Are children the protectors of the world against alien forces and how far can military education go? That’s what Gavin Hood’s sci-fi movie Ender’s Game tries to find out.
(USA 2013, director: Gavin Hood)
Preparing for an assault of an alien species, young Ender Wiggin enters an education that’s as unforgiving as it is important for the human race to survive.
Despite mostly having youngsters play the main characters and the adults taking a backseat, acting is quite good, and it makes for an interesting alternative to the militaristic sci-fi films of late. However, it also has its share of problems, as it needs some getting used to having to watch these children command a whole starfleet, saluting and doing all kinds of jingo talk.
It’s here where the direction of the movie feels a bit lost. On the one hand, it’s obvious that the director (and also the book it’s based on) wants to show the problems of warmongering. It succeeds in some scenes (and especially the great ending), but it takes quite a while, and one is torn between often almost ridiculous big speeches, camaraderie and critical acceptance of certain rules and orders in addition to reliance on individuality.
If one takes the social commentary away (and also some very touching scenes), the movie can still entertain with some fantastic action scenes and a great musical score. The runtime of less than two hours is filled with memorable but also redundant scenes. Maybe it has to do with characters not getting the attention they are given in the form of a longer book or because one has seen struggles of youths/adults in and outside a military world so many times before. Still, what remains is a recommendable sci-fi flick which is just not cult classic material.
Did you watch the movie after reading the book maybe? If so, what are the differences? Is it a good adaptation? Is this a future scenario we’re likely to have?
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