When hostile aliens called the Formics attack Earth, only the legendary heroics of Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) manage to attain a victory. To prepare for the next attack, Col. Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and his cohorts initiate a military program to find the next Mazer. Recruit Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) exhibits an unusual gift for the training, easily mastering all of the challenges thrown at him. Mazer Rackham, himself, takes Ender as a protege to prepare him for the oncoming war.
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For those who have read the book and know the general storyline, the movie will feel very familiar. All of the important pieces are included without any dramatic changes or gross misses. Of course, as a movie, a lot of the detail of a book must be left out and so you can feel rushed from battle school to command school, but that's to be expected.
There is nothing incredible about Ender's Game, so it comes off as a rather 'flat' sci-fi story that will likely only be worth it to fans of the book and/or fans of sci-fi ( I am one of both ). Honestly, I could easily wait for this movie to release on Amazon or Netflix and not feel like I missed anything by letting it skip by in theaters.
For parents, be aware that there is a lot of violence in this movie ... enough to keep young ones away. Further, there is a character in the movie ( Bonzo ) who consistently and loudly uses the spanish word for a**hole. As someone who grew up in New Mexico ... this repeated, loud, and casual use bothered me.
My final diagnosis: wait for Netflix/Amazon streaming and save your theater money for the other big movies coming out this year.9 Thanks ·
I finished reading this book the same day that I went to see the movie. As other reviewers have mentioned, there is nothing that will blow your mind about the film. It is true to the book in major elements, but also leaves out some fascinating chunks of what made the book such a wild ride and enjoyable experience to read. I felt like because of how quickly the movie moved to cram all the information into 2 hours that it lost some of the intensity and built up to a rather anti-climactic moment.
Overall, I was pleased with how the storyline stuck to the major story from the book, but I would have preferred them to add another 15 or 20 minutes to the film and spend more time building up how much the teachers stacked things against Ender and to more effectively show how brilliant of a mind he truly had to be able to cope with it. Also, Peter and Val's roles have been minimized in the film as well. Not a lot of time was spent developing the meaning behind Ender's dreams or the simulation on his desk either. These are things that add to the intensity of the book that were short changed or rushed in the film. I have a hard time thinking that many people that haven't read the book will understand these complexities and as a result they may feel the story doesn't have enough meat to it to make it memorable. If I hadn't read the book, I would have gladly waited to rent this on DVD when it was released.
Parent's Note: Violence in this film is directly related to bullying. There isn't a message attached to it that bullying is bad either. Although they toned down the amount of violence from the book, there are still some very poignant demonstrations of bullying that young children may relate to all too well. There is some swearing in Spanish and also some scenes could be frightening for young children. I think it is true to its rating. Safe for 13 and up.4 Thanks ·
Absolutely exceeded my expectations. I had just read the book (loved it, by the way), and found the adaptation very smooth. Of course, many elements are lost, but the film version is true to the spirit of the written work. I also found this to be a pretty mild PG-13. In fact, I think some kids may be ready for the film before they are ready for the book, primarily because the language in the movie version is kept in check and the violence is responsible and restrained.2 Thanks ·
While I'd recommend reading Orson Scott Card's book before you watch the movie, Hollywood pulled off the rare feat of actually translating the plot to the screen while preserving the most compelling aspects of the story. Most importantly, by focusing on the relationships Ender has with his family, his teachers and his fellow "launches," the movie is able to avoid getting bogged down in the intricacies of global politics and the morality of war.
Ironically, the movie preaches nonviolence through violence with a leading character who isn't afraid to attack his enemy brutally whether that enemy is an alien in a game or a fellow student in a very real classroom.
The film led to a number of interesting conversations on the drive home about when violence is justified and when it is not. And more deeply, the ethics of total war vs. half measures. Ender is certainly tutored by those who would subscribe to the approach General Sherman took in his infamous "March to the Sea" in the Civil War or General MacArthur's "No Substitute for Victory" battle cry. Of course, Sherman and McArthur weren't kids when they strategized their battle plans.
Perhaps the real lesson of the movie is that in war, winning may be necessary, but it's painful and comes at a great cost.November 3rd, 2013 · Details2 Thanks ·
I read Ender's Game a few years ago and so I was interested to see how the director would bring this book to the big screen. I quite enjoyed the movie and thought it stayed close to the book as realistically as possible. Naturally, many elements of a novel can't fit into the movie world, but I thought all-in-all Ender's game was well done. I also thought the acting was pretty good. The majority of actors are young kids, and I thought they did well.2 Thanks ·
Very good adaptation. This is a tough book to adapt to film. Definitely impressive.2 Thanks ·
It stayed very true to the book (from what I remember...it's been a while). The acting was good enough and they didn't overdo the special effects or use them as a crutch in telling the story, which I appreciated.
