Starring: Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Moises Arias
Directed by: Gavin Hood
Synopsis: Young Ender Wiggin is recruited by the International Military to lead the fight against the Formics, a genocidal alien race which nearly annihilated the human race in a previous invasion.
This film garnered a lot of negative press due to its authors questionable political views. To be honest, I don’t really care about all that. I don’t know who the author is and I’ve never read any of his books. The only thing that matters to me is whether the film adaptation is any good. And it was OK.
Asa Butterfield, fresh from another lead role in Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, plays the title character and is recruited by Harrison Ford for his prodigious talents. Most of the movie is taken up with training of cadets etc. The film has more than a hint of Star Wars to it. Ender could be Luke Skywalker training to be a Jedi. Harrison Ford is in it. There are numerous gadgets that allude to it as well, not least when Ender is talking to Hailee Steinfeld’s character via a sort of hologram thing much like Princess Leia all those years ago.
The trouble that Enders Game has is that, unlike Star Wars, it doesn’t have any memorable characters or any charm or good nature to it. Everything is very serious, although I did have to laugh at the introduction of Ben Kingsley seeming to try and do a New Zealand version of his Sexy Beast character. I’m not joking, it is strange to say the least.
In fact it was around the introduction of Kingsley that I started to lose interest in the film. Up to that point I was fairly engaged and happy to go along with it. All the young actors do well in their roles, with Butterfield and Steinfeld (also good in the Coens True a Grit remake) clearly destined for good things.
Enders Game will no doubt spurn a few sequels (no idea how many books there are) and I will happily watch them. I just won’t get excited about it.