While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth is that it's actually a young adult romance, like The Fault in Our Stars with E.T. overtones. The film may be watchable, but the script simply never bothers to develop anything. The science is wobbly, the romance is paper-thin, the sentimentality is off the charts, and the cheesy dialogue would completely defeat a less experienced cast.
It opens with an extended prologue about the first manned mission to Mars and how, after the team arrives, Elliot (Asa Butterfield) was born to an astronaut who died in childbirth. Earth-based mission director Nathaniel (Gary Oldman) decides to keep his existence a secret, so he's raised by motherly science officer Kendra (Carla Gugino) and his robot best pal (voiced by director Peter Chelsom). When he turns 16, Nathaniel decides it's time for Elliot to visit Earth, not knowing that he has developed an online relationship with the tearaway teen Tulsa (Britt Robertson) in Colorado. So when he lands on Earth, Elliot escapes and teams up with Tulsa to search for his father. But Nathaniel and Kendra know that Elliot can't survive for long in Earth's gravity.
There's nothing about this film that's terribly convincing. Events are inexplicable, plot points are under-explained and the filmmakers oddly make no attempt to create a sense of advanced technology or style in 2034. The clothing and cars are distinctly 2016 vintage, and only the impractical clear-glass computer screens add an improbably futuristic tinge. Of course, the 12-year-olds this film was made for won't care about the details; they'll be caught up in the swoony romantic fantasy. Butterfield is a solid actor who can make even a character this thinly defined believable and likeable. His heavy-gravity physicality is nicely understated. And he sparks some chemistry with the high-energy Robertson. Meanwhile, Oldman and Gugino add a hint of gravitas in their thankless roles.
Continue reading: The Space Between Us Review
Young stars Asa Butterfield (Hugo) and Britt Robertson (Tomorrowland) team up in the new teen romance The Space Between Us
Their new movie hinges on the fact that Butterfield's character Gardner was born on Mars during a Nasa mission and is struggling to adapt to life on Earth. "I'm a big science-fiction fan," says Butterfield, who previously worked in the genre on Ender's Game. "I think what's great about sci-fi is that everything that you see comes from technology that we already have, but just it's far more advanced. So they are almost giving glimpses into our future, whereas fantasy is totally, totally made up. This movie has a science-fiction backdrop, yet it deals with very small and natural feelings and emotions, which I think is pretty cool."
Britt and Asa in The Space Between Us
Robertson liked that the film is about the distinctions between men and women (men are from Mars, indeed!), rather than the sci-fi angle. "Yes, it's about different beings," she says. "But it's like I'm sitting in therapy saying, 'He thinks this way and I just don't get it.' I've had a male therapist and a female therapist, and they give advice from two different perspectives. And it helps me! When speaking to a male about males you are like, 'Oh, that's how they think,' because you really don't understand that perspective."
Ransom Riggs' bestselling novel is appropriately adapted into a movie by Tim Burton, the gothic maestro who so expertly infuses his creepy movies with vivid emotions. The film looks flat-out amazing, with lush production design, clever effects and a cast of outrageous characters. So it's somewhat frustrating that the movie feels weighed down by a story that's more complicated than it needs to be. There's too much plot detail explained in the dialogue, and the quirkiness gets a bit exhausting by the time the film passes the two hour mark.
It's set in the present day, as Florida teen Jake (Asa Butterfield) travels to an island off the coast of Wales to bring closure after the death of his beloved grandfather (Terence Stamp). His oblivious father (Chris O'Dowd) goes with him, but doesn't notice that Jake has discovered that Grandpa's bombed-out childhood home actually still exists in a 1943 time loop created by the ymbryne Miss Peregrine (Eva Green), who can turn into a bird and maintain loops like this one. Jake also realises that the freaky Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) is on his trail, so he tries to help Miss Peregrine rescue her children, all of whom have peculiar supernatural abilities.
From here the film takes on a more traditional action trajectory, as Barron and his toothy, long-limbed Hollows try to devour the children's eyes. Yes, there are a lot of grotesque touches in this story, and Burton knows that kids in the audience love this kind of stuff. They'll also be tantalised by the busy visual landscapes, which are magnificent in 3D, grossed out by the yuckiness and excited by the thrilling set-pieces. Adults will find all of this a bit harder to stomach, simply because the wordy dialogue never quite makes sense of the messy plot.
Continue reading: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children Review
With a gentle current of comedy, this relaxed British drama finds some cleverly involving ways of approaching the concept of grief, specifically how various people need to deal with their inner pain in their own ways. It's a strikingly observant film that's also thoroughly engaging thanks to a terrific cast of actors who are given the space to develop their characters in organic ways we can easily identify with.
As a young boy, Nathan (Edward Baker-Close) folds into himself when his father (Martin McCann) is killed in a car crash. His optimistic mother Julie (Sally Hawkins) doesn't quite know how to deal with either his natural mathematical ability or his autistic inability to relate to people, but she does the best she can. And it's when he hits his teen years (now Asa Butterfield) that he begins to open up to his bristly tutor Humphreys (Rafe Spall), who encourages Nathan to travel to Taiwan to train with the British team for the International Mathematical Olympiad. In Taipei, Nathan has even more challenges as he learns to work with both the team coach Richard (Eddie Marsan) and his local study partner Mei (Jo Yang). And as Nathan begins to understand who he is, Julie also discovers that maybe she can cope after all.
