Reviewed by Raven Devanney
“Ender’s Game,” adapted from the worldwide best selling book by Orson Scott Card is a must see event. 50 years after an alien race tried to colonize earth and millions of lives were lost, the International Military continue to strengthen their forces in hopes to prevent and eliminate any possibility of future attacks. Young children are enlisted in a program that trains them to fight and learn strategies through intensive studies and video-game like activities. The best of the best are then sent off to boot camp in space to be trained to lead and fight in the military. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is an extremely gifted boy who is recruited by Colonel Gaff (Harrison Ford). Gaff believes that Ender might be the only hope left for the human race and intends to train him to lead the International Military. Will the fate of the entire earth be too much for young Ender to cope with? According to KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Raven D, "This film is so emotionally intense, I honestly was speechless once the film was over." Read her full review below.
Reviewed by Raven D., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16
I am absolutely in love with this film. Not only is it visually breathtaking in IMax, but it has so many emotional layers that touch on an abundance of issues that surface in our society. First off, the cinematography and CGI is absolutely flawless. I love the design of the Space Camp where the recruits are trained. I also think it’s cool that although “Ender’s Game” is very futuristic, they don’t go overboard with the advanced technology which makes it seem as if these could be things we would see in the future. I really like the fact that there is no obvious makeup on the child actors. Since they are only children and are playing children in the film, the makeup artists kept them natural looking and allow their blemishes to be shown which is something you don’t typically see.
This film is so emotionally intense. I honestly was speechless once the film was over. “Ender’s Game” is two hours long and I could have sat in that theater for several hours more. One thing that really stood out to me is that this film touches on the topic of sending children off to war and the detrimental effect it has on their emotions. This is a serious issue in our society today because, even though we aren’t sending 12-year-olds off to war, so many of our troops are fresh out of high school and are in no way ready for what they are about to face. This film shows how the effects of war and violence weigh on the children and how they are broken down and built back up into people lacking empathy and emotional stability. It brings up the issue that, if these kids even come home alive, there isn’t much left of them. Another issue that is prevalent in our culture that is also addressed is the fact that realistic, violent video games are completely desensitizing our generation to the very real issues of violence in our world today. In the movie, the kids are trained by “playing” several different war games - from contact strategies on teams, to video game-like exercises that test their ability to control a space fleet. They are playing these “games” while not being able to fully understand how their actions affect others. I also really enjoyed the fact that so many different cultures are represented in this movie. A lot of times we just see films that are centered around the U.S. and our own customs but, this film really shows how all cultures and ethnic backgrounds are affected.
I like so many characters in this film that it’s hard to pick one favorite. I obviously loved Asa Butterfield's character, Ender, because he does a ridiculously outstanding job of portraying the complexity of his character. Ender goes through extremely rigorous training that pushes him both physically and emotionally and he has to deal with his own issues of being either too empathetic or too quick to violence. I also really love Bonzo, played by Moises Arias, because I think Moses is a fantastic actor and I’ve only ever seen him in more comedic roles. To see him play such an intense role is really powerful. This film also has some other fantastic young actors such as Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld, Aramis Knight as well as incredible adult actors such as Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Viola Davis. Overall this film has an outstanding cast and characters.
I give “Ender’s Game” 5 out of 5 stars because I feel like words can’t describe this film. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It entertained me while also getting me to think about real world issues. I do, however, recommend this film for ages 13 to 18. This film is very intense emotionally and visually. There is quite a bit of violence and even though it isn’t over-the-top gory, it is very realistic. This film left a big impact on me emotionally and younger children may not be able to handle that type of intensity. But, if you are over the age of 13, I strongly recommend it even if you aren’t necessarily into sci-fi or futuristic films. "Ender’s Game” has so many layers that there is something for everyone. So head to your local theater because “Ender’s Game” is showing in Imax and 3D now!
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Raven D. age 16.