Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten Kristen Stewart Is First American Actress Nominated for César Awards in 30 Years; 'Saint Laurent' Leads with Ten How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO How They Sustained the Times Square Momentum in 'Birdman' VIDEO 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave 6 Things to Know About Sexy Sundance Breakout 'Diary of a Teenage Girl,' Part of Sundance's Women's New Wave Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Sundance Raves About Ewan McGregor as Jesus and the Devil in 'Last Days in the Desert' Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Watch: Jason Segel on Playing David Foster Wallace in Sundance's 'End of the Tour' (Exclusive Interview) Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Filmmakers, Give Us Your Numbers! Sundance and Cinereach Unveil The Transparency Project Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Sundance Market Explodes with 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' and 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Top Ten Takeaways: Polarizing 'American Sniper' Speeds Past $200 Million; Lopez Trounces Depp Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint Arthouse Audit: Panic Time? 'Mommy,' 'Red Army,' 'Black Sea,' 'Cake,' 'Duke of Burgundy' All Disappoint 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder 2015 PGA Winners: 'Birdman' Steals 'Boyhood''s Awards Season Thunder Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Watch: Nicole Kidman Talks 'Strangerland' at Sundance (Exclusive Video Interview) Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 
'The Witch' Sundance Acquisitions Market Heats Up with 'The Bronze' and 'The Witch' Sundance: Netflix Inks Four-Picture Deal with Duplass Brothers Sundance: Netflix Inks Four-Picture Deal with Duplass Brothers Early Reviews Portend Sundance Breakout in Stylish Historical Horror 'The Witch' Early Reviews Portend Sundance Breakout in Stylish Historical Horror 'The Witch' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Sundance: 5 Things to Expect From Alex Gibney's Damning Scientology Doc 'Going Clear' Martin Scorsese Breaks Long-Awaited 'Silence,' Set to Begin Filming This Month Martin Scorsese Breaks Long-Awaited 'Silence,' Set to Begin Filming This Month Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Meet the Women of 'Birdman' (Exclusive 4-Minute Featurette) Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Watch: Hitchcock's Thwarted Holocaust Documentary Comes to HBO Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Best Actor Oscar Predictions 2015 UPDATED Oscar Predictions 2015 Oscar Predictions 2015

Early Review Roundup: 'Ender's Game' a Solid Sci-Fi YA Entry

Thompson on Hollywood By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood October 25, 2013 at 12:29PM

First reviews are in on "Ender's Game." The consensus thus far seems to be the film is a solidly good but not great adaptation of the Orson Scott Card sci-fi classic. A roundup, below.
0
Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in "Ender's Game."
Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield in "Ender's Game."

First reviews are in on "Ender's Game." The consensus thus far seems to be the film is a solidly good but not great adaptation of the Orson Scott Card sci-fi classic. A roundup, below.

The film stars Harrison Ford as the tough trainer of a batch of young fighters tasked with saving Earth from an imminent alien invasion, with Asa Butterfield ("Hugo") in the title role, Ben Kingsley as a tough veteran warrior, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis and Abigail Breslin, and is directed by Gavin Hood ("Tsotsi,""X-Men Origins: Wolverine"). It hits theaters November 1; the trailer is here

Check out Bill Desowitz's "Immersed in Movies" interview with Hood, on the way the film broaches technology, violence and young adults, here.

Hollywood Reporter:

Butterfield does his best to bring you inside Ender Wiggin, using his wide, blue eyes to try and convey a depth that Hood’s script just doesn’t support. And Ford constructs a man who’s bearing vacillates between being legitimately haunted by the trauma he’s got to inflict upon a wee lad and being mildly irked, as if he doesn’t want to read the cue cards on SNL.

The special effects are fine, but Ender’s Game has the bad luck to be coming on the heels of Gravity. In the book, the scenes of combat in the Battle Room -- featuring as many as 30 kids streaking through zero-gravity, executing formations and maneuvers on the fly -- seemed to be unfilmable. While Hood and his CG wizards do a more than decent job, anyone who’s seen Alfonso Cuaron’s wizardry will have seen it done far, far better.

Variety:

An anti-bullying allegory writ on the largest possible scale, “Ender’s Game” frames an interstellar battle between mankind and pushy ant-like aliens, called Formics, in which Earth’s fate hinges on a tiny group of military cadets, most of whom haven’t even hit puberty yet. At face value, the film presents an electrifying star-wars scenario — that rare case where an epic space battle transpires entirely within the span of two hours — while at the same time managing to deliver a higher pedagogical message about tolerance, empathy and coping under pressure. Against considerable odds, this risky-sounding Orson Scott Card adaptation actually works, as director Gavin Hood pulls off the sort of teen-targeted franchise starter Summit was hoping for.

Den of Geek:

Hood doesn’t bring very much in the way of sweaty-palmed tension to his combat scenes, but he does succeed in bringing some of the weightier elements of Card’s book to the big screen. Unflinchingly portraying Ender as a troubled and potentially violent young man, and those in command of him heartlessly manipulative, it’s these aspects of the story - rather than the explosions and trainee laser battles - that ultimately make it stick in the mind.

Guardian:

The movie's apocalyptic finale indicates that it's bitten off considerably more than it can chew in terms of ideas, but it looks good, and the story rattles along.

Telegraph:

This starfighter-recruit blockbuster is refreshingly idea-driven for something that cost $110m, and while nothing in it requires you to sign up to Card’s politics, you’re still asked to grapple with the morality of violence in ways rarely seen in teen-targeted epics this side of The Hunger Games. Asa Butterfield, part of the problem in the disappointing Hugo, gives a much more intrepid and complex performance as Ender Wiggin, brightest fledgling in a boot camp called Battle School, where he and other youngsters prepare to save humanity by honing their skills in a series of strategic war games.

The Wrap:

Meanwhile, Ford offers a perfect foil in Graff (more like gruff!) for Ender’s developing maturity, applying the stick and the carrot in equal measures to simultaneously build confidence and nurture his leadership skills.

Bolstered by solid performances and a clean, elegant visual style, Hood ultimately delivers a film that actually earns the distinction of being for audiences of all ages.

This article is related to: Reviews, Ender's Game


E-Mail Updates