Starring: Asa Butterfield (Hugo), Hailee Stenfield (Romeo and Juliet), Harrison Ford (Paranoia), Viola Davis (Prisoners), Aramis Knight, Ben Kingsley (Iron Man 3), Moises Arias (The Boys of Summer), Khylin Rhambo, Nonso Anozie (The Gray), Conor Carroll (Phoebe in Wonderland), Abigail Breslin (The Call)
The book based on the best-selling series by Orson Scott Card is about a young boy who is recruited to military school to train to take down the alien race that threatens to take over the Earth.
The movie starts off with introducing Andrew ‘Ender’ Wiggins (Butterfield) in school and how he’s being monitored by Graff (Ford) and Anderson (Davis). They remove his monitor and then watch as he lashes out against a bully.
At home, we see what his life is like with his brother and sister, Valentine (Breslin). Graff and Anderson show up and recruit him to join the military.
When Ender gets there, he is quickly alienated and doesn’t get any friends until after he stands up for Alai (Partha).
After finding success in the classroom, Ender gets promoted to the Salamander group, led by Bonzo (Arias). He doesn’t like Ender because he’s small and thinks he will show him up. A fellow Salamander, Petra (Steinfield) takes Ender under her wing and teaches him the ropes.
Ender continues to grow in the training, impressing Graff. Graff continues to push him, much against what Anderson wants. When Ender reaches the and of his training, he gets a team of people that he’s trusted along the way and they all get tested in a way that they’ve never been tested before.
There is some mixed feelings about this movie. It did stray quite a bit from the story (like for starters the lead character Ender is 14-looking rather then 6 years old like he is in the book). But it did stay true to the heart of the story which is find that place between compassion and anger.
Asa Butterfield did a good job for the role. He was a highly intelligent boy who stood up for what he believed in, no matter what happened. He did everything smarter then everyone and surprised his superiors over and over again.
The rest of the cast was pretty tight. You could see the chemistry forming amongst his squad and could see that if this were real, they really would trust him. The veterans of the cast (mainly Ford, Davis, and Kinglsey) did provide depth to the cast but it was Davis’s character as Ender’s psychologist that really stole the show. She tried to make Ford’s Graff have sympathy towards the soldiers especially Ender when he tried to push him too hard.
The movie did try and make the transitions between stages but it felt a bit rushed. There weren’t ay indications to show the passing of time and it seemed like he was only on the plane for maybe a few months. I wish they would have done more sequences passing time, allowing the illusion that Ender had been working on his way up the chain.
The special effects were pretty cool, especially the end sequence. We are at the point in technology where it can be done to look realistic and I think that this movie really showed the abilities that computers have. The special effects were certainly the best part of the movie.
Overall, this is a fun movie to see for with the kids, but if you are a fan of the book series, then you will probably not like it. It’s not the best of adaptations but that could be because it’s virtually impossible to make the book into a 2 hour movie. If you have read the book before hand, you need to see the movie with an open mind.