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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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A movie adaptation of an award winning science fiction novel from the 1980's Ender's Game (Ender Saga) Ender's game is a near future story in which the human race is still recovering from a war with an insectoid race. Who came very close to destroying humanity but who were just beaten off, thanks not least to the actions of one brave individual.

Knowing that the aliens could well be back one day, humanity is preparing to fight them again when the time comes to pass. The best and brightest from all over the globe are given a chance at military service. Starting from a very early age. Just in case the next war winning hero is amongst these recruits.

Ender Wiggum [Asa Butterfield] is one of those smart kids who really doesn't fit in. But Colonel Graff [Harrison Ford] thinks he might just be what humanity is looking for. Recruited into the international fleet, Ender has a tough education ahead of him. And a lot to learn.

Not least, what people will do to survive and prosper...

Described as 'Harry Potter meets Star Wars' simply because a lot of takes place in a military school with various different houses who compete against each other in a sports game, this does have a couple of fight scenes that don't pull their punches in depicting brutality, and isn't really for anyone under twelve.

As a piece of science fiction, it's not bad. It creates a credible near future environment and society. It tells a solid character drama, with a few plot twists along the way. And it does what all good science fiction should do. Make the viewer think about the many moral issues that the story raises.

As a movie, it's not bad. Asa Butterfield delivers a very assured performance, carrying the entire film very well. Harrison Ford makes a decent gruff military man, and the rest of the cast are pretty good. As are the visuals, with plenty of zero gravity sports and cgi starship battles.

How it rates as an adaptation of the book is a matter of opinion. It's one of those adaptations that sticks to the central narrative and gets that in, and as much else as it possibly can. Certain sub plots are lost or truncated. Perhaps it's best described as being pretty faithful but somewhat watered down.

The film ends with set up for possible sequels. Which probably won't happen since it underperformed at the box office. But all in all it's a fairly decent bit of science fiction film, and worth 4/5.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

The dvd begins with several trailers, which can be skipped via the next button on the dvd remote.

Extras are:

A commentary from the writer/director.

A commentary from two of the producers.

Several deleted/extended scenes. Which can be watched individually or all in a row. If you do the latter they run for just under eleven minutes. They can be watched with or without a commentary from the writer/director which explains them and why they were cut.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 November 2013
I liked this film and I am glad that I watched it, although it is definitely significantly INFERIOR to the book. Below, more of my impressions, with very limited SPOILERS.

As probably everybody already knows, this sci-fi war film is situated in the future, years after a failed alien invasion of the Earth. Fearing that another, even deadlier invasion can take place, humanity created a powerful space fleet and trained hundreds and hundreds of thousands of soldiers and officers. But in order to lead this huge armed forces, it was decided that a new kind of generals and admirals was needed, one able to learn and adapt faster when faced by complex and always varying alien tactics of space fighting. This film tells the story of a very promising recruit, young Andrew Ender Wiggin, who may just be the future war leader of the whole humanity - if only he manages to survive the excruciatingly difficult, increasingly painful and sadistically cruel training in which complex war games play a great role...

We learn those things in the first minute of the film and about the rest I will say no more. Young Asa Butterfield who plays Ender is simply AMAZING, as good as he was in "Hugo". Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley give a great show as his teachers, with Viola Davis and Nonso Anozie supporting them valiantly as respectively war academy main psychologist and the hulking drill sergeant. Young actresses Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breislin play also important roles, those of Petra, Ender's friend in academy and Valentine, Ender's older sister.

Now, this film is an adaptation of an archi-classic of Sci-Fi letters, written in 1985 by Orson Scott Card. The book "Ender's game" made quite a splash when first published and got all the yearly awards a SF book can get and it didn't age at all - in fact it is still a DARN GOOD READ. But I understand that it was not possible to make a big budget Hollywood adaptation without significant changes - and also it was probably not possible to ask the young actors to do on screen some of the things that are done in the book... For that reason, Ender from the film is a quite different character than the one from the book - he is softer, gentler, weaker, more vulnerable and lacks most of the ruthlessness described in the novel. Also, at the very end of the film, his actions are not motivated by pity and mercy as in the book but by guilt and remorse - and THAT is, I believe, the one change that was not necessary and it REALLY hurt this film.

For the needs of the film many of topics were also completely abandoned and the whole training was shortened, with especially the number of fascinating war games significantly reduced.

