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Customer Review

80 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A downgraded, softer, watered down Andrew Ender Wiggin rises to meet his destiny..., 12 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Ender's Game [DVD] (DVD)
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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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Dec 2013 11:58:24 GMT
Trollslayer says:
An excellent review and it is one of my favourite books, your point the training is very good - in the book it is where you see people change and Ender become the leader.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Dec 2013 08:22:38 GMT
Maciej says:
Thank you for your post - I also count it as one of my favourite books and even if the film is inferior to it, still, it was a really honest effort.

Best regards, Merry Christmas and happy troll slaying

Posted on 18 Feb 2014 12:14:18 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 18 Feb 2014 12:15:19 GMT]

Posted on 18 Feb 2014 12:15:52 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 18 Feb 2014 12:16:06 GMT]

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Feb 2014 12:16:24 GMT
Maciej says:
Hello and thank you for your post

Answering to your request, well, I think I already did elaborate a bit, by writing "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."

Best regards

Posted on 20 Aug 2014 23:16:32 BDT
Dave says:
Pity and mercy would have made the twist at the end better but the rest of the film was boring and how anyone can give this 5 stars is beyond me! and while I have never read the book of either this or the Hunger Games that film did this so called hard hitting teen thing a million times better
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Maciej
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