'Ender's Game' lacks wow factor

Film: "Ender's Game"; Cast: Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, Nonso Anozie and Moises Arias; Director: Gavin Hood; Rating: **

"Ender's Game" is a hero's journey in the form of a sci-fi fantasy film. Adapted from Orson Scott Card's 1985 book of the same name, the film transports you into a simulated video-gaming arena.

The film begins with a frame that quotes to the effect, "When I understand my enemy well enough, I start to love him." And the denouement substantiates this.

What follows the first frame is a "Star Wars" like scenario with a cramped up voiceover informing the audience that, in the not too distant future, an alien race, known as the Formics, will attempt to colonize earth. Their attempt is foiled by a heroic pilot, Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) who sacrifices himself in the process.

Ever since, the earth's leaders have been gearing up to repel any further attacks.

Fifty years later, with no intervening attack, the leaders put in place a scheme, whereby gifted children are monitored, selected and trained to take on any returning alien forces.

One such child is Andrew "Ender" Wiggin (Asa Butterfield). He is selected for his intelligence and killer instincts to solve problems, just the sort of quality military leader Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) is looking for.

"Ender's Game" has lots of psychological intonations and messages that are free-flowing in the form of dialogues. The most pronounced one comes at the very end when Ender tries to analyze if he is actually a hero or a killer.

Graff announces, "We won, is all that matters," to which Ender retorts, "The way we win matters."

This does put an end to the debate, but not the film.

Asa Butterfield, earlier seen in "Hugo", is the soul of the film. As Andrew Ender he is endearing and subtle. He earnestly portrays the conflicted child-genius with empathy, who longs to be with his sister Valentine, played by Abigail Breslin.

Abigail has a considerably tiny role and seems wasted in the film so does Hailee Steinfeld as Petra Arkanian, Ender's Battle School Companion.

The other kids at the Battle School are mostly stereotypical. They too have very little to do to really shine, but they perform much better than expected.

Ford is engaging. But with all the youngsters around, he seems tired, weary and jaded by comparison. Viola Davis counter balances Ford with her humane approach. Ben Kingsley with a tattooed visage hams awfully.

The production quality is good.

Visually, the frames are attractive, the cosmic fireworks along with the space station with a zero gravity combat practice room for kids seems to be often seen in some previously released film.

The background score by Steve Jablonsky is effective, especially the drone buzz at the end when Ender goes to visit the Formic. It has a remarkable effect, on screen.

Compared to the novel, Writer Director Gavin Hood's narration starts off on a tad tedious note, making it difficult to figure out the plot during the first act. The story settles in the second half and rushes forth with lots of action, emotional turmoil and thrill. The ending has a good, but not entirely satisfying twist to it. The film plateaus at the climax and somehow lacks the "wow" factor.

--

Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Yahoo Cricket

Latest News

  • Bollywood chants 'Mumbai Mumbai' as MI lift IPL crown

    Kolkata, May 25 (IANS) Cheers and congratulations poured in from Bollywood as Mumbai Indians registered a thumping 41-run win over Chennai Super Kings to bring home the Indian Premiere League trophy at the Eden Gardens here on Sunday. …

  • John Nash, mathematician who inspired "A Beautiful Mind", killed in car crash
    John Nash, mathematician who inspired "A Beautiful Mind", killed in car crash

    Mathematician John Nash, a Nobel Prize winner whose longtime struggle with mental illness inspired the movie "A Beautiful Mind", was killed in a car crash along with his wife in New Jersey, state police said on Sunday. The couple were in a taxi when the driver lost control, crashed into a guard rail and hit another car on Saturday afternoon on the New Jersey Turnpike, said police. Nash, 86, and his wife, Alicia, 82, were thrown from the taxi and pronounced dead at the scene, New Jersey State …

  • French film "Dheepan" wins top Palme d'Or award in Cannes
    French film "Dheepan" wins top Palme d'Or award in Cannes

    CANNES, France (Reuters) - French film "Dheepan" won the top Palme d'Or prize for director Jacques Audiard at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival on Sunday, the film jury announced. The second-place prize went to Hungarian director for "Saul Fia (Son of Saul) while Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos' film "The Lobster" won third-place prize. Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien won the best director award for "Nie Yinniang" (The Assassin). France's Vincent Lindon won best actor for French …

  • Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers tops British albums chart

    LONDON (Reuters) - Killers' frontman Brandon Flowers scored his second solo chart-topping album after "The Desired Effected" went straight in at number one in Britain on Sunday, the Official Charts Company said. Flowers pipped Paul Weller's "Saturns Pattern" to the top spot by 5,000 sales, with last week's number one, Mumford & Sons' "Wilder Mind" slipping to third place. ... …

  • 'Tomorrowland' tops slow Memorial Day weekend box office with $32.2 mln
    'Tomorrowland' tops slow Memorial Day weekend box office with $32.2 mln

    The science-fiction adventure stars George Clooney and was directed by Brad Bird of "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" renown. "Tomorrowland" had been expected to generate $40 million over the three day period and $50 million over the four day stretch. "Tomorrowland" appears to have been dinted by middling reviews and an overly secretive marketing campaign that left too many plot details under wraps. …

  • Anushka feels 'terrible' on being sick, misses fun with DDD boys

    Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma says she feels terrible on being sick and missing out on the fun here with the male members of the cast of "Dil Dhadakne Do" (DDD), who incidentally gorged on some of the famed sweets of West Bengal. The Zoya Akhtar-helmed movie also stars Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Shefali Shah, Farhan Akhtar and Ranveer Singh. Actors Anil, Ranveer and Farhan and producer Ritesh Sidhwani visited Kolkata to promote the movie during the Indian Premier …

  • Anushka has evolved as an actor, person: Ranveer

    Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh on Sunday heaped praises on "Dil Dhadakne Do" (DDD) co-star and former flame Anushka Sharma for her growth as an actress and as a person. The duo were seen in "Ladies vs Ricky Bahl" and "Band Baaja Baaraat". In the Zoya Akhtar-directed DDD, Ranveer and Anushka form a part of the ensemble cast including Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Shefali Shah, Farhan Akhtar and others. …

  • 'Dil Dhadakne Do' a world-class film: Anil Kapoor

    Kolkata, May 24 (IANS) Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor, who will be seen in the role of a patriarch of a dysfunctional Punjabi family in the forthcoming film "Dil Dhadakne Do", said the movie is a world-class project. Also starring Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Shefali Shah, Farhan Akhtar and Anushka Sharma, "Dil Dhadakne Do" (DDD) is a family film, said the 58-year-old veteran. "It is a family film. …

Loading...