ENDER'S GAME

★★

A FEW TOO MANY MOVES

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Brent Davidson
1st December 2013

Do you remember playing games of Monopoly as a child, when tensions were high and games long? Best to get comfortable for yet another long game – but this time, don’t expect to be the winner.

Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is a child prodigy who is chosen to attend an elite military training camp located in space. Here, he's taught all about the enemy, who almost destroyed earth during an invasion, and who they now must destroy. He must learn all of this while trying to fit in socially with the other gifted pupils, learn to be his own sort of leader and to challenge the authority of Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford).

The first thing that strikes you as you watch 'Ender’s Game' is that it feels like it should have been in 3D. Its absence oddly adds to the film's general incomplete nature; there is just something missing. So much of this movie is left unexplained, and so much of this film is dictated to the audience. It is at a constant struggle with itself to establish the world and characters, without giving away too much of the game. It's a shame that with such a powerhouse of a cast - Harrison Ford and Sir Ben Kingsley included - that characters are so throwaway and two-dimensional.

SWITCH: 'ENDER'S GAME' TRAILER

What really needs to be spoken about (or never spoken about again) is Ben Kingsley’s New Zealand accent. It may be a pivotal character point in the book, or a fantastic excuse to give him face tattoos, but it ends up being utterly ridiculous. It had such effect that it almost turned this fairly formulaic sci-fi into a comedy.

I would usually willingly be led on a futuristic adventure and accept what I see, but with 'Ender’s Game', there was just too much to follow. Superfluous embellishment litters the film and would seem only to fulfil the fans of the books (of which I am yet to become) – especially where things like the zero gravity games and the “welfare officer” are concerned. For a film that is leading to a final grand twist, it doesn’t pay off. A lack of stakes or empathy developed for the characters is sure to leave you feeling like you’re the loser.

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