Movie review: ENDER’S GAME (2013)

Ender's Game still

Ender's Game large movie poster malaysia
Based on
: Orson Scott Card’s novel “Ender Game
Rated: P13
Genre: Sci Fi Action
Running Time: 120 minutes
Director-writer: Gavin Hood
Cast: Asa Butterfield (as Ender Wiggins), Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley

Synopsis: The Earth was ravaged twice by the Buggers, an alien race seemingly determined to destroy humanity. Seventy years later, the people of Earth remain banded together to prevent our own annihilation from this technologically superior alien species. Ender Wiggin, a boy of only six, may become the savior of the human race. He is separated from his beloved sister and brought to battle school in deep space. He will be tested and honed into an empathetic killer who despises himself as he learns to fight in hopes of saving Earth and his family.

Release date in Malaysia: November 7th 2013
Distributor / studios: GSC Movies / (multiple studios)

Watch the trailer

Verdict: If I was 12 years old when I watched this, Ender’s Game may have been one of the coolest movies for me… but I’m in my late 20s now and I find most scenes in the first half of the film unintentionally hilarious. Although it has a better second half with decent sci-fi space battleship action and a good performance by Asa Butterfield, the film is thoroughly cheesy with kiddish script and the CGI looks inferior to some video games of today. I was told that the book that the film’s based on is very thought-provoking, unfortunately this adaptation seems like it wasn’t produced for audience that enjoy deeper movies. Nonetheless, for kids, it’s probably fantastic, ’cause it’s like Percy Jackson, but wiser, cooler, and in space.

Second opinion: Despite laughing at most scenes with me, my girlfriend thought that it was watchable.

What adults may laugh about when watching Ender’s Game:

It seems that there are only a total of 5 adults in the whole of the Battle School and International Fleet. The mission of the Battle School is find tactically brilliant and unpredictable composed kids to lead the army to win the war against alien invaders… makes you wonder how the hell the bunch other useless kids were chosen, and why can’t they just get the most tactically brilliant, experienced and composed adult to lead the attack on the aliens at the end instead of risking the existence of the entire human race on a bunch of teenage cadets that haven’t even graduated yet.

The kids are chosen to be enrolled into the Battle School through their performance in games on tablets. Ender’s parents are a bit disappointed when they thought he failed to be enrolled into the Battle School but when he’s offered a place, they don’t seem to approve. Ender’s bad ass brother tells him to play “alien vs. human” with him and Ender doesn’t seem to be able to foresee that he’s probably gonna get beaten up; and instead, he puts on the alien mask as told, not very smart isn’t he? Why would there be an alien mask produced in the first place when it was them that almost annihilated the entire human race? The cadets (kids) have to train hand-to-hand combat, does that mean they are expected fight the aliens that do not have limbs like humans, off battleship and absent weapon? The ending kind of reminds me of I Am Legend‘s twist (which the latest film adaptation of the novel screwed up).

The author of the original novel, Orson Scott Card, is known but being anti-homosexuality and same sex marriage. I believe the director, Gavin Hood, just trolled him with a pretty gay sequence between Ender and Bean (another boy) in the first Battle Room scene. I almost laughed my anus off watching this part.

Convenience through racism?

Just to conveniently have the protagonist’s love interest (sort of) to be on his team in Battle School, director-writer Gavin Hood got the Asian character in Ender’s team to jump down from his bed and injure his leg to be replaced by her. Wonder if this was in the book as well?

Asa Butterfield / Ender looks like

Yes, he looks like a young Eminem in the movie to me. Maybe it’s just me. Or maybe all white guys look alike? Ha-ha.

Malaysian censorship: No scenes were noticeably cut at the press screening. Well, of course, ’cause as I mentioned, it’s more like a kids movie and therefore probably shouldn’t even be classified as a ‘P13’. It does have a tiny bit of minor violence though.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

Movie stills / images: View ’em here.

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