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Ender’s Game (2013) Review

Damn trailers, made me think this was rubbish and missed it in theatres. From the trailers I thought this was going to be some action film with tweens (barf) but it was much closer to what I heard of the book, psychological with lots of links to child armies and how wars can be justified from different viewpoints. The acting was good, the visuals where good. The characters are very interesting, and considering the age of the cast it’s rather impressive. If you are a fan of the book (never read it) or an avid history buff then watching this will be interesting, it’s also a very good view of war in general. I’ll go into much more detail below but for now bookmark this if you are waiting to see the film, if you have seen the film then check out the spoiler sections and I will look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

“After you had already won, why did you continue to hit him? Did you enjoy it?”

“Knocking him down was the first fight, I wanted to win all the others. So they’d leave me alone.” My favourite quote is in the spoiler section.

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Plot:

In the near future, a hostile alien race (called the Formics) have attacked Earth. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), all would have been lost. In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and the International Military are training only the best young children to find the future Mazer. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a shy, but strategically brilliant boy is pulled out of his school to join the elite. Arriving at Battle School, Ender quickly and easily masters increasingly difficult war games, distinguishing himself and winning respect amongst his peers. Ender is soon ordained by Graff as the military’s next great hope, resulting in his promotion to Command School. Once there, he’s trained by Mazer Rackham, himself, to lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended

Story: 85%     Acting: 90%     Characters: 85%     Dialogue: 95%

Action/Thriller/Sci-Fi: 100%     Style/Sound: 80%     Visuals: 90%

Total: 89%

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The story is much better than I thought it was going to be, that trailer is still annoying me. The best features of this film were the treatment of training and building up a Napoleon esc leader for a victory the high command craved. The lengths the command would go to, the ideas debated, what it was all for, why this was even necessary in the first place. The only complaint I would have of the story is that they appeared to have more content than time to tell it, quite common in book adaptations but it means the film has a lot of material which is very strong. Adding the dialogue to this paragraph as well, loved the lines in this film, got some real crackers for the commanders to Ender himself, actually one of the most stand out parts of the film was how the strong dialogue was handled between the adult cast and the younger cast members. Between Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford for example.

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The cast is very strong and so is the acting, I would say that the majority didn’t get as much attention as they may have deserved but I think the time restraints was to blame. Asa Butterfield did a great job as Ender Wiggin, and that isn’t an easy role to play at all, lot of stuff going on for that kid but the young actor got it working really well, very impressed. The majority of the adult cast where in the back stage of this film, which as it’s a story of a wars effects on young recruits makes sense, I was fascinated to learn a bit more about them though, Ben Kingsley’s role for example. Oh and Moises Arias is in this, playing a distinctly different character to his role in The Kings of Summer, he has range apparently.

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The visuals are really good, from both CGI and Practical effects. I can’t really give too many points to this part of the film because it wasn’t terrible focused on it. The majority of the film viewed the visuals as a means rather than a focal point. Like the game room and the battles, very much a monitor of events rather than an action, moving and rapid shot of the battle. From a realistic and Sci-Fi point of view this very interesting and cool but as an action battle it is a little duller than I or most people would expect. Not really a complaint but I can’t give any points for it either. This film reminds me an awful lot of Starship Troopers, from a strictly big picture overview, both about training armies, fighting bugs and in very different ways point out the cruelty of war. To most that would be an insult but from me it’s a massive compliment, Starship Troopers is one of my top ten sci-fi films of all time.

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SPOILER SECTION!!!

Leave this section if you haven’t seen the film, do it now! Ender slips leaving the ship and shoots himself in the head!!!, no wait that World War Z, I told you to leave though. On a serious note though, that ending was very impressive, didn’t read the book and avoided spoilers so I didn’t know that the whole final exam battle was real. I had a feeling that it was something along those lines but the acting and the cast did a great job of hiding it and the reveal is rather heart breaking to watch, Ender’s is now an accidental mass murderer, interestingly not genocide because he didn’t knowingly commit the crime. Still it’s a great thrilling end, although it does continue with Ender walking off with a queen egg, sequel? So what did everyone think of the end of the film? Sound off in the comments.

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Trailer:

The best reviews I found would be these:

“While I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ender’s Game for the things it does right, its flaws can’t be ignored. When it’s in its element, however, Ender’s Game is an immensely entertaining science fiction movie that hits a lot of the right notes, and is still able to present a satisfying viewing experience even amidst its shortcomings.” William Jepma. Full Review

“Strong performances by Asa Butterfield (who has perfected the art of tearing up on screen), Harrison Ford (thankfully, after so many duds lately) and Hailee Steinfeld. Several of the supporting castmembers filled their roles in a “supporting” manner. Ender’s Game is a scifi adventure that is better than most with a story that is not overly recycled and therefore can be seen as refreshing to a degree. Contradictions, conflict and character development both help and hinder this game and make the film a mediocre great movie worth seeing on the big screen.” The Focused Filmographer. Full Review

“There may be a very strange demographic that this movie is for, but Ender’s Game can’t quite figure who or what that is, so instead, gives us all the special-effects, action, sci-fi elements and social-messages it can possibly handle, but doesn’t do much to really build towards anything that could be deemed “exciting”.” Dan the Man’s Movie Reviews. Full Review

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Spoiler

My favourite scene would have to be the reveal by the Colonel, it was a fantastic piece of acting on both parts and really strong way to end the sci-fi war story.

Ender Wiggin: “What is this? Why are we watching these images?” 

Colonel Hyrum Graff: “Ender. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Thank God for you son.”

Ender Wiggin: “Why are these images in the program?”

Colonel Hyrum Graff: “Ender. We won.”

Ender Wiggin: “What do you mean we won? I beat him. He runs the simulations. He said it was a game.”

Mazer Rackham: “It was them or us Ender. There was no other way.”

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films Mwahahahahaha!

75 responses to “Ender’s Game (2013) Review”

  1. Aaron Mulholland says :

    This makes me laugh Tim, because I told you countless times to get your arse to the cinema and watch this damn film. I’m glad you finally watched it and agreed it was a good film.

    Overall it was a good film, i watched it then decided to read the book. The film was in fact very little of the book and it differed quite drastically in some cases. However it wasn’t bad, but I prefer the book. I’m currently reading the direct sequel, Ender In Exile, which i do hope they progress to movie-fy because even when they cut stuff out, its good to have a visual representation of the book you’ve been reading.

    I would advise to give the book a go, it certainly is worth it, especially if you enjoyed the film. 89% isn’t bad although I’d have said at least 90%. (Hardly fair knocking it back by a solitary percent! haha)

    Like

    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Ha yes you were right, but I will skip a thousand films just to piss you off 😀

      Not sure if a sequel is coming, the film didn’t make all that much money. Don’t get your hopes up 😦

      Like

  2. jeffro517 says :

    Great review! I think this is as good an adaptation as we were going to get unless this was turned into a mini-series. The story, as it’s told in the book, is so much more deep and intense. I think this was an awesome movie and I’m glad you finally saw it.

    Like

    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Thanks. I have heard the book is deeper and like you said unless we had spread it out amongst multiple films or a well funded mini series it was never going to get all the material in. However this was a very good try 😀

      Like

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