IN SHORT: Aliens invaded and kicked our butts. Now it’s our turn to show them who’s boss by unleashing our most terrifying weapon … children.
WHAT IT IS: A phenomenal sci-fi adventure with brains, beauty, and thrilling action.
WHAT IT IS NOT: This is not your typical YA movie. Ender’s story is not a cheerful one. Don’t expect much in the way of humor, romance, or people smiling. This movie is grim and down-to-business.
WHAT I THOUGHT: OMGLOLBBQ! I love this movie! As a huge fan of the book, I loved pretty much every minute of it. I even didn’t mind the changes and cuts they made. Well, at least not too much.
Ender’s Game has inherited the best from the novel and streamlined it into a truly spectacular package. Now, that’s not to say it’s perfect. It does feel rushed at times, as if the movie is straining to hold in as much book-awesome as possible. For example, Ender’s progression through Battle School is ridiculously fast, and I really wish we’d seen more of him in command of Dragon Army, but oh well. Cuts had to be made somewhere, and the end result is still thoroughly enjoyable.
Here’s the story of a boy being molded into the perfect weapon. Through one trial after another, Ender teeters on a knife’s edge between genius commander and psychopathic killer. Asa Butterfield’s performance really had me believing in the character. When you see Ender’s eyes during the Giant’s Drink, you know this isn’t a kid to mess around with.
Plus, there are the space battles. Oh man, there is some lush and vibrant eye candy saved for the movie’s climax. The battles are colorful and fun to watch, but they also give a sense of tactical depth. Instead of the chaotic melee of most movie space battles, these play out with precise formations. I love all the fighters zipping about, each so hazardously close to the next. They’re a delight to watch.
Overall, it’s hard for me to judge this movie impartially. I love the book, and that colors my views on the movie. I know for a fact I enjoyed this movie more because I’d read the book beforehand. However, that doesn’t change my opinion in the slightest.
VERDICT: Strongly recommended.