Ender's Game review by George Hooper - Cinema Paradiso
For someone unaware of the series of novels Enders Game is based on I found the premise exciting and full of possibilities and while there is an element of playing it safe, Gavin Hood’s first instalment in this potential franchise is a rich psychological sci-fi that features some great child actors and Harrison Ford giving his best grouch.
Based on Orson Scott Card’s series of novels, Ender’s Game follows Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a genetically gifted teenager who could well be mankinds only hope at surviving the potential attack of a mysterious race called the Formics. However Ender, under the tutelage of Colonel Graff (Ford) finds himself struggling to maintain his humanity and keep his inner rage in check as the threat of the alien forces begins to rise and Graff demands more and more from him.
Ender’s self obsession with his own psyche makes for some excellent psychological filmmaking and Butterfield sells it but never overstates what the script skillfully lays out. While you can find hidden meaning within the films borderline childish premise, Ender’s Game works as a light hearted and visceral action film, one accessible for everyone, including kids.
The film while overly long makes up for it with some cracking acting from Butterfield, Ford, Viola Davis and a woefully underused Abigail Breslin who provides the films much needed heart. The film, while set in the cold of space is a deeply human and warm film about the corruption and completion of Ender Wiggin, a complex and underappreciated character I would happily watch again if the series were to continue.
Filmed with a keen eye for detail and an understanding of the vast emptiness of space, Ender’s Game kept me on the edge of my seat for almost the entire run, save for its confusing ending, one that feels rushed and unconvincing but never ruins the exceptional story and ideas Hood developed into this delightful picture.