Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fall Flicks: Ender's Game

To start, I knew nothing about Ender's Game as a book or a movie.  Never had to read it in high school, never saw a trailer because I don't watch TV and it didn't play in front of any other flicks I've seen lately.  I remember the poster from Comic-Con as Lionsgate and Summit had one of the busiest booths on the floor.  Post Twilight and Harry Potter, studios are still searching for that next preteen franchise to pad their schedules for the next 4-5 years.  Many would be entries have come and gone; City of Bones, Beautiful Creatures, The Host and Eragorn all failed to kick off a new wave of hysteria.  I of course, am strongly against seeing little kids try to be tough but Ender's Game caught me totally by surprise.  I really enjoyed it.  The veterans, Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, ground it for us while newcomers Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld take us on an adventure through space and intergalactic war.

Basically, humans won a war against invading aliens that caused the death of millions.  To end all future threats, the military plans a preemptive strike on their home planet using young teens whose minds are more equipped to utilize computerized equipment for war.  Using a mix of war games and simulations along with tactics and history lessons, a young boy emerges as the potential leader.  I was quite taken with the simple concept of adults seeing the potential in kids.  Even though they're pushed to moral limits, the adults know these kids are the future and will do everything in their power to see them succeed.

It reminded me of a chubby teen who started lifting weights to try and change himself.  A physically fit and all around bad ass teacher/coach noticed and encouraged him to continue, telling him change was coming if he kept at it.  Yup, that chubby kid was me and now I pec pop whenever someone needs a laugh or to make other men feel uncomfortable.

Ender's Game, based on the novel by Orson Scott Card, was written and directed by Gavin Hood, who totally redeems himself from that shit show debacle known as X-Men Origins:  Wolverine.  The flick looks great with big space ship battles, star filled vistas and space station sets.  I'm surprised and pleased it wasn't in 3D but this is one flick that actually deserved it.  But with so much going on and flying around, it might have been too much.  Unfortunately, Game isn't lighting up the box office so a sequel is in doubt.  Apparently, the sequel novel is vastly different from the first installment so maybe a one and done isn't a bad thing.  Movies are here to entertain us but when we're lucky they educate and inspire us as well.  In this case, the movie made me want to pick up a book so they've done something right.

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