Science fiction is a difficult genre. It is often hit or miss. Even if the movie you are making is based on a popular book, there is no guarantee that movie will be successful. "Ender's Game" has been a popular science fiction novel for a couple of decades and a lot is riding on the movie adaptation which hits theaters today, November 1, including in the IMAX format.
An alien race attacked Earth. We manage to fight them off and defeat them, but millions of people lost their lives in the process. We are now preparing for when the aliens come back, so the next time, we will be ready for them. It has been determined that our children will be the key to our future victory. The right child will command our forces like a video game, sending commands to different fighter ships. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) a meek looking boy, just may be that child.
The science fiction aspect works for "Ender's Game". The visual effects on an IMAX screen are eye popping. The movie is not being shown in 3D, but the special effects are so well done that it almost feels like it is, which just goes to prove you don't need 3D effects to enhance your movie if your effects can stand on their own.
Despite the great special effects, "Ender's Game" is not always a nail biting type of movie. It takes a good long while to get into it, but you eventually get caught up in the story and Ender's endeavors. Asa Butterfield is good in the movie, but not great. He can act, the problem is it LOOKS like he is acting. He doesn't always comes across naturally. Maybe it was the pressure of carrying a movie on his own, but he was great in "Hugo". Perhaps some of the blame should fall onto writer/director Gavin Hood. He is certainly no Martin Scorsese. His biggest directing gig was "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and that film is hardly anyone's top X-Men movie.
The school dynamics that are portrayed in "Ender's Game" helps keep thing interesting. The other students see Ender's potential and some are jealous of that. He gets bullied. but Ender finds a way to deal with those people one way or another. Moises Arias plays one of his rivals. For those of you who saw Moises in "The Kings of Summer" get ready to see him in an entirely different kind of light.
"Ender's Game" does support a very impressive supporting cast beginning with Harrison Ford who is no stranger to the world of science fiction. He plays Colonel Graff, a hard nose military man who believes in Ender's potential. Viola David works along side Ford as Major Gwen Anderson, she is Graff's Ying to her Yang. Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld and Ben Kingsley also have strong supporting roles.
There has been some controversy surrounding "Ender's Game" due to the original author's, Orson Scott Card, negative comments about gay marriage. There was even some talk of people boycotting the movie. Time will tell if that effects the box office this weekend. Science Fiction is not a lot of people's favorite genre and since this is just a solid good movie, but not a fantastic one, it may not even turn out to be the #1 at the box office. It is rated PG-13 some violence, science fiction action and thematic material.