2013 / Director. Gavin Hood.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I'm late to the party. I missed ENDER'S GAME at the cinemas and it took me forever to catch it on blu-ray. But alas I got there and now I'm spewin' that I didn't get the big screen experience. What a wonderful film! I was familiar with the story but confess to never reading the novel. I know that it was beloved and that studios spent many years trying to adapt it... and so I watched it with film-eyes and with no judgement or desire to compare it with the book. What I saw, I loved and whether or not it was faithful to it's source was irrelevant to me. Set several centuries in the future, Earth is recovering from an alien invasion which killed multiple of millions of people. Mankind won the battle but fear retaliation and so a deep space military program has been implemented to harvest some of Earth's youngest and most intelligent minds. Smart children are conscripted and put through years of realistic war-games. One particular child, Ender, stands out above the rest and the program's commander (Harrison Ford) believes him to be the one who will put an end to the conflict. It's important to bear in mind that ENDERS GAME is essentially a kid's movie. It plays out like a PG version of STARSHIP TROOPER and plays it's strengths to a family demographic. This, by no means, diminishes it. With smart casting and a wonderful lead actor, Asa Butterfield (Boy in the Striped Pyjamas), the film is both complex and simplistic. The intelligence of the cadets and the program they are put through is smart. The games are clever and the execution of the battle scenes is great. Its simplicity lies within the administration of the program. The only military personnel we see are a colonel, a major, a drill sergeant and former war hero. They appear to be the only adults of authority, which of course is unrealistic. But of course it's a science fiction film and sometimes less is more. We get only what we need to know. Kids will lap this movie up and most adults will too. It is very much a sci-fi for a generation and perhaps it will have a legacy in some years to come. I hope so.