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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ender's Game book turned movie now out on DVD

I'm always so happy for authors who are able to get their words onto the big screen as a feature film!  Congrats to Orson Scott Card!   His movie is now out on DVD, so I figured I'd share one of the movie reviews I write on my movie review blog.


Movie Title:  Ender's Game
PG-13, 1 hour 53 minutes

Grade: A-

In a Nutshell:  This sci-fi tween thriller deserved to be made into a film, as the book has been popular with kids since 1985.  Most of the source book fans have been very pleased with the movie adaptation, although they admit that a few interesting aspects were rushed or necessarily left out because of the time constraints. The battle scenes feel like you’re watching someone play a video game, but the special effects are pretty amazing.  You’ll feel like a 12 year old kid again and wish you could float around in the battle simulator.

Things I liked:   
  • I love Harrison Ford, even if I have to see him as a grumpy, aging man. 
  • I’ve also adored Ben Kingsley ever since he won an Oscar for Best Actor in Gandhi many years ago.  The design on his face was very cool and supposed to represent a way to speak for the dead.  His father was a Maori.  I have a friend whose ancestry is Maori.  He plays the ukulele and sings songs in Maori for his students.
  • You feel like you get your money’s worth because the film is long, but moves quickly.  
  • I thought Ender’s squeaky, pubescent voice was perfect because it constantly reminds you that he is still just a boy.  Asa Butterfield does a terrific job.  I loved him in Hugo.  Ben Kingsley was in that movie as well.  It was simply stunning in 3D.
  • I liked the cadets’ white casual wear and would like one for myself to wear at home when I’m just kicking around.
  • I hadn’t read the book, so I had no idea what was going to happen.  I love twists.
  •  The zero gravity room looks super fun!  I went Indoor Skydiving in Las Vegas recently and had a blast…literally!  A giant fan blasts air at you so that you float.  I highly recommend it!  This is a picture of my husband, son, and I after our indoor skydiving experience, which is probably the closest we'll ever get to a zero gravity feeling:   


Things I didn’t like:
  • So, it only takes 3 adults to run that entire spaceship? 
  • I was surprised at the amateur-looking credits at the end of the movie.
  • It takes itself a little bit too seriously and could have been improved with more peppering of humor.

Uplifting theme:
  • The way we win matters.
  • “Let us train our soldiers so they can be gifted at war AND peace.”

Funny lines:
  • “This is basic rocket science, people!”  - teacher
  • “Game over.” - Ender

Interesting lines:
*  When you truly understand your enemy, you love them.”

Things to look for:
  • The button on the back of their necks that is used to monitor them reminded me of The Matrix .
  • Hailee Steinfeld plays a character whose name is Petra.   Petra means rock in Latin.  She becomes Ender’s rock throughout their experience in the training experience in the International Fleet.

Tips for parents: There is a lot of violence, some bullying, and a repeated use of the word “A**hole” in Spanish by a character named Bonzo.  There is no other profanity, other than mean name-calling by bullies.  There are some interesting moral dilemmas that could provide interesting dinner conversations for your family.

If your tween loved the movie, you can find the box set of the book series here: