Valdosta Daily Times

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November 9, 2013

Does ‘Ender’s Game’ score?

VALDOSTA —

“Ender’s Game” (Science-Fiction: 1 hour, 53 minutes)
Starring: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley
Director: Gavin Hood
Rated: PG-13 
 
Movie Review: Another film based on a popular book, it feels more for fans who have read the book than those who just want to see an entertaining movie. This exists because of the film’s inability to fill in gaps because it is too busy showing neat visual effects and energetic sports games in zero gravity.
In the year 2154, Earth is in a post-war mode after a hostile alien race called the Formics, an insectoid alien species, attacked the planet. In preparation to secure Earth, the International Fleet trains young children to find a future Cmdr. Mazer Rackham (Kingsley), the military hero responsible for stopping the first Formic attack. Col. Hyrum Graff (Ford) and Major Gwen Anderson (Davis) lead the International Military’s elite child-training program. One recruit stands out from the rest, Ender Wiggin (Butterfield of 2011’s “Hugo”), a loner, but strategically intelligent boy. Very quickly, Wiggin distinguishes himself at Battle School, and becomes a commander to lead the International Fleet against the Formics.  
Based on the best-selling, award-winning novel “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card, this adventure is entertaining. It is good on its science-fiction elements. However, the plot fails to create an appropriate setting. Unlike most books turned into films, this one has a standard straightforward story. It is too straightforward. 
A book creates an entire universe with divergent stories to facilitate a plot. A movie does have the leeway to be divergent with sub-stories, but it must also tell the main story. “Ender’s Game” is too busy telling its story that it forgets to create an adequate setting to understand characters, their actions and the plot in which those personas facilitate. Some side elements would have been nice here.

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