Directed by Gavin Hood
Starring Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, and Hailee Steinfeld
My mother bought me a copy of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game when I was in the third grade — I have been waiting for this movie ever since. The story is set on Earth, many years in the future. The planet is recovering from a devastating attack from the Formics, an alien race that appeared to try to invade Earth. In order to protect humanity, the world government trains brilliant children at The Battle School, hoping they will become new leaders of the International Fleet and save the world from another attack. The Fleet is looking for their next legendary commander, and they think that this is to be Ender Wiggin.
As far as being true to the book, I’d say that Ender’s Game ranks between Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings. The plot was not heavily altered and all the characters you want to see do make an appearance, though many events were omitted. For those of you who read the book, you may be disappointed to discover that the film focuses only on Ender’s doings, so the scheming of Peter and Valentine is omitted. We don’t get as much character interaction or development as I would have liked. The film does not show Ender developing the friendships that made the story so appealing, and most of the interactions between Ender and his “friends” felt mechanical to me, not doing the camaraderie of Battle School friends justice. We don’t really see or feel Ender’s transformation from an innocent child into a brilliant military leader. We are not privy to many of the internal struggles that helped to flesh out the character in the book, and because of this, Ender was not as relatable as he could have been.
However, the movie tries to makes up for its lack of character interactions and development with excellent casting and incredible settings and effects. The Battle School is just what I imagined — the games in the Battle Room are awesome, I loved the costumes, and the alien planet is exotic and creepy. Harrison Ford did a convincing job as Colonel Graff and Asa Butterfield was perfect for the role of Ender, although the plot seemed rushed, possibly because most of the interesting parts of this story are told from inside Ender’s head, through his reasoning and internal debates.
In all, the film was not as thought provoking and inspiring as the book was, but did do a decent job of showing the audience the fantastical and futuristic elements of the story, thanks to modern technology and computer-generated imaging. This is a movie you have to see if you’ve read the books, simply because you’ve waited so long for it to be created. As always, the book will be better than the movie, and those of you unfamiliar with the story will probably really like the film for its effects, settings, and situations.