Ender's Game

I've been waiting for this one since I read the book in 1985! To me, the casting is perfect and the ambitious production values match the book's phenomenal success. If you've read it you know this is Nirvana for a lover of computer generated imaging: Space ships, free-floating trainees in a gravity-free environment, a decimated planet, futuristic living quarters, the list goes on and on.

Ender is so called because in this future world, families are only permitted two children: He is a third, AND he is gifted. This has not slipped by the powers that be, because they need a gifted new tactician to help them destroy their sworn enemy.

We see:
  • Harrison Ford ("Indiana Jones" and "42") is Colonel Graff, absolutely determined to annihilate the enemy, once and for all; collateral damage can go to blue blazes. Once again, Ford has to earn his salary: He is saddled with a few bits of really lame dialogue.
  • Asa Butterfield ("Boy in the Striped Pajamas" and "Hugo") is our eponymous hero: intelligent, ethical and focused. He has to straddle the gap between the teenage world of bullying and the adult world of interplanetary warfare. This talented kid must have a terrific agent!
  • Viola Davis ("The Help" and "Prisoners") is Major Gwen Anderson, the only heart in a heartless situation. This actress always impresses me; there is a moment as she leaves a room... BRILLIANT!
  • Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit" and "Romeo and Juliet") is Ender's friend Petra, she's there for him when he's assigned to a hostile classroom. Petra is a better role for Steinfeld than Juliet.
  • Ben Kingsley ("Hugo" and "Iron Man 3") is Mazer Rackham, a seasoned fighter drafted to coach our youngster in the ways of the enemy. Why did they choose this accent for this character? ...hmmm...
Rated PG-13, youngsters can see other youngsters fight an intergalactic battle (the rest of us will suspend disbelief). To me, all the CGI in the world is no substitute for a good story. Here, courtesy of writer/director Gavin Hood ("X-Men Origins: Wolverine"), we have a really good story, albeit a bit far-fetched, so the CGI works just fine for me. The cinematography by Donald McAlpine offers everything from battling spaceships to Butterfield's eyelashes.

I'm ready for the obvious sequel.
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Here is a sample:
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