Press-Republican

Out & About

November 7, 2013

'Ender's Game' thoughtful, morally complicated

Controversy surrounded the film “Ender’s Game” because of author Orson Scott Card’s views on gay marriage.

The adaptation of his 1985 bestseller, however, doesn’t even approach that topic. Instead, it’s a thoughtful and morally complicated sci-fi allegory with enough strong points to outweigh its sluggish stretches.

Staying relatively true to the book, “Ender’s Game” follows 12-year-old Ender Wiggin, a self-effacing genius who may be humanity’s best hope for survival.

Asa Butterfield (Hugo in “Hugo”) is very good as Ender, a loner who has been drafted into Battle School, where he and other youngsters train for leadership positions in a military bent on defending the earth from the insect-like Formics.

The aliens nearly destroyed the planet 50 years earlier, and now the united strength of humankind has sent a force to the Formics’ world for a preemptive strike — though apparently we have decided that our entire military might needs to be controlled by the agile, video-game-infused mind of one of the tweens being trained en route to the battle.

Ender is awkward and nerdy and hard to imagine as the savior of the human race. He is faced with bullying, isolation and suffocating expectations, but Butterfield deftly shows him growing. Ender directs his compatriots in zero gravity training battles, gains confidence and respect, but struggles to incorporate empathy into his strategically perfect decisions.

Harrison Ford plays the grown-up influence, manipulative Colonel Hyrum Graff, with Viola Davis as Major Anderson, his rarely-heard conscience. Ben Kingsley, who teamed with Butterfield in “Hugo,” also appears as a mentor late in the movie.

Hailee Steinfeld (so good in “True Grit”) plays Petra, Ender’s female sidekick, who throws him a line when he’s alone. Abigail Breslin is his sister, Valentine, the sibling too warm-hearted for Battle School — the polar opposite of their ultra-aggressive brother.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Steve Ouellette's Movie Reviews
Entertainment
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Entertainment Videos
Time Magazine Announces Top Influencers List Leto: "My Oscar Is a Filthy Mess" ShowBiz Minute: Murray, Foster, Wilde Stars Talk Guns N' Roses at Golden Gods Neil Patrick Harris Gets Outrageous As 'Hedwig' Ari Graynor Enrolls in CBS' Bad Teacher' ShowBiz Minute: Bieber, Bon Jovi, Barrymore Jon Favreau Goes Back to His Roots Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named Broadway Composers Unite to End Music Piracy Gilbert Goes Behind the Scenes on 'Bottoms Up' Raw: Royal Couple Tours Uluru in Australia 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots ShowBiz Minute: Signer, Brown, IHeartRadio Diaz and Company Glam Up for Premiere Amir Arison Covers 'The Blacklist' Jack White Makes Vinyl History Chris Brown's Trial on Assault Charge Delayed Raw: Mourners Gather for Peaches Geldof Funeral
CVPH Job Opportunities