MOVIE REVIEW: ENDER’S GAME (REVIEW #1)
Hey guys, Andrew here. Advent Seven has decided to write TWO reviews for the new Ender’s Game movie: one from the perspective of a viewer who hasn’t read the book, and one from someone who has. We felt this was the most appropriate way to let readers know if this movie is for them. So, I’m going to write the first review as someone who’s never read Ender’s Game, and Matt (who’s read nearly all the books) will be providing his take on the film at a later time.
Brilliant, actually. There’s not a thing I didn’t like about this movie, and I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen a movie where the main character was intellectual, calculating, and yet more understanding of his enemy than anyone else. Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is a boy whose prodigal abilities as a tactician gain him attention from Colonel Hyrum Graff and Major Gwen Anderson. Ender is effectively inducted into Battle School where Graff quickly isolates him, already confident that Ender will become Earth’s best commander and the one who will end the war against their alien enemies, the Formics.
The Formics are an ant-like race which attacked Earth many years ago, but now the International Fleet has cornered them back to their homeworld, where they wait while we train our best commanders to finally annihilate them once and for all. Throughout the movie, we watch Ender as he learns how to fight, how to lead, and how to deal with the immense amount of pressure the colonels and higher-ups have put on him. He is cunning and can think outside of the box, but he is also troubled by how little Earth knows of its enemy and cannot follow instructions from officers whom he does not respect. He is a hero, but does not believe this in the slightest, and it is heart-wrenching to watch the path which he is forced to walk down.
The most beautiful set piece of the entire film is the battle room, where cadet teams compete against each other in a practice war zone through a capture-the-flag style of game. Each cadet is geared with a zero-gravity suit and a stun gun, and the battle room itself is a zero-g environment inside a glass sphere, filled with steel triangular structures that can be used to either obstruct an enemy’s path, or become a hiding spot. The visual effects here are glorious, and just might remind you of Tron: Legacy’s environment. The suits themselves are iconic, and the design of the helmets simply make me wish I had one. However, the entire area only reflects the futurism of the IF’s Battle School interior, which screams out a sense of outer space militarism and practicality, persuading one to think that such a ship may be physically possible 50 years from now.
The emotional and psychological gravity of this story is overwhelming, and it raises many philosophical questions that can get you thinking. The very first thing you’ll see when walking into the movie theatre is the famous quote by Ender Wiggin himself, which is spread across the screen and starts off the movie: “When I understand my enemy well enough to defeat him, in that moment, I also love him.” Ender is the type of person who wishes to understand his opponent, including how they think and what their motives are, so that he may defeat them in the most effective way possible. This means also attempting to peacefully come to an agreement with his opponent instead of always trying to crush them through brute force. However, the entire International Fleet and its higher-ups do not feel the same, and rather wish to blindly attack the Formics without any interest in properly understanding them. And not only that, but they want Ender to do the same. With the tensions that ensue between this ground-breaking protagonist and the military heads, as well as the social interactions between him and his fellow cadets and the frightening violence which manifests from this, the story grabs hold of your mind and refuses to let go until the end credits. In this movie, we are tackling subjects which include isolationism, moralities of military hierarchies and institutions, and the psychological trauma behind war.
Ender’s Game is intense, and quite possibly one of the best science-fiction movies in recent years. With a true, respectful protagonist that one can follow and questions which address the ethics of social relations in both a friendly setting and a situation of war, this is a tale that is superior to other modern films and will certainly surprise and amaze. Coupled with a chilling score that perfectly matches the mood of Orson Scott Card’s creation, we’ve got a masterpiece here.
MY SCORE: 10/10
SORE DEWA, MATA ASHITA
-Andrew (Head, Founder of A7)
P.S. Be on the lookout for Matt’s review, which will be coming in future weeks.
Leave a Reply