Movie Review: ENDER’S GAME (2013)

Published by Shah Shahid on

As uninteresting as this seemed during its release, ENDER’S GAME wasn’t half as bad as one would think. The movie is somewhat interesting with some good performances and even more rapid fire pacing.

Blank Page Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Vomit Bags


ENDER’S GAME is all about an Earth that was attacked by Aliens decades ago. Since then, the preparation of war has become the biggest priority by training Children as soldiers, due to their ability to process complex data faster and more efficiently than adults. The entire world is governed by this fear of another attack, and this fear dominates every facet of their lives, including even having children for the sole purpose defending the planet. One such child, Ender, has all the attributes to lead the Earth fleet to victory against the Aliens hailing from another planet. However, there are many layers as to how this has to happen and the expense at which this child will become a savior.

The story is unique and it’s interesting to watch the events unfold, all of which happens from the lead character, Ender’s point of view. Right away he’s shown as having the inherent qualities that is needed in a leader, as determined by Colonel Graff, played by Harrison Ford, who nudges and manipulates him in displaying the remaining attributes required of him. Being handpicked to join the next phase of training, Ender is basically foretold by all concerned that he will become the hero they need, which is creepy, as it his progression through the ranks which seems quick and surgical. The film is able to adequately hold one’s interest due to some very fast pacing, however, the progression of story also feels rushed because to this. The rate at which Ender climbs up the command chain, seems way too quick for a position that has the weight of the whole world behind it. The film fails to convey a proper sense of time lapse that other movies of this type show when the main character grows and develops over a period of time. The character growth in ENDER’S GAME seems to happen in a matter of days.

Asa Butterfield as Ender & Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff

‘step into your leadership role son’

Asa Butterfield as Ender himself is very good in this role. His inexperience is evident, however, he is able to carry the film on his shoulders while going through the motions required of him by the character. His deliveries and expressions are, at times very dull and monotone, but that works with the somewhat coldness of the character, which was established in story. Harrison Ford is the only big name actor in this film, and he provides some great dynamic between Ender and Graff, always putting pressure on the young boy to be the Leader the world needs.

The moral quandaries of a world that uses children to fights its wars are also discussed in the story. Viola Davis, plays Major Anderson, colleague of Colonel Graff, who always butts heads with him over the treatment of these children and brings up some great points about the ethical justification of what their society has become. There are some debate invoking talking points about how fear of invasion and the threat of eradication has caused the world to become so blindsided that they are subjecting children to the rigors of military training at prepubescent ages and are thrusting upon the pressures of life and death decision making , thereby losing their own humanity. The film would’ve been better served if these  angles were pursued further, however, given the target demographic of young adults for a film such as this, it’s easy to understand why such heavy-handed concepts were intentionally glossed over.

Ben Kingsley & Asa Butterfield

While ENDER’S GAME acts as a rushed and somewhat ineffective film in terms of its storytelling, the story invites intrigue, and the performance of Asa Butterfield keeps one interested in ‘what will happen next’ and, along with the fast pace, allows one to enjoy the film as a light and entertaining film aimed at young adults without the violence and complexities of the usual science fiction movie.

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Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


Wendell · August 20, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Well thought out review. Still, this one didn’t quite work for me. Like you said, the themes that would make it really thought provoking are glossed over. Ender progressed way too quickly, or seemed to anyway. Finally, that ending was completely anti-climactic.

CMrok93 · August 21, 2014 at 2:37 AM

Good review Shah. It’s a very weird tone that keeps the movie away from saying much at all, nor actually bringing any excitement out of its stor. It’s just sort of stuck in the middle of something.

    Shah Shahid · August 21, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    I agree. I was intrigued to keep watching, mostly due to the behavioural sets up that pushed the cahracter towards a `leadership role`, but other than the the film was quite… nothing.

    Thanks for stopping by man.

Nostra · October 17, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I liked the final twist, but overall thought the movie was quite a letdown.

    Shah Shahid · October 19, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    I heard they planned a few sequels originally, but the unimpressive BO performance of this negated any follow ups.

    Thanks for stopping by as always.

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