While I'd say see it, I don't think you need to see it on the big screen.
There was violence, but it wasn't gory. Minimal bad language.2 Thanks ·
I found Ender's Game to be entertaining, good sci-fi, and enjoyed the moral dilemmas the characters passed through.March 11th, 2014 · Details1 Thank ·
Great screen adaptation of a complex story. Worth watching.December 11th, 2013 · Details1 Thank ·
Although portions of the book are not part of the film it did not detract from the films plot. Harrison Ford and Viola Davis were wonderful as was Asa Butterfield. time moves faster in the film than in the book but this is a wonderful adaptation of the Orson Scott Card novel.November 11th, 2013 · Details1 Thank ·
Never read the book, but loved the movie!November 8th, 2013 · Details1 Thank ·
Nice companion to the book. The movie felt rushed, but it was still enjoyable and visually stunning.November 8th, 2013 · Details1 Thank ·
I enjoyed the movie, but then I've also read the book. It seemed to me that they didn't do a very good job at introducing Ender's brother and sister and setting up the story line, but it might still make sense to those that haven't read the book. Either way, still an excellent movie.November 5th, 2013 · Details1 Thank ·
An uplifting, thought provoking film for the family, especially those with young teens. Like (a PG) Full Metal Jacket meets Starship Troopers meets Independence Day.November 3rd, 2013 · Details1 Thank ·
It's difficult for me to review this movie because I've read the source material so much, and I've followed the production for so long. Every single thing they did was beautiful, and accurate to the soul of the movie. I loved every minute of the experience, and was engaged the entire time. Asa as Ender was perfect, as was Harrison as Graff. There were no cut corners of this film, and it was obviously made by fans. As a fan myself, I appreciate that. Thank You!1 Thank ·
Best movie of the year! Extremely faithful to the spirit of the book. Good special effects, but not to overpowering. At its heart this movie is a character piece and it is very well acted. The subject matter of the story is very heavy, but the violence is not exploitative and is handled very well. I plan on taking my 11 year old daughter to see this movie. Everyone who hated "X-Men Origins: Wolverine", can finally get off director/Screenwriter Gavin Hood's case. He has pulled off a masterpiece with this one.1 Thank ·
Ender's Game provides a compelling story and fun entertainment. It's refreshing in the sense that there is no sexual content to worry about and essentially no profanity besides name calling.
It's the violence in this movie that is going to make people question whether their kids should see it. DISCLOSURE: I have not read the book so the only foreknowledge I had of this movie was the info presented in the trailer. Having stated that, I found it to be entertaining and worth seeing.
It's NOT the movie of the year, nor will it amaze you like some other movies of 2013 (cough cough... Gravity) regarding graphics, but it's worth seeing and the special effects are still fun.1 Thank ·
MovieReviewMaven.blogspot.com Grade: A-
In a Nutshell: This sci-fi tween thriller deserved to be made into a film, as the book has been popular with kids since 1985. Congrats to Orson Scott Card for making it on to the big screen! Most of the source book fans have been very pleased with the movie adaptation, although they admit that a few interesting aspects were rushed or necessarily left out because of the time constraints. The battle scenes feel like you’re watching someone play a video game, but the special effects are pretty amazing. You’ll feel like a 12 year old kid again and wish you could float around in the battle simulator.
Things I liked:
• I love Harrison Ford, even if I have to see him as a grumpy, aging man.
• I’ve also adored Ben Kingsley ever since he won an Oscar for Best Actor in “Ghandi” many years ago. The design on his face was very cool and supposed to represent a way to speak for the dead. His father was a Maori. I have a friend whose ancestry is Maori. He plays the ukulele and sings songs in Maori for his students.
• You feel like you get your money’s worth because the film is long, but moves quickly.
• I thought Ender’s squeaky, pubescent voice was perfect because it constantly reminds you that he is still just a boy. Asa Butterfield does a terrific job. I loved him in Hugo as well.
• The zero gravity room looks super fun! I went Indoor Skydiving in Las Vegas recently and had a blast…literally! A giant fan blasts air at you so that you float. I highly recommend it!
• I liked the cadets’ white casual wear and would like one for myself to wear at home when I’m just kicking around.
