Ender's Game Fails to Meet Expectations


Abhijeet Singh ’15


Ender’s Game is a science fiction action film directed by Gavin Hood that was released last weekend. It stars Asa Butterfield as protagonist Andrew Wiggin (Ender), Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff, and Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham. The film is based on the famous novel of the same name, which was written by Orson Scott Card and released in 1985 and is to this day considered a classic in the science fiction/fantasy genre. The film adaption follows the same premise as the book, in which protagonist Ender, an exceptionally gifted young child, is sent to an elite military academy in space. He is to help humanity fight against an alien race known as the Formics, or Buggers, in an imminent invasion that will decide the fate of both species. So, does Ender’s Game distinguish itself as a science fiction film as much as its book counterpart did as a science fiction novel? Not quite, yet it is still a decent standalone film, even if it is often unable to stand above its flaws for the most part.

Ender’s Game benefits from its actors. Asa Butterfield is stellar as protagonist Ender, nailing the maturity of such an advanced kid yet also his insecurity, and veteran actors Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley do not disappoint either. Yet good actors cannot compensate for problems in pacing, an often muddled plot, and as a result of these two things even the action is not as immersive as it should be. Director Gavin Hood had to cram in many plot points within the under two hour running time of the film— a very common problem in film adaptions based on books— and this is sadly very clear to the audience. We cannot fully enjoy the world that author Card wanted us to because we are rushed through such important and complex developments that we cannot appreciate and sometimes properly understand them. Ultimately, the sad truth is that this film ends up becoming rather shallow and cliché by the end, which is a shame considering it is based on such a celebrated novel.

If you are into standard science fiction films, this should meet your expectations. But if you are a fan of the book or someone looking for a very unique experience, don’t expect to be impressed.

Edsmen Rating: C+