starring Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin and Ben Kingsley
screenplay by Gavin Hood
directed by Gavin Hood
Based on the 1985 science fiction novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (who is a co-producer of the film), this is another battle-again-the-invading-alien-insects movie that reminded me of the 1997 Paul Verhoeven movie Starship Troopers (starring Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards, based on the 1959 novel by Robert Heinlein). Both are military science fiction tales featuring humans of the future in a to-the-death battle against malevolent aliens. Except that in Enders Game it turns out that the humans, not the insects, are the malevolent ones.
The military establishment trains young teenagers in computer simulated battles with the aliens in preparation for the expected war. The training is like playing a violent video game in your local arcade. Youngsters are the only ones with a sufficiently steep learning curve in combination with sufficiently fast reflexes and as yet insufficiently suppressed violent impulses that they make better warriors than adults. The whole movie is like watching kids play computer games. But after Ender defeats and destroys the aliens’ planet in what he thinks is a computer simulation - a game - he learns that it was, in fact, an actual battle remotely waged. Ender just annihilated a planet and became the worst mass killer in history. The entire rigorous training program was an intricate deception. Don’t you just hate liars?
It was an okay movie. There were some interesting things in it, but overall it is almost like a comic book.