• I hadn’t read the book, so I had no idea what was going to happen. I love twists.
Things I didn’t like:
• So, it only takes 3 adults to run that entire spaceship?
• I was surprised at the amateur-looking credits at the end of the movie.
• It takes itself a little bit too seriously and could have been improved with more peppering of humor.
• The way we win matters.
• “Let us train our soldiers so they can be gifted at war AND peace.”
• “This is basic rocket science, people!” - teacher
• “Game over.” - Ender
* “When you truly understand your enemy, you love them.”
Things to look for:
• The button on the back of their necks that is used to monitor them reminded me of The Matrix..
• Hailee Steinfeld plays a character whose name is Petra. Petra means rock in Latin. She becomes Ender’s rock throughout their experience in the training experience in the International Fleet.
Tips for parents: There is a lot of violence, some bullying, and a repeated use of the word “A**hole” in Spanish by a character named Bonzo. There is no other profanity, other than mean name-calling by bullies. There are some interesting moral dilemmas that could provide interesting dinner conversations for your family.April 1st, 2014 · Details
I haven't read the book. So, everything I know about the story is from this movie. And I was very impressed by it all - story, acting, special effects. We enjoyed Asa Butterfield in "Hugo". And he does a great job in this film as the central character, Ender Wiggin. We saw this from a DVD. I watched the "Deleted Scenes" from their Special Features. I mention this because I felt there seemed to be some rushing through - or even gaps - in the story, that probably just would not fit in a two hour movie. There wasn't much more in the Deleted Scenes. So, now I want to read the book. For families, I'd only caution that the target audience is probably about 11 and up, due to the violence, bullying, and generally mature subject matter of children fighting a war. But there's little else objectionable in terms of language or sexuality. So, check it out at your favorite movie rental or streaming source!
Ender’s Game is a worthy adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s classic sci-fi book. Die hard fans of the book will no doubt find things to gripe about, but as a film, Ender’s Game works. It’s a coming of age story with excellent visuals, great performances, and a gut wrenching twist at the end. The story celebrates intelligence and tactics over brute force, and explores moral dilemmas that are more relevant than ever. Give Ender’s Game a go!... See Full ReviewFebruary 26th, 2014 · Details
I didn't read the book, but I loved the movie! I love how Ender thinks and how he grows as a leader. The end of the movie was well thought out and was definitely not what I was expecting. Loved it! Highly recommend it to an audience of 13 years of age and older.December 30th, 2013 · Details
I was very impressed with this movie. You will enjoy this movie if you read the book or not. I do not want to give anything away for those who did not read the book. There is some violence from kids so you might want to make sure your kid is mature enough not to reenact or cause it to influence them. Other than that it is very entertaining and worth your time.December 14th, 2013 · Details
I was amazed at the effects and give a thumbs up to the set designers. I would recommend this movie to any of my friends.
Was worth watching. Enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. (Not that much for science fiction.) It also leads to an obvious sequel but was so interesting in its 2 hours, that I didn't mind. Asa Butterfield does an insightful job in his role as Ender.
Loved the book, loved the movie! Wish there was more war games in movie!December 1st, 2013 · Details
This movie was okay.November 23rd, 2013 · Details
Those unfamiliar with the source material, Orson Scott Card's 1985 book of the same name, will be surprised to discover a film appreciably more thoughtful and daring. Admirers of the book will likely emerge pleased, even if the adaptation doesn't live up to all their expectations... See Full Review
I must admit, it‚Äôs been some time since my last reading of this sci-fi classic, so I won‚Äôt be going into a scene-by-scene and chapter-by-chapter comparison. I want to focus on whether or not the filmmakers captured the characters and the true spirit of the story.
With relief, I can tell you they did. Everything works... See Full Review
Ender‚Äôs Game offers messages about teamwork, as well as developing and recognizing the talents of individuals. These themes combined with compelling visuals, an engaging story and strong performances make the movie a rare find that may be suitable for tweens and teens... See Full Review
‚ÄúEnder‚Äôs Game‚Äù is pretty stiff. Shiny spaceships, vivid space battles (simulations for the trainees) and kids who don‚Äôt quite fill out their jumpsuits and cool combat games are all fine. With all the bullying and kids turned into killers stuff, the film never feels less than heavy handed.
So sure, it‚Äôs good-looking, cautionary and clever enough. But there‚Äôs not much in this ‚ÄúGame‚Äù that you‚Äôd call heartfelt, thrilling or fun... See Full ReviewOctober 29th, 2013 · Details