The latest sci-fi movie aimed at the younger audience comes in with a mixture of teenage Battlestar Galactica angst then loads it with a hint of a Hunger Games survival story. Earth has survived an onslaught attack from the Formics, an alien race of insect like creatures. It was only due to the heroic sacrifice of an earth fighter known as Mazer Rackham who gave his life for the cause. Now years down the track, Earth has repositioned itself to combat any future alien attacks. Through the highly specialised training of young earthlings the future of earth is sure, or so it seems.
Asa Butterfield plays Ender Wiggin, the significant third in his family who have tried and failed to gain a position in earth elite defence mechanism. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas from Hugo is growing up and he brings the personality of an outsider with the genius of a strategy master to the table. While it seems he should be wary of his competitive peers its the relationship with his commander, Colonel Graff played by Harrison Ford who seems to be his chief antagonist. As counsellor Major Gwen Anderson played by Viola Davis treads the middle ground evaluating the war readiness of the students the war begins in the barracks and Ender has to create a leader in himself if he is to survive or win a coveted position. Amongst a cast of young new comers Moises Arias should be careful he hasn’t just given the bad-guy performance of his career. Well played.
Quick question: What does a Yorkshireman, a Maori and a Boy in Striped Pyjamas have in common with Han Solo? Answer: Ender’s Game
It’s this connection with the mercurial Ben Kingsley that will most likely make you burst into laughter. When Kingsley’s character arrives on screen with a full facial tattoo a question from Ender starts the answer that will lead uncontrollable laughter. Kingsley is a Yorkshireman of Indian descent but has has played a wide variety of races and dialects on screen. In Ender’s Game we struggle to pick his accent for a while. Is he South Africa or Australian. But when he answers Ender and tells him the tattoo is his way of being in touch with his ancestors as he is half Maori it will be too much for the average Kiwi punter.
Ender’s Game is an unusual story. Originally written by Orson Scott Card it was aimed at a teen audience but the movie deals with some strong moral content in terms of our position on defence. After all how far and how strong should one defend ones self before the defender becomes the oppressor. Director Gavin Hood wrote the screenplay and I would be interested to know how close he ran to the story or whether it was bumped up a notch to cater for an older audience.
Rating: M Violence.
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