Still, I can not find it in my heart to take away one star from the rating, because notwithstanding all the changes, the director and the actors did a hell of a job and this film is a very pleasant watch! Excellent actors, great CGI, good action scenes, a tense and dramatic narration, very honest dialogs, all this makes "Ender's game" a good, solid Sci-Fi film - and there is not so much of them around. I warmly recommend to see it in the cinemas as long as it still play. I certainly will buy the DVD when it is available. Enjoy!
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on 29 May 2016
SPOILER WARNING, THIS REVIEW MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS

“Ender's Game” is a film based on Orson Scott Card's award-winning science fiction novel of the same title. Apparently, Card was involved in the movie adaptation. I never read the novel, and I admit that the film isn't one of my favorites. It is slow-paced and somewhat boring, with some characters looking like slapstick stereotypes (Bonzo comes to mind). The acting leaves something to be desired, too (again Bonzo comes to mind).

The premise is interesting, though.

The plot is set in the distant future after a brutal alien attack on Earth. It's implied at several points that the aliens are highly evolved social insects. Humanity pulls itself together and plans a counter-attack against the alien home world. Earth's space ships are remote controlled by specially trained children (sic). The battle bruised commanding officer Hyrum Graff, starred by an aged Harrison Ford, is looking for a kid with sociopathic tendencies and believes he has found the perfect candidate in Ender Wiggin. However, Ender turns out to be an empath with paranormal abilities and decides to play a game all his own, which could decide the fate of two civilizations…

Avid watchers of syfy on TV or cinema will duly note similarities with “Babylon 5”, “Starship Troopers” and perhaps even “Harry Potter”!

“Ender's Game” contain a number of unexpected twists, but it isn't until the very end that we get to know the full picture of what's really going on. And by then, I was frankly bored, since most of the film deals with Ender's training at a space station, and a very superficial treatment of his relationships with the other cadets. I really only want to give this movie two stars, but since I happen to like the underlying idea (and plot twists) I will very graciously award it three.

When “Ender's Game” premiered in the United States, gay rights activists called for a boycott of the film, since Orson Scott Card has actively campaigned against same-sex marriage. Card is a Mormon and a direct descendant of Brigham Young. The boycott was rather silly, since the movie has an “inclusive” cast and an anti-racist message. And yes, social insects are, ahem, matriarchal…
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on 18 June 2016
So-so sci-fi, about child military recruits, trained to fight an alien race.

Asa Butterfield is a fine actor, but utterly fails to convince as the lead here. Maybe it's just the part of a child becoming a high ranking leader in the proceedings, that just didn't work for me. His main expression throughout the film, seemed to only be one of a rabbit caught in the headlights.

Harrison Ford fares better, as Colonel Graff (or should that be gruff?), and seems to treat things as a warm up to his return as Han Solo.

Ben Kingsley, sports a hilarious Maroi facial tattoo, and an even more comical Kiwi accent. A total throwaway.

Very cg heavy, some impressive, some not so much.

The ending (kinda) saved the third act for me. I didn't see it coming, and things are left open for a sequel (it's the first adaptation of a best selling trilogy). It likely won't happen due to lacklustre box office though.

The picture quality was outstanding, despite the film's shortcomings.

The Audio quality surprises by not being particularly bass heavy. It features a fair bit of aerial combat, which just isn't as immersive as it should be.

Film 5.5/10
PQ 9/10
AQ 7/10
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I rather think this was as good as Hollywood could do with this one, particularly if aiming for this certificate (though Transformers made a 12, and with that language, I remain amazed, though it's otherwise suitable only for the under sixes). I always felt the book to be a rather adult book with kids in it, and this definitely moves more towards the kids than does the book.

However, it is a very entertaining movie. Most of the key themes from the book, including the final battle and aftermath are there, if toned down. The bullying and outsider themes that made such an impact on many of us are still there, and the effects all you could want. The battle room in particular is well-realised, though some sequences I'd have liked to see were missing.

Pretty much all of the cast and characterisation are fit for purpose, Ford and Kingsley reliable as ever, Asa Butterfield fine again, but I felt the sergeant was feeble- straight out of "The Sarah Jane Adventures" or that lost non-classic "Five Go To Boot Camp."

Still, overall, an enjoyable, perhaps languid, but never too slow, passable adaptation of a fine novel; one that will deserve another watch.

