First off, let me say that I am not going to touch on the controversy surrounding the author of the book, Ender’s Game, which the film is based on. It doesn’t have any influence on how I felt about the film itself.
Honestly I enjoyed Ender’s Game, it was an intelligent Sci-Fi film that didn’t rely on love triangles or loopholes to keep you interested or make sense. In a world post Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter, more and more young adult novels are being put on screen and many never come close to what fans of the books are looking for. On top of that, those who never read the books are also disappointed because the films are flimsy, expecting the viewers to know what’s going on before seeing it.
Thankfully Ender’s Game does not disappoint, as someone that never read the book I was able to follow the film from beginning to end with little exposition to give backstory on the war with the alien Formic race that tried to colonize Earth fifty years prior to the start of the film. Even Ender’s (played convincingly by Asa Butterfield) backstory is explained quickly and effectively so that the film can carry on which it does so at a brisk pace. As soon as we learn that Ender is part of a military program to recruit the worlds smartest children for a war with the Formics he is promoted to the next stage in the program, which takes place on a space station orbiting Earth.
Once at “Battle School” we are introduced to a host of others candidates in the program that are quickly sorted into obstacles or allies to Ender. This is the point in the movie where we could be introduced to the possible love interest Petra Arkanian (played by Hailee Steinfeld) but instead that type of relationship is never explored further than obvious flirting and a missed first kiss moment at the end of the film. Petra never becomes more than Ender’s most trusted confidant and ally. That was actually a really refreshing moment for me because 99% of these sorts of movies revolve around a love triangle or forbidden love that gets more screen time than honestly needed. Gavin Hood, the Writer/Director of the film made a brilliant choice to leave that out of this film because it had no place within the plot.
Overall, this is a film that never loses focus on what on the story and messages it’s trying to tell the audience. The acting is superb all the way around, honestly Harrison Ford does a phenomenal job playing Colonel Graff, without ever exploring his backstory you can almost tell he lost someone important during the war and that’s where his anger and hatred stem from. Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley also give terrific performances only making this fear and anger driven future more believable. I recommend this movie for any Sci-Fi fan regardless if you’ve read the book or not.