Ender's Game Review

Ender’s Game is a 2013 American military science-fiction action film based on Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel of the same name.

I read Orson Scott Card’s scifi masterpiece when it was first published in 1985 and at the time, I was thinking that it was a superb cross of Starship Troopers and Lord of the Flies. It’s one of my favourite stories and you can imagine my emotional state as I was watching this film adaptation. Yes, I was crying like a baby. The adaptation is very faithful (I believe Card made that a condition of the option and license) and director Gavin Hood did a fairly reasonable job in getting the main plot points and themes of the book across. This achievement is aided by the strong cast with Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and the young Asa Butterfield giving solid performances.

For the uninitiated, the IMDB plot summary –

The International Military seek out a leader who can save the human race from an alien attack. Ender Wiggin, a brilliant young mind, is recruited and trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth.

However, as expected, most of the novel has been gutted in order to deliver a movie under two hours and much of the basis of Ender’s characterizations (i.e. his siblings Valentine and Peter) is almost completely left out. Also, the children are older and the violence level toned down to render the storyline more palatable to a younger (teen) audience. But what Hood has managed to get spot-on is the inherent tragedy of Ender’s character – the palpable sense of sadness (and cynicism) that permeates the entire narrative. There is no satisfaction in victory, only loss.

All of which makes me fear for the box office performance of Ender’s Game. I mean, it would be great if it made massive profits and ushered in a return to the darker, adult-oriented scifi movie (pre-Star Wars) and allowed for Speaker of the Dead to be adapted but of course, it won’t… will it?

Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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