Ender’s Game tells the story of an alien hive-like species called Formics, the assumed threat they pose to Earth, and humanities attempts to train a youth with the tactical fortitude necessary to crush them. Ender is one of these youths and his journey through the training programs and battle simulations become the focus of the movie. More than the story of Ender’s Game, the real star of the movie is Ender’s story and the struggles he faces continuously throughout the movie.
The movie does fail to draw the audience in fully at the start of the movie as it feels too detached and indifferent to what we know as “reality” now. We have the setting in which the story takes place in introduced but the world built around such a setting isn’t conveyed substantially at all in the beginning. Instead we are left to deduct hints from introductory scenes to help us piece together an image of the form the movie has. Consequently your attention and interest conflict with the flow of the movie. Thankfully though that only occurs for the early beginning, once Ender’s story as a candidate for the Commander position begins, your interest and emotions become quickly attached to his character and the pain he has to endure due to his isolation and struggles.
Ender was intentionally strained and stretched, both mentally and physically. Colonel Graff forcefully placed Ender in situations where he felt he were right against the wall with limited choices and completely isolated from everyone else. Such forced situations tested his reactions; how he would react, what response he would choose and why. It was without a doubt a cruel operation for training young minds but given the fear of the seemingly inevitably invasion by the Formics (humanities end), ethical and moral restraints went out the window, down the drain and through the furnace. Earth’s defense forces were concerned with only one thing, to win. Everything else were secondary and meaningless.
Through Ender’s struggles you come to realise just how gifted he really is. Beyond his genius as a tactical mind, he was a genius on himself, he knew who he really was and despite all the situations that should have broken him and made him hesitate, he continued to move forward as the existence he is. The world continually reminded everyone of the Formics “evil” face through their attempts to elevate the first Formics War hero, Mazer Rackham, as some Godly existence. Yet Ender still questioned these fear-driven reasons crippling the decisions of humans and their inability to want to explore the option of understanding the Formics. The fact that Ender had an isolated type of personality most likely attributed to his resilience with what others said. From childhood he was made self-conscious of his insignificance and this in turn created a severance between what he hears and how his emotions react.
The movie’s real beauty shines through at the end. All the developments building up the ‘final’ battle with the Formics and Ender’s character converge in that one moment and pull your emotions right into its flow. Your detachment towards the earlier parts of the movie finally has something to connect to and examine deeply. You grief at the outcome and lament at Ender’s reaction yet when the true character of the dream haunting Ender reveals itself, all those dejected emotions transform into optimism, hope and delight. You are overcome by a certain joy at the union reached between the two characters at the end (the extent of the Formics empathy and compassion was quite the cleansing surprise).
Overall, the star of the movie is Ender, his story alone would be enough to drive the movie and warrant watching it, but thanks to the quality CGI and intriguing story amongst some interesting support characters, Ender’s Game becomes a movie that really has worth in watching, especially that end, that made the movie for me.
Enjoyment level: 7.5/10