When “Ender’s Game” was written in 1985, it was light years ahead of the video game technology that most kids have on their cell phones today. Director Gavin Hood uses modern special effects to allow us to see this story as it was originally intended. Amidst the recent wave of dystopian films, “Ender’s Game” holds up well with the likes of “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” as it shares many similar elements even though its story precedes the others by decades. Its futuristic store is a good match for our modern video game culture. The cast is very strong with a who’s who among teen actors including Asa Butterfield (Hugo), Hailee Steinfeld (Oscar nominee for True Grit), and Abigail Bresnan (Oscar nominee for Little Miss Sunshine). This is on top of an adult cast rounded out by Harrison Ford (Oscar nominee), Viola Davis (Oscar nominee), and Ben Kingsley (Oscar winner). You can never be sure what quality of acting you will find in a sci-fi film but these actors live up to their reputations. The story has a good momentum flow as it moves between training simulations, social situations, and the grooming of the world’s next galactic hero. This film is a good reminder that every epic story doesn’t have to be told in three parts (with the third part being unnecessarily split in two). Rather than using an entire movie to develop the characters, they are introduced and developed sporadically throughout the first half of the film so that they have depth as once they become important. One thing that this movie really gets right is the details. Everything from the laser guns to the armor and the concept of gravity is well thought and executed in a believable way. The only real issue is that the twist is fairly predictable and the ending is a little it cheesy (though I give it credit for having a very original ending). While the story won’t blow your mind, “Ender’s Game” is an entertaining space film that is full of thrills and easy enough to follow that you could comfortably watch it with your children.
[Pictured: Great acting, interesting story, and breathtaking special effects]