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    November 8, 2013

    MOVIE REVIEW: ENDER'S GAME

    Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is one of the best reading material ever since I was a kid. Written in the 80s, coated with much darker-than-usual story lines for any children setting but was also aptly made to reflect the then world as the Cold War is drawing to an end. For 30 years, Ender's Game remains as one of the best sci-fi fictions of all time and that is undeniable.

    But with its transition from a 324-page novel to the big screens, there are bound to come along with some undaunted and worrying facts of how this Gavin Hood's version will eventually stands out. Fortunate enough, Gavin Hood, who was notoriously known for damaging the first Wolverine movie, offers a solidly-written and faithful science fiction adventure that may please a majority of those who are familiar with the novel.


    Sets 50-year ahead after the first attack by the alien species known as Formics on Earth, International Fleet created the Battle School, a program designed to subject young children with tactical minds in anticipation of more Formic's invasion. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is one of the trainee and is hand-picked by Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) for his intelligence and emotional empathy that qualify him among the elites to command the human's armada.

    Placed under intense pressure and immersive peer-isolation during his training, Ender's fate as a leadership material is sealed when he graduates to the Command School which means he is a step closer of battling the Formics. But Ender must face his own demon in a mind and psychological game that could affects the outcome of his own potentials.

    "Ender's Game" is both a risky and promising product to set off a brand new franchise. Once it was believed that "Ender's Game" is unfilmable, Gavin Hood does a good job in setting the movie into motion. It seems that the gamble pays off. The screenplay is well-written and somewhat more solid than any other franchise-starters we have seen this year.

    Strangely enough, "Ender's Game" is intriguing enough despite of its own unnecessarily hefty and complex issues hovering around it. If it is not as thought-provoking as the original material, it is still able to offer a grasp-on the full spectrum of the themes. In fact, "Ender's Game" is practically been faithful to Card's novel, putting every thematic content and tone nature as accurate portrayed as possible.

    Asa Butterfield (Hugo) does a marvelous job in giving the character a more shear of depth than I initially thought. However, there are some issues in regards on how the character was written. Hood should have given Ender a more emotional and gratifying dilemma which outstretched similar to the novel due to his isolation, heavy training and treatment from his officers, thus leaving out the much needed ghastly morale to shape his future.

    Harrison Ford and Voila Davis are quite comfortable in their roles but there is nothing to expect out of them except for morality comparison. Ford's character is a voice of darkly forces which speaks of the allegory on genocide, child soldier and possible war crimes. In comparison, Davis' Anderson speaks for more of a palpable reason. Unfortunately, Ben Kingsley's Mazer Rackham dispenses too little screentime that ultimately makes me wonder if his appearance is anywhere significant at all (in the novel he is).

    With charismatic and engaging use of special effects and CGIs, the movie makes use of the utmost time in demonstrating the genuine feel of the kind of trainings in "Ender's Game". Beyond the video-game setup, the movie offers more a lot more with the spectacular science fiction aura with a stunning space adventure provided in stereoscope, something pretty much reminiscent of "Gravity", nonetheless.

    But the downers are that the plot may ends up feeling a little numb towards the end. The final climatic battle comes with a kicker that lacks the absolution or urgency. The closure we are looking for is somewhat shallow and it offers little satisfaction. And the trouble is, the movie never managed to shake its atrocity on putting the labels 'genocide', 'pro-military propaganda' and 'justification' side-by-side, an old criticism even for the novel.

    "Ender's Game" looks more sci-fi adventurous than "Tron: Legacy" and the solid screenplay and acting does the job along its dynamic and darker themes, despite been not as thought-provoking and as psychological as it should be and it loses some of the momentum towards the end.

    "Ender's Game" stars Asa Butterfield ("Hugo"), Harrison Ford ("Indiana Jones movies"), Hailee Steinfeld ("True Grit") and Abigail Breslin ("Little Miss Sunshine"), presented by Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment, and directed by Gavin Hood ("Tootsi") from his screenplay based on Scott Orson Card's "Ender's Game". The movie is rated P13 and is on release since November 7, 2013.

    MY RATING:
    Story: 3.5
    Casts: 4.0
    Cinematography: 5.0
    Effects: 5.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 15.3/20.0

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