Review: ‘Ender’s Game’ captures essence of novel, despite missing some details

In our world, children spend most of their time going to school or delving into their personal interests – sports, literature, video games. In the Nebula and Hugo Award-winning world created by author Orson Scott Card, though, children spend their time preparing to defend Earth.

Ender’s Game is a fantastic adaptation of Card’s book of the same title, the first in the series. Asa Butterfield is young Andrew “Ender” Wiggin. Tormented by his brother and protected by his sister Valentine (Abigail Breslin), Ender is a Third, born into hopes of going to Battle School and saving the world from the Formics, an alien race who attacked Earth with the goal of colonizing the planet. They were stopped by the daring sacrifice of the lost Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley). Ender’s Game follows Ender through the struggle and loss of childhood in saving the world. Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) and Major Anderson (Viola Davis) monitor and aid Ender to his eventual achievements.

Audiences get to understand Ender by getting in-depth explanations by the characters asking him why. Why answers the questions surrounding his ability to save the world, being that he is so young. This develops his character splendidly.

The special effects are extremely realistic, true to the imaginations of readers, an impressive feat, even for a modern sci-fi film. Viewers may find themselves wishing they could be at Battle School, flying around in zero gravity, fighting in a harmless game for glory and graduation to Command School. Everything is sharp and pristine. However, most everything has a unique purpose that is not explained fully in the film.

A strong supporting cast – which includes Hailee Steinfeld as Petra Arkanian, as well as Ford, Kingsley, and Davis – is essential to the plotline. Every actor or actress is well cast. It is, however, humorous to see Moises Arias as tough-guy commander Bonzo when everyone from my generation will remember him as tiny brat Rico shouting “Hey-o!” in Hannah Montana.

One thing that is awesome is the fact that Ender’s Game has an epic soundtrack, worthy of surpassing even Daft Punk’s for TRON: Legacy. As a film soundtrack aficionado, music in the film makes or breaks it for me if I’m on the fence about it.

Enormous fans of the novel may encounter the problem of being left wanting more, myself included. The film included major important events, yet much of the detail that makes the book so spectacular would not convey to the average movie-goer.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10