Premise: In an effort to exploit Hollywood for all its young talent of the last few years, I assume a (possibly coked up) movie producer said in the past year, “I have a teen sci-fi picture I need to make. Bring me that critically acclaimed kid from Hugo, that critically acclaimed kid from True Grit, that critically acclaimed kid from Kings of Summer, and that critically acclaimed little girl who used to be in Little Miss Sunshine. And why don’t you find me the critically acclaimed girl from Kick-Ass as well? Oh, she’s remaking Carrie? Oh well, nevermind. What? Who? The kid from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? Nah… That kid sucks.”
Oh, and I guess Ender’s Game is also based on some book or something that I assume no one has ever read before? Some dollar store bargain bin read, I think? Maybe a Danielle Steel? It’s about a kid who is really good at video games, so he can translate that skill into commanding real life space armies and be a hero to Earth. I tried using that excuse to convince my parents to let me play more video games when I was a kid, but my dad simply replied “You’re not fooling me, son, we both know you’re awful at video games.”
-I guess it has good sci-fi action and special effects. I don’t think I’d go as far as to call them great, but I also wouldn’t go as far as to call them noticeably bad, either. They were commendable. Lots of dark colors and good contrast.
-Even though he didn’t bring a ton to the table, I still enjoy seeing Harrison Ford acting in things. If there was any sort of compliment I could give about his performance, it’s that I think he genuinely enjoyed using the particular phone he used to phone it in for Ender’s Game. I’m sure it was gold-plated, and had diamond encrusted wiring.
-When the action kicks in, it’s usually entertaining. That practice arena in the school looked like it would be super fun to play in real life. It’s basically zero G LaserQuest. But with paralysis guns!
-It has kind of a heavy, thought-provoking ending that I wasn’t expecting. I liked how it both played off the strength of Ender’s talent, and yet totally exploited his reckless genius. It makes you think about the actions of the people in charge, and then makes you wonder if Ender is just being a little crybaby bitch again because he didn’t get to do everything his way.
-Seriously, Ender is kind of a whiny little bitch. I suppose the whole premise behind his character is that he doesn’t respect authority, and he has to work his way up the ladder by disregarding orders at every turn, assuming they end up working in his favor (they almost always do). But then when things don’t go his way, he tears up and moans about it. Ender is an egotistical nerd who treats everyone he meets like they’re his subordinates. YOU WEREN’T EVEN THE FIRST CHOSEN ONE, BRO. You were just Earth’s last hope, because they ran out of military funding or time or something, I don’t remember.
-It seemed like most of the time, the action would either have way too much going on, or it would be comically minimalist. And they foreshadow the crap out of everything. If something happens during an action scene in the first half, you can likely bet it will be mirrored some way in the second half.
-You know what? I don’t like Asa Butterfield. I don’t like his dumb face. I don’t like his dumb name. I just don’t like him.
-I will never understand how in movies where the main enemy species is a giant hive of seemingly dumb insects with no opposable thumbs, who sport giant spikey claws, and have big clunky movements (this goes for Starship Troopers and After Earth as well), can build ultra advanced space crafts with high-powered laser guns and the ability to travel across the entire galaxy? They live in primitive caves without even discovering a concept resembling electricity, yet they have gone as far as to build a million fully functional intergalactic war ships? MAKES SENSE, HUH? [immediately gets ambushed by an ant-powered plasma tank that emerged from under my dishwasher] [renders it useless with a can of RAID]
-I wasn’t super anticipating this movie or anything, so I didn’t feel like dishing out the extra money for 3D. But you could tell that it had some gimmicky 3D crap in it, like space barf floating towards the camera, which I’m sure got a raucous “Ew grossssssss” out of every 8-year-old who saw this movie. To me, nothing looks lamer than seeing a 2D movie where stuff is obviously flying at the screen for sake of a 3D gag. Shoot for the 2D, the way most people will probably watch it (especially at home), and then use the 3D as an extra benefit whatever it works. I mean, that’s how I would do it, just saying.
-I could tell a bunch of the more nonsensical elements that came across as weird to me were probably just included to appease fans of the book. I assume this is also why the entire film felt rushed, and the general structure of the plot was clunky. I understood what was going on, but at times it felt like the film adaptation of the Cliff’s Notes version of Ender’s Game.
Final Thoughts: Eh, this is kind of forgettable effort on a couple of fronts. It’s forgettable as an adult level science fiction film because it’s too heavily geared toward appealing to the teen, Hunger Games-type audience it so desperately craves. And conversely, it’s forgettable as a teen adventure because it’s so heavy-handed and doesn’t have Liam Hemsworth taking his shirt off (there goes your 12-17 female demographic, dumb movie producer). Having to watch a dorky teen flail his arms wildly at an impossibly complex hologram computer system while yelling “Now!”, does not exactly make for groundbreaking or compelling cinema.
6.5 out of 10