The Buzz: Ender’s Game

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When I first heard about “Ender’s Game,” I assumed it would be your average geeky, sci-fi movie. From the looks of the trailer and the summary, my expectations fell somewhere between the ludicrous “Tron: Legacy” and Scott Derrickson’s attempt at a remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” However, I was surprised to find the movie just a few notches below “X-Men: First Class.”

The plot, I found, was more complex and intriguing than I expected. The movie is set in the future, during a war between Earthlings and a hostile alien race called the Formics. The dignified Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and the International Military are training the finest children in search of a hero to lead the military to victory in the next battle. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a shy, but strategic genius is pulled out of school to join the elite Battle School. Ender’s ability to quickly master advanced war games distinguishes him. Colonel Graff designates Ender as the military’s next hero, resulting in his promotion to Command School. There, he is trained to lead his fellow soldiers into a battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race.

One of my favorite aspects of this film was its lack of emphasis on romance. Unlike most teen sci-fi movies, the plot merely grazes the subject of romance and instead focuses on character development. It was refreshing to see excitement spur from something other than love. The only romantic aspect of the movie was the undeniable (and adorable!) chemistry between Ender and Petra (Hailee Steinfeld), who smiles at Ender for a second too long.

Butterfield’s acting skills are not up to par in this film. His expressions seem bland and his lips never curve into a smile, even when the character was meant to be joyful. I felt that I was only watching his vibrant blue eyes throughout the movie, because everything else about his performance failed to catch my attention.

On the other hand, the effects in the movie seemed impressive. I’m no expert on CGI, but even I could tell that the effects in this movie were—what’s the word? Realistic? Lavish? No, wait, luxurious. From the zooming spaceships to the insect-like aliens, everything was finely detailed to perfection. It was definitely a fascinating sight to see all the aliens come to life.

My main problem with the movie, however, was that it didn’t make me sit on the edge of my seat. Since all battles and fights were set in the same place, nothing thrilling or new really seems to happen. Everything seems redundant after a while, even at its climax.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie, despite its satisfactory actors. It wasn’t exceptional, but much, much better than I had anticipated. I’m sure it will be enjoyable to anyone who had read the book.