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A Review Of The Movie, Ender's Game
A Review Of The Sci-Fi Movie, Ender’s Game…
I had such a pleasant time watching the Sci-fi tour-de-force movie that is Ender’s Game, that I wondered out loud why wasn’t this gem of a movie not release during the Summer - I mean if clunkers like Elysium and After Earth were selected for that coveted time slot… why not Ender’s Game? I must confess that I knew nothing of the movie or that it was taken from what must have been a popular book - but I sensed that this was the case when I realized how many teens were lining up with me to see the movie… at first in seeing so many ‘youngons’ waiting to see Ender’s Game… that I too felt out of place like that older guy you see at a young people’s hangout… however, I was soon at ease when I got into the compelling movie.
For those like myself who were not privy to what Ender’s Game is about: it takes place on earth in the future where the earth is decimated by a visiting alien army, the Formics. This alien invasion by the Formics so devastated the earth that it resulted in it being governed by a semi military/police world, whereby the citizens are apparently told then how much children to have… akin to China. This is where the young Ender Wiggin, played Oscar-worthy like by Asa Butterfield – once again, someone please tell me why the Oscar elites do not recognize this genre of movies, especially, when that young man, Mr. Butterfield, holds his own against former Oscar winners and nominee (s) like Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Sir Ben Kingsley?
Apparently, in this earth’s future, being part of the military is like getting into Harvard or any other Ivy League school… and, so, we see the young Ender, after being recruited by Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford), going through the travails of military Boot Camp… Hyrum Graff relationship is almost like the relationship between Neo and Morpheus in The Matrix. It is important to note that Hyrum Graff - along with the military elites - is so fearful and affected psychologically by the last invasion of earth by the Formics that Graff is willing to use the young Ender to execute a form of Catharginian Peace… which, stems from ancient Romans’ killing every man capable of military service in Carthage, so as to prevent the brilliant Carthaginian General Hannibal from using such men to attack Rome like he had done successfully in the past.
On the other side of the coin is Viola Davis - Major Gwen Anderson - whose character is like a motherly counselor looking out for the children… the latter who now make up the army because of their dexterity and other skills used to play video games… which will be needed and conducive to fight the future battles with the Formics. The young recruit, Ender, stands out right away… take for instance, when Ender is the only one who figures out that there is no horizontal or vertical position in zero gravity and that it only appears that way. So inherently, tactically gifted is Ender in military strategy that he stands out in an academy that is replete with obstacles, set up by the callous Colonel Graff. Case in point is when Major Gwen Anderson gives Ender a test of a rat, which has to make a choice to escape literal death - it is both brilliant and shocking how young Ender resolved the issue for the rat to escape what seems like inevitable death, albeit to the horror of the counselor… but to the pure ‘ends justify the means’ elation to Colonel Graff. Look too at how the young Ender handled a bully by beating him senseless and, in so doing, shows how the deterrence he used in confronting the bully will then be perversely emulated and used in his future to commit genocide of an entire species....
Ender does not even have peace at home where his jealous brother wants to harm him... like the Biblical David before and immediately after he took Goliath’s head or the young Alexander succeeding his father in Greek history. Watching Mr. Butterfield act is a marvelous spectacle… going up against seasoned actors like Ford and Kingsley, which reminded me of a young Dakota Fanning going up against Denzel Washington. Ender’s Game movie is so good, perhaps, because director Gavin Hood also wrote the script and knew what vision he wanted… it is amazing to watch young Butterfield in the space of two hours morphed convincingly from an awkward lad into a battlefield commander that one would die for… with the cadence, military walk, and ticks of those who have served. It was also a pleasure to see Harrison Ford, who played all those heroic, iconic roles - Jack Ryan, Indiana Jones, and Han Solo - playing the supporting, sympathetic Machiavellian role of a man who is weary and who was traumatized by the alien attack.
I do not know if there is a sequel to the book that spawned the Ender’s Game movie… but if there is, I am going to salivate for the Ender's Game movie sequel… and there is a saying that the book is always better than the movie - and, indeed, if this is so, what pleasure it must have been to read the book by author, Orson Scott Card. Incidentally, I am not going to give away the ending of Ender’s Game - only to say that young Ender would have liked to have taken refuge in the saying that ignorance is bliss!