A job well done.
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An earlier reviewer mentioned that the story had been watered down, sadly
that is very often the case, it all comes down to economics, reaching a wider
audience brings in more 'dollars'
However...
Fifty years has past since an alien force was forced to withdraw from it's invasion
of earth, this was thanks to the apparent sacrifice of one man.
Based on the assumption that the aliens will return 'earth' has been preparing
for the possibility, however finding a candidate to lead has proved difficult.
'Colonel Graff' (Harrison Ford) recruits young intelligent trainee's because it
is believed that their reactions are quicker and lack fear.
They will be trained by using simulators to gauge their ability to make decisions,
training proves a tough leveler for the young recruits, however, one, is showing
real potential, 'Ender Wiggin' he appears to have many attributes for the task
ahead, he is promoted, now leading his own team.
The team progress to advanced schooling, they will learn that games are not
always as they seem.
This an absorbing watch, perhaps a little like watching a hi-tech video game
with deadly consequences.
Terrific special effects throughout, superb visual enjoyment, picture and sound
quality superb.
Worth a spin.
Special Features -
* Audio commentary by director 'Gavin Hood'
* Audio commentary by producers 'Gigi Pritzker' and 'Bob Orci'
* Deleted / Extended scenes (with optional audio commentary by 'Gavin Hood
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Watched this movie on a Download and liked it very much, so decided to buy the Blu ray version.Just to mention ..it's a typical tongue in cheek movie with lots of action and great visuals...My review is not based on the film itself as this is a more personal taste...but on the disc I received....It came well packaged and in a 3D cover sleeve,which gives the impression the film is 3D...but it's Not...The picture quality and sound quality is top notch and my Blu Ray player ran at 40Mbps throughout the movie which is as high as they come...( I have the Oppo 103D )..the steering and soundstage of the sound is just as impressive...Highly recommended if you want to test out your system and also have a bit of action..Cheers
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 15 March 2014
Earth has barley survived a war with an Alien insectoid race thanks to the bravery of one man, Mazer Rackham. Picking up 50 years on, in a more futuristic future where the united human military force have progressed further into space combat, they are now preparing for one final battle to decide the future of mankind. Through the training of potential young candidates they hope to find another hero to lead them to victory.

Ender's Game follows one such candidate, Ender Wiggin's (Asa Butterfield -Hugo) whose siblings failed the program due to his brothers extreme violence & sisters indecision flaws, yet, Ender has a perfect balance of both of their personalities. Ender goes through training with other candidates of various ages in a Hunger Games style battle of the fittest, including a Sci-Fi quidditch with laser pistols & classroom rocket science lessons. Ender himself is an extremely smart loner type with a tactical brilliance, always questioning authority. His abilities & leadership draw others to him naturally, and he uses they're strengths to fill the gaps in his own weaknesses.

There isn't a lot of attention grabbing action throughout if that is what your expecting from this movie, it has it's moments with the training dome & heated arguments occasionally getting physical for the first hour. But it's certainly more about focusing on Ender, with little depth to the other characters, as he tries to overcome bullying & the added mental pressure asserted by a desperate Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford- Indiana Jones) to see if Ender is capable of being the hero they need. The final leg of the film is a series of very well presented CGI simulated battles, with Sci-Fi techno babble that just goes over your head. It's Ender's compassion & questioning about the Alien race's motives that set's up the predicament of the ending, which should had made for an emotional & heartfelt finale, but sadly it just didn't make you care enough. The acting was more than passable from the young adult stars & the adults, also co-stars Ben Kingsley (Hugo) & Viola Davis (The Help).

In conclusion, Enders Game is visually pleasing & intriguing up to a point, but doesn't do enough with it's dystopian premise to make it stand out from the crowd. Strength of the content is similar to the first few Harry Potter films. Worth a watch.
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on 12 June 2016
Despite being a claimed UHD HDR disc this film looks terrible. The transfer has been given a brightness level so far above reference that my OLED TV displayed the top and bottom black bars as light grey! I have several other UHD discs, not least The Revenant which I watched immediately before this one and my black levels are PERFECT. Don't waste your money on this, just get the HD blu-ray. Oh, and which genius stuck the totally unnecessary sticky security strip over the silver UHD box inlay resulting in 25% of the inlay coming off when I removed the damned strip?! Idiots.
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VINE VOICEon 9 March 2014
Anyone that has read the book knows that the book is just unfilmable. Not because of the special effects required because this film has some phenomenal set pieces that meet what would be needed and then some. Not because of a lack of actors capable of playing the parts because Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and co. do an admirable job at filling some difficult roles. No the reason the book would always be hard to turn into a film is because the brutality and treatment of even younger kids than those shown in the film would breach all sorts of cinematic guidelines. They've understandably aged the kids by a few years, toned down the mental brutality but lost some of the potency of the book and the sympathy for what Ender Wiggin was going through. I did still enjoy the film and was surprised by how well it turned out and as I have already said it does look stunning. It deserved to do better at the box-office than it did but the bad press for the original author didn't help its cause.
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