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Chris Kavan's Movie Reviews (3245)

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Ender's Game 
Beloved Book; Average Adaptation
2.5/4 stars

This is one of those films I wasn't ever expecting to be made. A film adaptation of Ender's Game has been in the works for a long time - and considering it is still one of my favorite books of all time - I was wondering what the result would be when they eventually got around to making it. When it is all said and done, Ender's Game is a decent sci-fi film but pales in comparison to the book.

The main problem I have is that I just didn't feel a connection with the film. Asa Butterfield is an excellent choice for Ender - cool, calm, intelligent with a hint of vulnerability - and Harrison Ford makes a nice, gruff Colonel Graff - but otherwise the rest of the cast just feels wasted. You just don't get enough time to get to know any of the other characters - Hailee Steinfeld's Petra, the unhinged Bonzo (played with relish by Moises Arias) and even the Maori tattooed Ben Kingsley (as the hidden-away veteran Mazer Rackham) - you get a feel for each character, but there is not enough meat to go that deep.

Some of the elements from the book also just don't translate as well as I was hoping - including the zero G Battle Room and the Mind Game that Ender plays. Everything moves so quick that this is one of the few times I wish they had made a longer movie rather than a shorter one - you just don't have enough time to absorb what Ender is going through as he moves quickly from a grunt to a soldier to a commander - it all happens so fast, there is no way to connect like you can with the book.

That being said - the visuals are very well done - you can see how far ahead Orson Scott Card was in his description of the future - (and not too far off from what we have now). Even though I wanted more from some scenes - what it presented has a great visual flair. Likewise, I think the soundtrack was also well-suited to the film. For what it's worth, the actors did well with what they had to work with. I wanted more depth, but the casting was spot-on.

People who have read the book will get a lot more out of this than someone going in cold - but they will probably also be a bit frustrated by the result. It isn't a bad movie - but it's lacking that crucial spark - and without that, it's hard to say this is anything more than an average sci-fi film - and that's too bad.


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