Ender’s Game : A Movie Review

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The Earth has been attacked by hostile alien race known as the Formics if not for the legendary heroism of the Fleet Commander, Mazer Rackham all would have been eradicated. So, in preparation for the next attack the International Military have been training only the best young children to find the future Mazer. Ender Wiggin, a shy, but strategically brilliant boy was pulled out of his school to join the elite group under the leadership of the highly esteemed Colonel Graff.

enders-game-trailer-hd-630x420In the Battle School, Ender easily and quickly mastered strategies about difficult war game which earned him the trust and respect amongst his peers. He faced two different types of games. On his computer he plays the mind game, a game that even its creators do not properly understand and one that affects Ender’s life in direct ways. It is through this mind game that He was able to come to terms with the challenges that were taking place in his life and the images of this game that the buggers use to communicate with Ender. On the otherhand, while in the battle room Ender would play somewhat simulated war games. These games are everything to the kids at the school. Their lives revolve around playing these games, and so these have shifts from a voluntary fun experience to a necessary and crucial aspect of life in Ender’s life. These games and their implications caused Bonzo’s, Ender’s former squadron leader’s death and create rancor and jealousy throughout the school.

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He was soon ordained by Graff as the military’s next great hope, resulting in his promotion to Command School. Once there, he was trained by Mazer Rackham, himself, to lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race.

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Finally, we come to the greatest game that Ender played, while he was the commander of the Third Invasion. Playing this game of attack has become debilitating to his health and his team members. They were sleep deprived, they barely eat, and He was forced to be a leader and not a friend to those whom he cares for. Ender destroyed the buggers because he wanted the games to end, and he was quite successful with it. In the end instead of a relief and feeling triumphant, He became scared and frustrated. If he had ever known that it was not a game, he never would have participated in.  It was not very clear how to separate a game from reality, for the playing of a game can have a profound impact on a life, and sometimes the game itself is reality. He was dumbfounded of this discovery and felt so devastated.

My Reaction:

Personally, I didn’t get chance to read Ender’s game in the novel, but just like most of my friends and my niece’s usual reactions to a novel turned to a movie, the novel version was far better than the film itself. Well, for me it’s a no brainer that any story  in  the written form can be more ideal and most probably more creative in terms of description and narration since words are more likely create powerful imagination as the story unfolds that makes it enthralling to read.  Perhaps the films biggest strength is its production design, the technical team did an outstanding job of bringing the environments of the battle school to life, the zero gravity combat scenes being some of the films biggest highlights. Our advance technology had helped create more dramatic scenes with death defying stunts to give justice to novel’s setting. I’ve watched the film for about 5 times just to better enjoy it and give justice to this review.

The biggest problem with Ender’s Game movie is that, it’s incredibly fast paced, according to a film review I’ve read, well compared to the one on print, a lot of story’s scenarios and characters suffered in terms of establishing its importance and relevance to the story.  Personally, I have asked a lot of questions since I don’t have background of this story. I didn’t know who are these “Formics” at first I thought they are a Plague because they all look like a swarm of bugs to me, well they are of course.. But I started questioning myself, what was the motive of the attack and it was not clearly established what triggered the attack and why do they have to annihilate them, they seem to look friendly as far as Ender’s vision was concerned? Another concern was for me as I watched the story developed, I was quite confused again with the significance of the character of Peter, Ender’s brother? I told myself, why does he seem to hate Ender so much that he almost tried to kill him as they somewhat do a role play of a fight scene in the battle school? They don’t look like siblings to me, Peter appeared to look like he’s just too jealous of his closeness with Valentine?

Another concern was, it was almost barely 10 minutes in the movie before Ender is blasted off to battle school. All the back story about Ender and his family, his turbulent relationship with his older brother Peter and his delicate relationship with this sister Valentine, were not properly recognized plus a lot of the history of the alien invasion are largely skimmed over and this lack of depth hurts the movie. This and also the fact that no-one seems to age throughout the film which gave me the impression that this whole thing took place in a very short amount of time, unlike the novel form which took years to train and develop, It seems like the plan and training for the attack was going to happen soon just like in some scifi movies like Independence Day, IRobot, Avengers etc.,which all happened in a day’s worth.

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But the whole time the film builds towards a really remarkable conclusion, I was drawn into the story and the emotional journey within. I find it both morose and uplifting. Morose in a sense that what he thought was just another game was actually irreversible and there were a lot of casualties. Uplifting, because in the end he has found the remaining specie where a new colony can emerge.
Overall it’s a really good movie that I would highly recommend.

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