Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Ender’s Game


The International Military headhunt and secure a brilliant young man in order to recruit him for a huge mission: To save the entire earth from an alien race which threatens to completely wipe out the planet.

But the only way he can succeed, is by taking part in the biggest virtual reality game ever created..

What a strange little picture! Ender’s Game was originally a science fiction novel written by Orson Scott Card in 1985. So why they suddenly decided to release it in movie format nearly 20 years later is a tad boggling. Although moderately intriguing, my personal view is that they should have made the film those many years ago – when it would have been widely appreciated and adored – not released it into cinemas in 2013, when in our current time of life, we’ve seen practically everything there is to be imagined about outer space and its potential inhabitants.

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The cast were actually rather dull in this movie. I’d love to say one of them was hilarious – one was slick and quick, and the other was captivating. But I can’t. Because who do we get?.. Harrison Ford, who let’s face it, is on the fast-track to retirement – and Viola Davis, who is neutral at the best of times.

Harrison seemed to do what he always does in movies; be stern. You know his classic chin-pointing-toward-chest, gruff voice telling someone how to do something in a very strict manner.. yes, well he did that – again. There honestly was no acting required on his part, because his character Colonel Graff is a leader, a commanding officer who barks rules and converses with such technicality, that its all in the voice – no acting required. 

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This movie was owned by Asa Butterfield. His stoney-faced portrayal of Ender Wiggin was consistent throughout. A very strong little actor, he literally performed his way to success. Although it would have been nice to see him smile or joke once in a while. He seemed to stand straight, hands behind his back as if at someone’s funeral the entire time.

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Virtually Reality

The special effects of Ender’s Game are to be applauded. At one point, we were taken into space and onto the deck of a ship – in which all I could do was stare at the screen in awe. And another part sees Ender take part in training (for combat) which I just couldn’t tear my eyes away from. Think of the graphics & effects used in such films as Sucker Punch, Skyline, Elysium or Cloverfield – the glossy shine, the smooth transition, the colours and feeling. This movie took all these elements into account, and spread them widely.

I’d go so far as to say the graphics & effects were the best part of the feature. But then with an outer space theme, the director can’t afford to do things by halves. The story is set in the future, but we don’t get much Earth action – its all done in space. Although it creates an exciting “we’re in space, and we’re training to go to war” atmosphere, all we get is the training. I understand the premise of the story is centred around a young man who is selected to lead an army into battle, that’s not an issue; its the fact that this is all we got!

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Think Big Brother – but on a space ship. The inhabitants are set daily tasks to complete, there is rivalry between a few of the ‘housemates’, heck – we even get footage of Ender taking a shower. And then at quieter times, Ender goes into the (diary room) office of (big brother) Colonel Graff, to let off steam (moan about not wanting to do the starvation task) about his taking part in the battle training.

It Would’ve Been Acceptable In The 80’s

..seriously. If this novel rocketed from book to screen in the 80’s when it was originally written, the world may have gone bonkers over it. As I previously mentioned, we’ve already had as much space junk shoved down our throats as Hollywood can possibly manage – but now, someone digs up a book from 1985, and thinks, “nice! I think I’ll make a movie out of this”..

If you look back at the 80’s when we had movies like Blade Runner, E.T. and Return Of The Jedi, these blockbusters were cherished by millions. Ender’s Game sounds like it would’ve fit in perfectly, and given the era and time of our lives, may have even surpassed the likes of Star Trek and Back To The Future.

Yes. It would’ve been incredible in the 80’s.

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It can take a lot to keep me entertained when watching a movie; mainly because – I like to be entertained! If what I’m watching can captivate, intrigue and amuse me, I’m won over instantly. Shouldn’t this be the element of most films?  But Ender’s Game grew tiresome. In a nutshell, us audience were sat watching a bunch of children training how to use laser-guns and discovering ‘the benefits of keeping your knees up when floating in order to avoid injury’. I watched tediously as day after day, after day was shown onboard the space station – as if this was some sort of alien school taking part in their GCSE exams. It couldn’t have been more plain. Dull. (I’ve gotten more of a kick out of a bag of Ready Salted crisps).

This is probably 80% of the reason I was so won over by the special effects; because the overall story was a bloody pain in my arse.

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Stay Puft Didn’t Stay Put

Nonso Anozie plays the role of Sergeant Dap – the onboard tyrant who puts the newly recruited cadets through their paces and generally scares the shit out of them all. He is a larger than life Sergeant who knows his stuff, and whose authority is respected highly.

..albeit resembling the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from 80’s movie Ghostbusters. I tell ye, if the Marshmallow Man had been skewered and dipped in a New York-sized chocolate fountain, the result would be this gentlemen onboard Battle School.

I mean this is the most non-racist fashion of course.

Nonso-Anozie images

If you’re a total virtual reality or sci-fi geek, or you’ve had experience of being in the Military, you might just bloody love it. But overall, Ender’s Game is watchable. Its not incredible though. Don’t go out of your way to see it, and certainly don’t pay to see it – wait for the rental.


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This entry was posted on October 28, 2013 by .
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