Matt Adcock’s film review: Ender’s Game shows that saving the planet is child’s play

Enders Game
Enders Game
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“I’ll do everything I can to win this war.”

Meet Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) – earth’s potential saviour in our intergalactic war with a nasty alien race called the Formics (also amusingly known as ‘Buggers’ – due their ‘bug like’ appearance)…

Ender is an awesome warrior who is not afraid to break the rules, he’s also a strategic mastermind and an ultimate battle tactician, oh, and he’s all this at only 12 years old.

It’s 50 years after the insectoid invaders attacked Earth with the intention of stealing our resources and wiping us out.

We managed to repel them at great cost – mostly due to the heroics of legendary fighter pilot Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) and since then have been developing our International Battle Fleet to prepare for the expected follow-up invasion.

But it seems that the best, fastest minds on the planet belong no longer to our air force pilots but to our children and so it will be they who control our advanced space weaponry and lead the counter attack on the Formic homeworld.

Ender is a brilliant but withdrawn boy, who comes from a troubled family – when his potential for battle is spotted by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) he’s sent to the International Fleet and attend the legendary Battle School, located in Earth orbit. It’s here that he gets to play increasingly difficult war games in order to prove himself worthy to lead the military into a war that will determine the future of Earth and the human race…

Enders Game is a quality sci-fi that looks the part thanks to some slick CGI – especially in regards to the spaceships, which are pleasingly realised on the big screen and look amazing when they get into huge scale intergalactic warfare.

Butterfield is excellent in the lead, bringing just the right mixture of tortured innocence and pre-teen angst to a tricky role.

Harrison Ford is great, too, oozing his effortless Han Solo-esque charisma even if Graff is a morally ambivalent character.

Some of the supporting cast of kids aren’t quite up to the job, though, and the film sometimes drifts into the realm of melodramatic – but it’s never long before we’re back into a frantic space action scene and things kick into adrenalin pumping battle thrills.

Director Gavin ‘Tsotsi’ Hood shows that he can deliver a winning sci-fi adaptation which, like the novel it’s based on, will leave you thinking about wider moral issues.