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home : columnists and contributors : columnists and contributors May 24, 2016

11/6/2013 12:01:00 AM
Movie Review: Ender's Game
Cynthia Morse Zumbaugh

I had every intention of seeing a comedy this week, but I was so grumpy that I knew I wouldn't be giving it a fair shake, so I chose to see Ender's Game instead. I have always loved Harrison Ford, the rest of the cast is impressive and I thought, "Why not?" I was quite pleasantly surprised.

I had never read any of the books from this series, but I understand that fans of the books are unhappy with this presentation, as apparently they took parts of a couple of books and put them together to make one movie. I learned the painful truth years ago when I first saw Gone With the Wind; Hollywood rarely stays true to the book. Character development and back stories fall by the wayside in an effort to fit several hundred pages into a couple of hours or less.

It is the year 2136 and about 50 years earlier the earth was attacked by an alien species called Formics. Much like the plot of Independence Day, a lone pilot named Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) managed to destroy the main ship and save earth, but he hasn't been seen since and the earth remains on alert. Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) is always on the lookout for new recruits and when he finds Ender and realizes his abilities (quite a brilliant boy,) Ender is suddenly moved up the ranks.

I am inclined to read the books now because I am certain that much was probably lost in translation, but that didn't stop this from being an entertaining movie. It is worth seeing simply for the graphics and the special effects alone, but most of the performances are top notch. Ford seems to be having a great time, though I saw a quote from him saying that this is no Star Wars. Most movies aren't. Asa Butterfield is very good in the title role, but his support is outstanding. Ben Kingsley, Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld lead a great supporting staff. I was a little disappointed in Viola Davis; I've seen her do so much better, but an actor is only as good as the role they are given.

This is rated PG-13 and for the life of me, I'm not sure why. No sex, no nudity, little or no profanity and very little actual violence, although I guess the idea of an alien attack could frighten some children.

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