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
At the press conference for 'Ender's Game' at San Diego's Comic-Con, director Gavin Hood discusses the sets built on the movie in reference to the event's Ender's Game Experience exhibition.
Director Gavin Hood, producer Roberto Orci and stars Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford and Hailee Steinfeld arrive at a Comic-Con press conference for their new science-fiction movie 'Ender's Game' which is based on the novel by Orson Scott Card. Harrison, Asa and Hailee talk about their characters.
Ender Wiggin is the youngest in his family albeit with an astute mind and a powerful logic. It is seventy years since Earth was savagely attacked by the alien race the Formics, more commonly known as the Buggers, and he is exactly what the International Fleet are looking for as they scour their planet for a group of individuals powerful and clever enough to destroy their formidable foes once and for all. He is forced to leave his friends and family and join the Battle School in outer space, but his aptitude throughout all the challenges he is faced with has him upgraded by Colonel Graff to the prestigious Command School under the supervision of war hero Mazer Rackham. He is unaware, however, of just how much hope is being put on him to be Earth's saviour and his ability to make the right difficult decision leaves him with a sense of bitter self-loathing.
Continue: Ender's Game Trailer
In the slum villages of Johannesburg, Tsotsi (Presley Chweneyagae) roams with his reptilian eyes piercing through every other inhabitant, silent and predatory. He takes the subway into the city with his gang to rob and murder with little thought. In one of the first scenes, Butcher (Zenzo Ngqobe) stabs a man they are robbing without care. There is a flash of morality in Tsotsi's eyes that is quickly covered by cool dispassion, later riled up by Boston (an effective Mothusi Magano). On a walk in the neighboring suburbs, Tsotsi steals a car and shoots the owner. It's not but a few minutes later that he realizes there is a child in the back seat. Shoving the baby into a shopping bag, Tsotsi (South African slang for thug) returns home and reluctantly decides to take care of it. He forces breast milk and motherly love from Miriam (an excellent Terry Pheto) by gunpoint and eventually grows what Boston calls "decency." But not before alienating his old friend Aap (Kenneth Nkosi) and attempting to return the baby.
Continue reading: Tsotsi Review