Director Morgan Matthews and screenwriter James Graham have a remarkably light touch with the plot, allowing events to unfold naturally while never pushing the sentiment. They also thankfully figure out an inventive way to make a movie packed with mathematical formulae that actually feel meaningful to even the most maths-phobic member of the audience. Impressively, this lets the film get into Nathan's perspective to reveal how he sees the world and interacts with the people around him. And Butterfield plays the role with raw honesty that completely wins us over.
Continue reading: X + Y Review
Nathan (Asa Butterfield) is different. He has an amazing way with numbers - something which will one day lead him to huge success. But for now, Nathan is unable to talk to anyone other than his father, but after he is tragically killed in a car accident, Nathan feels alone. Fast forward a few years, Nathan can relate to no one and spends all his time working on maths equations. With help from his tutor, the lovable Humphreys (Rafe Spall) and his mother Julie (Sally Hawkins), Nathan gets into the prestigious International Mathematics Olympiad and takes a trip to Taiwan to train and hone his abilities. With a steadily growing relationship with Zhang Mei (Jo Yang), a fellow contestant, Nathan could be ready to learn to love.
Continue: X + Y Trailer
'Ender's Game' has slipped under the radar, landing a nice box-office haul and above average reviews.
Remember when The Butler somehow raked in about $3 trillion at the box-office despite, well, not being very good? I think at the time we called it the box-office success story of the year, but it now has competition in the form of Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield's Ender's Game.
Harrison Ford [Center] and Asa Butterfield [R] in Ender's Game
Firstly, we assumed this movie was going to be horrible. Most people did. The trailer wasn't overly convincing and, well, sci-fi flicks are often quite bad. Writer Orson Scott-Card's homophobic views left many apparently committed to boycotting the movie. But it wasn't horrible. For a family sci-fi flick, the reviews were extremely favourable and Ender's Game was hailed as one of the better space in recent years. Our own Rich Cline said the movie actually adresses some "punchy subjects" in his review.
Continue reading: Is 'Ender's Game' The Box-Office Success Story Of 2013?
The film has distanced itself from the notoriously homophobic author who has announced 'Ender's Game' sequels.
Orson Scott Card has announced that he plans to write more books in the Ender's Game series after the renewed interest in his work that the upcoming action movie adaptation has brought. The author of many successful sci-fi novels, Card is known for his skill in envisaging a futuristic Earth with clever new technology.
Asa Butterfield Plays The Titular Ender.
Adapted by director Gavin Hood, the movie has debuted on top in the US, having raked in $28 million in its opening weekend. Set 70 years after the invasion of an alien race known as the Formics, the movie sees Asa Butterfield plays Ender Wiggin who is recruited by the International Fleet to join the Battle School in outer space due to his skill for logic and strategy. Ender is unaware of how much hope is being put on him to be Earth's hero and his ability to make the right choice in a difficult decision leaves him with a sense of bitter self-loathing.
Check out Ender's Game, it's better than you think it is
Tomorrow’s a big day: The iPad Air is out, Halloween is done for another year, and Harrison Ford stars in the cinematic remake of Orsen Scott Card’s sci-fi epic, Ender’s Game.
Harrison Ford in Ender's Game, scaring kids
The former will affect gadget freaks, people with money and Apple employees; Halloween ending affects us all – it just doesn’t really matter – but how will Ender’s Game’s release affect you: should you go and see it?
Continue reading: Is 'Ender's' Game Worth Your Money This Weekend? Let's Ask The Critics
Since this entire story centres on virtual-reality gaming, it's tricky to feel any sense of what's at stake here. But a strong cast and above-average effects work help hold our interest until the requisite dramatic shift takes hold. Along the way, the movie explores some punchy issues such as the nature of true leadership and the morality of war.
It's set in a distant future: Earth has regrouped after an alien invasion, turning to children to harness their quick gaming reflexes and inner fearlessness. Ender (Butterfield) is a 12-year-old who's sure he'll crash out of training like his older sister Valentine (Breslin). But Colonel Graff (Ford) and Major Anderson (Davis) see something in him and send him on to battle school in an orbiting space station. As he shows true leadership potential and a sharp mind for warfare, he's promoted even further, training with iconic hero Rackham (Kingsley) on one of the aliens' former planets. And as he approaches his final exam, there's the sense that the fate of Earth hangs in the balance.
Yes, everything Ender does throughout his training is game related, either with digitally created environments or in a weightless battle globe with other cadets. This adds huge possibilities for the script to grapple with moral issues as Ender faces some staggering decisions. But since it's just a simulation, does it really mean anything? Thankfully, Butterfield is a terrific actor who lends the character a steely interior life that catches our interest. And being surrounded by the terrific Ford, Kingsley and Davis helps. As do some intriguing fellow recruits played by Steinfeld, Arias and others.
Continue reading: Ender's Game Review
The final trailer Ender's Game has been released. The film is due to be released later this year and stars a host of young actors, supported by more established cast members such as Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley.
The final trailer for Ender's Game has been released. Set in the future years after an alien-human war, the movie follows Ender Wiggin, a talent young boy who is sent to a military space academy in order to prepare for when aliens next invade Earth.
Asa Butterfield at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con.
Ender's Game teaser trailer, released earlier this year, gave an indication of what can be expected from the film. The final trailer, however, features a dramatic narrative by Harrison Ford who promises the aliens "will be back". It's all very visually appealing in a Star Wars-Superman-Terminator way and with the melodramatic music, intense exchanges and wild landscapes: it certainly appears to be a film fans of science fiction will love.
Continue reading: Harrison Ford Narrates 'Ender's Game' Final Trailer [Trailer]
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