Ender's Game (quick movie review)
Ender’s Game is part of the seemingly never ending young adult novel adaptation wave – they keep coming, one after another, some crashing against the rocks and others gliding all the way to shore. This is a case of the former.
I saw this movie a long while ago, but I’m just getting to writing about it now… probably because I saw it on a Friday night, went to sleep and never thought about it again. I only discovered that I never reviewed it when I went to refer to this post in another review only to find that it didn’t exist in the first place.
Somehow, that’s a great metaphor for the experience of watching Ender’s Game.
I don’t get the premise – why would teenagers be better military commanders than more educated and experienced adults? It seems to me that even a 20 year old would have at least an emotional maturity advantage over these kids… A big part of being a leader is understanding people, and understanding people comes from experience, which is the biggest liability when you’re a kid – you have no experience. I guess the story is supposed to be allegory for child soldiers… I guess? But the kids in this scenario volunteer, right? I dunno. I don’t get it.
That’s not entirely why Ender’s Game didn’t work for me… the movie is kinda boring. For example, there are these zero gravity combat training exercise scenes where you can’t tell one team from the other (Yeah, the couldn’t’ bother to put the two teams in different colored uniforms… film’s a visual medium, folks!) and they’re not much fun to watch. It feels like these scenes take up half the movie, but that’s probably not true – they just don’t flow very well. The movie clocks in at just under two hours, but it felt super long to me. It was like I was watching several episodes of a miniseries.
I did buy into the world of Ender’s Game, but I never got truly engaged… the movie doesn’t have much of a second act, which I think is a big part of the problem. A movie can be like a bridge – if it’s not structurally sound, crossing it isn’t going to be much fun. There’s great performances, but it’s not enough to elevate the movie above mediocrity.
It’s rickety, but Ender’s Game is crossable – I’m giving it a 6 out of 10.