A few many years ago, I used to write more consistently, but enough of self loathing [PLEASE LOVE ME!]. In the mean time I saw Ender’s Game, a decent looking movie, with a considerable budget and some famous actors in it; And I thought, this could be the next District 9, or the next Surrogates (you know because Surrogates sucks all 27 kinds of … bad unclean stuff). So now, without further ado. All images belong to Gavin Hood (Director) and Summit Entertainment (Distributor) used educationally to enlighten you, my dear audience on this movie.

Mr. Towelhead reviews:

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ENDER’S GAME

Ender’s Game is a neat looking thing that tries to combine a super high-tech universe with a traumatised post-apocalytic world where children are forced to become soldiers with the power of video games. Interested yes? Click on the read more button, to read more -.-

Ender’s Game is a movie based on the book (same name) by a dude Orson Scott Card, who also co-produced the movie. Written and directed by Gavin Hood. Its a science fiction, post-apocalyptic, action film with Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley in supporting roles to give the movie credit. By the way, don’t you hate when movies feel like they need big names to be noticed? But at least they do an o.k. job in this one.

Concept

After an alien race invaded Earth.

Because, why travel millions of light years other than to kill us.

enders_invasion

I mean, HELLO! It would be boring otherwise, right?

Any way, the bugs (because they are always bugs) come and kill a bunch of people, the military leaders of the world see no other alternative but to train soldiers since childhood in order to prepare for the next invasion. These kids train in a sports- and video game- like environment to make it easier for them (and much more effective and controlable for the trainers).

Story

Our hero, Ender is a child being trained to become a soldier. Seen the necessity, or wanting the extra attention, he trains hard and uses his cold and logical thinking to move up in ranks. As he goes up, he is faced with ever harder trainings and challenges in preparation for the final test.

The Final Test:

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… eliminate an entire planet full of enemies. GG Easy.

In a way the movie mimics a video game in its spirit. With challenges, bosses, rewards, new allies and foes, and of course a final test, ehrmmmm… I mean a Final Boss battle. Fortunately, unlike movies like Silent Hill Revelations 3D, and the whole Underworld franchise (please don’t look those shitty movies), Ender’s Game feels like a well written, well thought-out video game. And not just a check-list of video game elements forced into a movie.

Action & Music & Budget

The music and ambience are neat. As Ender moves up the ranks he goes to different locations, each more difficult and stranger, each farther away from Earth. And each has its own feeling to it, further conveying the tension of getting closer to war and farther away from safety.

Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield (Ender) both act…

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… and interact in amazing manner.

The live action sequences are decent, specially considering they are performed by kids (or at least young dudes). But the computer animated battles are, barely o.k. At least the final battles are actually very well done.

Actor’s Ego

I have the feeling that, a big chunk of the budget went to hire Ben Kingsley and Harrison Ford, and so the production had less to spent on the CGI. If you ask me a terrible decision, because Ford and Kingsley appear very little in the movie, while most of the runtime is actual CGI battles: They had to resort to recycling CGI sequences in flashbacks and sometimes use really cheap animations for dreamlike sequences, and on top of all… only Harrison Ford seems to be into the story.

Ben Kingsley is there just to look pretty (chuckle)

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… and add little to nothing to the plot.

Verdict

The movie is not without mistakes and clichés, but for the most its a very original tale. While it seems like a cool video game homage on the surface, the morals behind tackle very adult subjects. From ethics in times of war, to the justification of brutal violence in self-defence.

Mr. Towelhead is pleased.

8 / 10

While Ender’s Game may never become a popular pick, I believe it’s better like that. A hidden gem of cinematic brilliance for the movie Connoisseur. What separates this flick from more popular choices like Avatar or really cool flicks like District 9 is that Ben Kingsley cocaine-snorted the budget and nothing remained for the poor Asian-immigrant, rag wrapped, day-labourers on the computer animation department. Just kidding.

Picture of an actual Art Department in Los Angeles Hollywood.

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Just Kidding… But seriously Hollywood treat your animators better.

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