the future must be won.
For more information on films and television visit Movie Maven.