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Most teenage students at some point were afforded the chance to read Orson Scott Card’s critically acclaimed world-wide best seller, Ender’s Game. I for one had elected to read it while studying literature in middle school and although at the time, may not have been in a position to appreciate fine literature like Ender’s Game (I skimmed most of the chapters and read just enough to pass the weekly tests) I still remember from what I read that it was a fantastic story. Since then I have picked up a hobby for reading, and this title is among those on my list to sit down and read through thoroughly. That all being said, I was pleasantly surprised with the film adaptation.
The movie picks up the action right from the opening scene where we see the first attack on earth from a formidable enemy known simply as “the formics”, an insect-like alien race bent on colonizing and consuming earths water supply.
After a long war, the earth and the human race are victorious in taking the formics down but at great cost. In an attempt to defend the earth from future attacks, an academy is created to train young children through rigorous tasks in zero-gravity, virtual simulations, and physical and mental competitions against one another. Among those newly accepted is Andrew Ender Wiggin, a child unlike any other with a genius intellect and unparalleled strategical tactics that nearly always make him victorious against his typically much larger opponents.
Ender’s confidence and brilliance move him forward in the ranks, but at the cost of being despised by his fellow cadets. He is soon isolated away from them only to realize he is a tool in a much larger set of schemes and games than he had realized.
Asa Butterfield (Ender) is immediately likable as the title character. It took only a few scenes for the young actor to show his skills on screen and truly step into the role of Ender Wiggin and establish a strong connection with the audience. Asa is accompanied by the likes of Harrison Ford who plays Colonel Graff, the officer responsible for enlisting Ender into battle school, and Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham, a legend and war hero. The latter of which does not make an appearance until late into the second half of the film, but rest assured, Ford and Kingsley both carry their weight in the movie. Adding to the more well known names, the movie has a few familiar faces in lesser roles such as Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld among others, all of whom really solidify the movie into a strongly cohesive and well-rounded group of characters that fit nicely into the movies premises.
This may sound somewhat crazy, but this may very well have been the first time I was quite literally on the edge of my seat for the entire duration of a film. Not since Marvel’s Avenger’s have I had this much fun going to the theater. In questioning myself if I was the only one who felt this way, I looked around to notice my fellow theater patrons all covering their mouths during intense moments and biting their knuckles in anticipation with what would come next in following scenes.
A few of the more impressive pieces to take note of in the movie were the battle rooms and usage of zero-gravity. Most of the characters competed in a wide-open room where they were tested in combat against teams in the absence of gravity. It was absolutely stunning to watch these scenes play out and Asa’s execution of his character in each and every one of these scenes could quite possibly put him on the hot list for future movies to come. Having not heard of the young actor prior to the announcement of his casting, his fine work in Ender’s Game will surely not be the last we see of him.
With all the above said and done, my final note is that if you do get around to seeing this film, see it in IMAX if possible. You’ll be glad you did. This could be the perfect movie-going experience complete with fun, excitement, suspense, well-written dialogue, and just the right amount of humor.
Here is the Official Trailer in case you missed it: