Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Movie Review: Ender's Game (2013)

Based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game takes place in the near future after a hostile alien race called the Formics have attacked Earth. Thankfully, humanity was saved by an International Fleet Commander named Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley). Fearing a second attack, Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and the International Military have gather the best young minds at the illustrious Battle School, hoping to find the next Mazer and put an end to this conflict once and for all. Graff believes a shy, but brilliant young boy named Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) might be the person they are looking for. Will Ender be able to step up to the plate and lead the forces of humanity to victory, or will he crack under the pressure and fail?

Not being the biggest fan of Gavin Hood (who most people know as the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and finding most of the trailers rather underwhelming, I went into Ender's Game with rather low expectations. While the film wasn't perfect, I found Ender's Game to be an enjoyable film.

The cinematography was very well done. While it didn't blow me away, I feel like the camera-work and Hood's directing kept the film interesting to watch. The set-design and special effects work really helped int this department as well. The look of the Battle School and the Battle Room match what I imagined when reading the book and I loved the design of the Formics (especially the Queen).

The performances were great as well. Both Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford gave excellent performances, with Ford easily stealing every scene he's in. Ben Kingsley and Hailee Steinfeld also do a great job, giving solid performances and showing their talents as actors. While some of the actors in the smaller roles were not outstanding, I would hesitate to call anyone's performance in the film bad.

The only real problem I had with the film is its pacing. There are moments in the film where scenes move at lightning speed to the detriment of the scene itself. However, other scenes are a decent pace that keeps the story moving without being too fast or slow. The movie keeps bouncing back and forth between these two and it can be somewhat jarring at times.

With that being said, I still found Ender's Game to be an enjoyable movie. The acting, cinematography, and music are good and make up for the erratic pacing. If you like science-fiction movies and were a fan of Card's novel, you will probably find something to like in the film.

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