Enders Game, adapted for the big screen from Orson Scott Card’s 1985 sci-fi novel, stars Asa Butterfield (Hugo) as Ender Wiggin, the boy military wonder who’s tasked with saving humanity from destruction. When Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) needs to be replaced at his post, Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) devises a scheme to find the next capable leader. Ender’s natural abilities, combined with a competitive spirit and rational logic, put him on the fasttrack to the top.

Directed by Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Rendition), Enders Game brings the novel’s narrative to life with a strong core of actors and modern special effects. Whether or not Hood was successful in his latest filmic endeavor has critics split. While some believe the film provides a satisfying and moving depiction of the beloved Card novel, others think it completely misses the mark in capturing its essence.

“When it comes to adapting beloved novels, Hollywood has a lot of blood on its hands. We all have our own personal laundry lists of books we spent our childhoods poring over that wound up getting sapped of their original spark and power on the way to the big screen. I could be wrong, but I suspect that diehard fans of Orson Scott Card's 1985 sci-fi allegory Ender's Game might walk out of Gavin Hood's lavish, eye-candy adaptation with a similar sensation — that they've spent more than two decades waiting for what ends up being an oddly lifeless and emotionally unaffecting film.” – Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

“The film doesn’t need added suspense, bigger action or a better dramatic twist; it’s got all of those, in more than serviceable amounts. But it benefits greatly, at least for those who care about such things, by actually being about something — the morality of war and its methods — in a way that most movies of this type are not.…]Ender’s Game is more than a parable about bullying, or a disquisition on the concept of the “just war.” It’s also a rousing action film, especially in Imax.” – Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post

“On the dark side of the moon, where awful cult sci-fi and fantasy adaptations are buried, there’s a special cave for Ender’s Game. This movie of a 1985 outer-space military allegory is one of the dullest, dumbest, most tedious movies this year. It makes Battlefield: Earth and John Carter look like The Godfather parts 1 and 2. Dune is Lawrence of Arabia next to this thing. Audiences of all ages, avoid it. Brain cells are too valuable.” – Joe Neumaier, The New York Daily News

“Considering the weighty source material and complex, sprawling story line with which director/screenwriter Gavin Hood was working, Ender's Game, which clocks in at just under two hours, couldn't have made its translation from page to screen much more convincingly.… But even with a smart story that's well-adapted and bolstered by good acting, Ender's Game's top asset is its special effects.” – Tony Hicks, San Jose Mercury News

Ender’s Game, rated PG-13, is currently in wide release. In addition to Butterfield, Kingley and Harrison, Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Viola Davis (The Help) and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) also star.

– Chelsea Regan

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