Ender’s Game (Review)

So my fiancé took me out the other night to see Ender’s Game.  Now, as a huge SciFi fan, he had read the book multiple times, as well as read a few other books in the series.  This is a big deal, since he usually doesn’t like to read.  In this case, the bookworm (myself), did not read the book, and only had a faint idea as to what the movie was actually about.

Space.  Aliens.  Kids fighting in a war.  Perfect.  That’s like, every thing a girl could possibly want to see in a movie.  Not.

But hey, it meant a lot to the fiancé so I decided to give it a shot.  Besides, he was buying the tickets.  I’m not turning down free movie tickets for anything.  I even saw that horrible Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp because I got free tickets.  I’m still not sure on that one.  In that case, it might have been better not to accept the free tickets.

Anyway, Ender’s Game.

Oh, and I guess I should include this in here somewhere: CAUTION.  POST CONTAINS MOVIE SPOILERS.

Ahem.  Now, on with my post.

So the movie started out okay.  Some geeky little kid was getting bullied in school, and when he thinks he’s being kicked out he gets the bully back.  Right away the head honchos start making a big deal about Ender’s thought processes.  He thinks things out rationally.  Everything he does is calculated.  It’s almost inhuman.  But considering the society these kids are forced to grow up in, its not surprising.  At one point the parents mention they had to ask permission to have Ender, their third son.  If that doesn’t say loads about the society, I don’t know what does.  Almost reminds me of The Giver.  And that was some creepy shit.

In the beginning we have it shoved in our faces that Ender is special. It’s pretty obvious that the main army dude thinks he could be the next hero.  Kinda like Fable.  You know who the hero is before you even get involved in the story.  But that’s okay.  There are other things that go on with Ender that make the blatant “yer a wizard Harry” easier to deal with.

For starters, Ender has a brother.  Right away, through his conversations with his sister, it’s easy to see that Ender is afraid or uncomfortable in regards to his brother.  Ender talks about his brother with his sister behind his brother’s back.  When he gets caught he seems terrified, and rightly so. This isn’t just a normal sibling squable, his brother immediately locks the sister out of the room and proceeds to try and kill Ender.

Again, not a healthy lifestyle.  It’s made clear in the movie that Ender’s older brother had severe anger issues, and they even led to him being kicked out of the military school that Ender believed he too had been expelled from.  This relationship doesn’t just disappear though, instead it eats at Ender throughout the entire movie.  Ender has anger issues of his own, and he must constantly face both those issues and the fear that he is just like his brother.

This becomes more apparent during the major turning point for Ender.  While defending himself from a bully, Ender almost kills a fellow student.  Now, anyone can see that it was quite clearly an accident, and that Ender was defending himself.  But to Ender, a boy forced to grow up to fast, he believes he has turned into his brother.

This breaking point later turns and gives Ender the strength to continue his training.  With some help from his sister.  She is his ground.  She reminds Ender constantly that he is not his brother.  That he is Ender.  She is the good angle on his shoulder, having also been kicked out of the program for being too compassionate.

The story keeps up a good pace, and keeps events interesting until the end.  The major plot twist at the end was as shocking to me as it was to Ender, who then had to cope with the fact that he had committed genocide.

They even have a neat play on words, with the title being able to reference two separate but interlinking events.  The “game” Ender plays, which he doesn’t realize is real, and the mind game he plays throughout the course of the movie.

For someone who had never read Ender’s Game, or any book pertaining too Ender’s Game, I thought the movie was very well done.  It was engaging and suspenseful.  The main character was well rounded and deep.  He wasn’t the perfect hero, he was cracked many times and almost broken.  We were able to empathize with Ender, and question the morality of training young kids for war.  We were able to relate to Ender as a person, and understand how the life he lived had affected him. 

You don’t come out of a life like that normal and perfect.  You come out already damaged.  This needed to be shown to the audience to even remotely create a life-like character.

I think in this, the movie was a tremendous success.  I rooted for Ender, I crossed my fingers for him, heck I even almost cried for him.  When he expressed his rage over being tricked in the end, I was right there with him.  fuming and angry.  I supported his choices after.  In just two hours this movie did what many movies do not: they delivered a fantastic world, a realistic and lovable hero, amazing plot twists, and some edge of the seat suspense.

I’m not sure there is anything left for me to say about the movie.  I felt it was fantastic, and I’m even more eager to read the book now. Heck,maybe even books.

My only complaint was I felt there was a jump Ender makes that the end that was rather sudden and hard to follow.  I felt that the mind game should have perhaps gotten more attention, so that the audience could have more easily made the connection along with Ender.

But that’s a very small complaint in a sea of praise.

Having not read the book, I don’t know what they left out, but it didn’t seem like much at all.

I also want to add that while I state the movie blatantly gave us info about the world and the characters, they were careful to show, not tell.  They gave out such information tactically, in conversations or denarious we could see real people becoming involved in.  Sure, we didn’t have to guess at a whole lot, but it wasnt a long-winded narration.

Example.  Very few times did Ender mention his problems with his brother.  Instead it was the way he reacted in the aftermath of his anger.  His facial expressions, his withdrawal.  It was had to miss, yes.  But it was shown, not told.

The movie does the same thing when bringing for the ethics of child soldiers.  It is brought up in discussions (arguments) between various adults who would realistically argue about such things, as well as in the mentality of many of the kids.  Most seem to have Ender’s quickness to kill and anger.  Among other serious issues.

Once again, they show instead of telling.

Like I said before, I felt this movie did a fantastic job, and I highly recommend it for anyone who likes SciFi, whether they have read the book or not.

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About lvadams

I grew up in Central Florida for most of my life. I was one of those strange kids who liked to catch lizards and snakes, and brought everything home from stray kittens to baby chickens and ducks. I started writing around the age of 11 and never really stopped. I now have a Bachelor's of Science degree from Auburn University and hope to get a job working with animals. Until then I keep on writing. :)
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One Response to Ender’s Game (Review)

  1. Pingback: The Hunger Games (Book Review) | lvadams

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