Ender’s Game is Beautiful, Beguiling and a Bit of a Headscratcher
- Friday, November 01, 2013
DVD Release Date: February 11, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: November 1, 2013
Rating: PG-13 (for some violence, sci-fi action and thematic material)
Genre: Science Fiction
Run Time: 114 min.
Director: Gavin Hood
Actors: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Aramis Knight, Moises Arias, Suraj Partha, Jimmy Jax Pinchak
Long before Katniss Everdeen was introduced to the masses in Suzanne Collins’ bestselling novel The Hunger Games, children were put in equally gut-wrenching life and death scenarios in Orson Scott Card’s much-beloved Ender’s Game, which released back when Wham! was popular in 1985.
Set in a dystopian world where big families are strongly discouraged (over-population is just one of many problems), Ender (Asa Butterfield, Hugo) is considered an “extra” because he’s already got an older brother, Peter (television actor Jimmy Jax Pinchak) and sister, Valentine (Abigail Breslin, The Call). If being the unnecessary sibling wasn’t already enough to give him a complex, Ender is scrawny, pale and a regular victim of bullying. Basically, he’s living out every teenager’s definition of hell.
In what’s the perfect set-up for the inevitable David and Goliath-style battle, Ender is also incredibly smart, a quality that isn’t going unnoticed. While he doesn’t know it at the time, Ender’s knack for solving problems, his underlying sense of compassion without compromise and mature coping mechanisms are considered assets by a prestigious group of military leaders. As these higher ups strategize how to best solve the war on alien terror (more on that in a minute), Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford, 42) and Major Gwen Anderson (Viola Davis, Prisoners) have pinpointed the world’s smartest children as the best hope for mankind’s continued survival.
Turns out, seventy years before, a good chunk of Planet Earth was annihilated by the Formics, an unsightly but cunning ant-like species. Fearing that another attack is imminent, preparations are now underway for ending the alien race for good. Of course, this is where those chosen children come in. Thanks to their moldable minds, quick reflexes and computer savvy, they’ll be playing a key role in saving the world.
As the titular character, Butterfield, who resembles a young Jonathan Rhys Meyers, is perfectly cast. Not only does he fit the profile of a reluctant hero perfectly, but Butterfield also lends a real emotional gravitas to the film’s central debate on the ethical and political implications of war, not to mention the rather timely issue of bullying.
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