Ender’s Game movie takes place into a world in which humanity is recovering from the terrible war with an alien race of insects. After a joyless victory, a new invasion is imminent. All the nations of the Earth, once divided, unite in the common cause of defending Earth at any cost. The Battle School is founded, a military organisation located on a space station. It’s purpose: to prepare the best possible soldiers, capable of fighting in the harsh and unfamiliar conditions of cosmic space. The film brings Ender Wiggin to the spotlight, a child who was destined to lead armies. He is mankind’s last chance in a war fought at disadvantage.
I must admit, I was wary when I first heard the news about a future movie based on Ender’s Game, the awards winning novel of Orson Scott Card. And I continued to be so even with the release of the first trailer. After the trickery with Prometheus and the promising trailers for The Last Airbender (the movie, if one can call it that), I decided to never let myself get that much hype for a movie. It’s not good for the heart. So I walked in to the cinema full of mixed feelings. I wanted it to be good, because the novel was extraordinary. It’s part of why I keep reading and I love science fiction literature to this very day.
The film was not what it could have been. It was rushed and many nuances of the novel were lost because of that: the beautiful brother-sister friendship with Valentine or Peter’s influence and Ender’s constant struggle not to be like his older brother. Although these were present in the film, they were not given the attention they deserved. I understand and I agree with the reasons why Ender’s relationship with his siblings was cut off. Yet I believe that the risk of making the film a bit longer and highlighting Ender’s transformation from a child into the greatest strategist ever known to humankind would have been worth it. They could have put a stronger emphasis on how Ender, a military genius failed to see that he was being manipulated. And the duo “Locke” (Peter) and “Demosthenes” (Valentine) was absent. The narrative arc from the novel with Peter and Valentine in the center, was my favorite.
However I was not disappointed. Asa Butterfield was the perfect Ender and the characters were mostly well chosen. I would have liked them to put more accent on the combat training room because the transition was a bit to fast. Graphic, the film was impeccable. Costumes were carefully drawn, the feeling was the same one I had when I read the book. The adaptation was above above my hopes as I expected them to really fuck up.
From what I’ve read, a sequel is in place (unfortunately not the Speaker for the Dead) so we might get to see more of Ender’s jeesh in the future. A TV series was also rumored but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I warmly recommend this movie, which I dare to say was the best science fiction film from 2013.