Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Ender's Game

Leading up to the release of Ender's Game there was quite a bit of negative buzz about it. It was mainly from three groups. There were people who thought Orson Scott Card's, the writer of the novel on which the film was based, homophobic beliefs should have prevented it ever being made. There were people who looked at the directors previous film, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and thought Ender's Game would be an equally awful disaster, and finally, the hard-core fans of the book who feared the narrative would be too scaled down and gutted in film form.


Well first off, the idea that a book shouldn't be adapted to film simply because of an authors backwards thinking is just bullshit, as Ender's Game has nothing to do with his out-dated views. Secondly, Gavin Hood's previous films before Wolverine prove that, yes, he is indeed a pretty good director. And lastly, much like any book that is being adapted into a film, things will surely get cut out. It happens. But this is not to say Ender's Game is a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a solid action sci-fi backed up by something interesting ethical questions.

Taking place in the future, Ender's Game focuses on the story of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a young boy with the potential to save the human race. You see, five years prior to the start of the film an alien race known as the Formics attacked Earth and almost brought the human race to its knees. However their attack was halted by the actions of one brave commander, and now mankind must try and think of a way to best the Formics before a second attack. This comes in the form of recruiting children from a very young age, and training them to be flawless commanders with the help of various combat simulations. The film largely focuses on Ender's training, his relationships with other students and teachers in the battle school as well as some heavy questions about warfare.


If you're expecting a film wall-to-wall with massive, giant galactic battles and hordes of aliens laying waste to Earth... you'll be disappointed. Ender's Game is not that kind of film, but rather it's kind of like if Harry Potter, Starship Troopers and the first half of Full Metal Jacket had a baby, and that's a good thing! Instead of the typical Hollywood action sci-fi Ender's Game is a far more character driver film, and one that is perfected by its wonderful cast. From Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley to Asa Butterfield who plays Ender himself, Ender's Game, though not as cerebral as the book it was based upon, is a breath of fresh air in a world of the all too common “summer blockbuster”. The relationships that unfold and grow within the battle camp makes Ender's Game a very worthwhile watch, while the actual training scenes, especially that of the Battle Room which has the kids fight in zero-gravity, is both thrilling and visually outstanding. 

Blu-Ray Extras
As expected, the BluRay edition of Ender's Game contains some pretty great extras. They are as follows:

Commentary from director Gavin Hood:While director commentary as an extra is a given nowadays, Hood's insights into the film are interesting and eye opening, most of which focus on how his own military knowledge helped directing the training scenes.

Producer commentary:Commentary with producers Gigi Pritzker and Roberto Orci aka the guy who ruined Star Trek.

Ender's World:The Making of Ender’s Game: An 8-part documentary that follows Ender's Game from its origins as the Orson Scott Card novel, to the process of turning it into a film. This documentary covers a lot of ground from production design, actor interviews and the creation of the zero gravity scenes. 

Inside the Mind Game:This extra almost plays out like a music video, with music playing over scenes of the making of the games Ender plays, from storyboarding, motion capture to the final CGI result.

Deleted/Extended scenes:Overall these scenes are a great companion piece to the film, and include one scene that technically would have spoiled the ending during the film. So do yourself a favour, for whatever reason do not watch these scenes before the film itself.


Overall Ender's Game is far better than it could have been. It could have been a typical Hollywood action flick, which, as you might know, I do love! Instead we're treated to an excellent drama backed up by a cast that is pretty much flawless. Sure, it could have been better, but all things considered, this is probably the best we could have hoped for.

Ender's Game is a pleasant zero-gravity surprise and gets a 4/5, []

Denis Murphy


Ender's Game at CeX



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