Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ender’s Game (2013): Mormon Movie Review


Quality: stars_5

   My November 1st daily gratitude Facebook update was, “I'm grateful for books. For without them, we would not have awesome movies."

  In the near future, a hostile alien race has attacked Earth. In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Graff and the International Military seek to find a future leader who can save the human race. Ender Wiggin, a shy but strategically brilliant young mind, is recruited to join the elite, where he's trained to lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth

   Ender's Game is brought to us by Summit Entertainment, who seems to love adapting Mormon authors' work to the big screen; With their successful Twilight film series. I have never read Ender’s Game, written by famous Mormon Orson Scott Card, but I went with my (Vine Famous Mormon) buddy Tyler who had.  Based on his assessment it is not a scene for scene adaptation of the book, but movies seldom are.  He did say most the story elements were there including some of his favorite scenes.
Ender Contemplates

   As a stand alone movie I was blown away.  Mostly by the acting of Asa Butterfield who played Ender Wiggin.  Ender is a complex character having leadership and responsibility thrust upon him, yet struggling to achieve the acceptance of his peers.  Asa’s acting made me think of my nephew who is at that pre-teen awkward stage of life.  He is thin, too clever for his own good, and his voice cracks when he raises it.  I think for this reason I was instantly rooting for the success of this character.

1101_enders-captain   Ender’s journey is intriguing.  He is constantly battling with the idea of morality in violence.  The military academy he trains in has a full range of personality types.  Ender is bright and often recognized by his instructors.  Because of this he is also frequently targeted by bullies.  These are scenes where Asa Butterfield really shines.  The conflict within Ender as he debates if he should fight back or not is clearly evident in his facial expressions without a word said.

enders-game-3   Another great member of the cast is Harrison Ford.  As Colonel Graff, he pushes Ender to the limits.  It is hard to say if he cares for Ender, or just cares about his ability to fulfill his mission.  There are some great scenes between Graff and his executive officer Major Anderson, played by Viola Davis.  She seems to represent the viewer as she continually questions Graff’s intentions.

   I usually am not a fan of child actors, but rest of the young actors in the film do a great job and do not detract.

   I really had a great time in this film.  The story seems very rich, although it does resolve rather quickly and leaves some questions unanswered.  I am not sure if I will wait until the next film or go to Amazon and pick up the Ender Boxset.
Content: stars_5 

   Although PG-13, Ender’s Game is safe for most ages.  There is no sexuality or foul language.  The scenes of combat or very removed.  I was more moved by the dogfight scene in Planes.  The scenes of bullying are a bit intense, and might be a bit much for children who have been bullied.  The lessons that are learned though can be worth the experience.

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