Optimism Justified: Ender’s Game (2013)

I have been cautiously optimistic about Ender’s Game. I knew that it would go one of two ways: great or shit. I am very happy to report that my optimism was justified.

I read the book when I was young, and again about a year ago. I mention this because I loved the book. I also love the movie adaptation. They are similar, but because they are different media, the way the story is told is necessarily different. I’m going to be vague here to keep from spoiling the experience.  For those who’ve read the book, the movie leaves out a big chunk of sub plot. It also changes some aspects of the story because of time restraints.

That stated, I turn now to think about the movie in terms of what a film can and should do. Ender’s Game does an excellent job of keeping with the spirit of the book. We watch a painfully young boy thrown into a situation well beyond the capabilities of the entire adult population. Asa Butterfield is brilliant in the title role. Harrison Ford (Colonel Graff ) rides the line between careless child abuse and repentant, yet driven, leader beautifully. Likewise, the supporting cast is wonderful.

While there are plenty of special effects, they serve to enhance the story rather than make up for a lack of one. In this era of Michael Bay and hundreds of million dollar budgets, that is very refreshing.

I highly recommend you go see this movie, with one caveat. If you have not read the book, do so first. There is a surprise in the story which is better served through the book than in the movie. It’s an easy read, about 300 pages depending on which version of the book you get. Definitely read it first, then go see the movie. You’ll be glad you did.

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