A hostile alien race was defeated in their attempts to take over the Earth, largely due to the heroics from Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley). In preparation for their next attack, the international military led by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) train the best youngsters to become future leaders. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is to become the next great hope, as he is quickly promoted at Command School.
Based on the book by author Orson Scott Card (The book series currently stands at eight in the Ender’s universe) that originally was released in 1985. Adapting a Science Fiction young adult novel onto the screen for a teenage audience is a massively tricky process, especially when Sci-Fi isn’t the best genre for young moviegoers any more. But credit to Lionsgate for giving it a try.
The main issue with Ender’s Game is that it just isn’t that interesting. Sure, there are a couple of nice training set pieces (Look out for the large scale Battle Room scenes) that are integral to the story and look very impressive. But beyond that the story is a monotone of inherently dull aspects about fighting a space race of aliens. Yet, we never understand more about the aliens and what their reasons are for trying to take over Earth. Instead they are treated as the bad guys and that’s apparently all we need to know. So it’s off to blast them out of the skies.
Then we have to deal with watching kids training as weapons of mass destruction to save the earth. There is little mention as to the rest of the international military and what their role is in the battle to save Earth. There is no middle ground on age; we have the children on one end of the scale and old war veterans at the other. Neither seems adept at taking on full control of a mission. On top of all that, we are dealt a typical failsafe Hollywood ending for the film. It smacks of the studio requiring something more than what was previously on offer.
Asa Butterfield does a respectable job with such heavy dialogue, and it’s good to see him starting to shine in the bigger film arena. The rest of the cast look out of sorts, especially Kingsley (Kiwi accent fails miserably) and Ford (who now sighs his way through every line).
Ender’s Game could have been a special entry into the Sci-Fi genre, pulling in the coveted teenage demographic. Instead it lacks action, a cohesive script and any real sense of continued interest for the viewer. End game.