Ender's Game

Metascore
51

Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 39
  2. Negative: 5 out of 39

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Matt Mueller
    Oct 24, 2013
    80
    Like its hero, Ender’s Game relies on brains more than brute force. An absorbing portrait of Lord Of The Flies-style morality housed in imaginative sci-fi casing.
  2. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Oct 31, 2013
    75
    Ultimately, the movie is not, to paraphrase the U.S. Army slogan, all that it could be. The climax is uninvolving generic eye candy, and the sequel-friendly coda is unconvincing.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 31, 2013
    75
    Ender's Game is uneven - at times almost maddeningly so - with the first half offering more enjoyment than the second. Perhaps that's because, in military-style movies, I often prefer the training segments to the battle sequences.
  4. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Oct 31, 2013
    75
    A big, dark film that should satisfy the many fans of the Orson Scott Card novel and engage newcomers, too.
  5. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Oct 31, 2013
    75
    Ender’s Game is more than a parable about bullying, or a disquisition on the concept of the “just war.” It’s also a rousing action film, especially in Imax.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Oct 30, 2013
    75
    At times Ender’s Game throws so many metaphors and moral dilemmas our way, we almost forget to appreciate the stunning and gorgeous visuals covering every inch of the screen. Almost.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 2, 2013
    70
    Straightforward, a bit literal-minded, very faithful to the book and largely compelling.
  8. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Oct 31, 2013
    70
    Its strong special effects make its simulated battles effective and, echoing the book, its story line touches on a number of intriguing issues.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Oct 25, 2013
    70
    An impressive, thought-provoking astro-adventure that benefits from the biggest screen available.
  10. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Oct 31, 2013
    67
    Plenty of ideas float through Ender's Game but the notion of honing a child into a war machine is one that sticks. Writer-director Gavin Hood's adaptation of Orson Scott Card's novel doesn't offer much else, bottled up with battle jargon and special effects debris as it is.
  11. Reviewed by: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
    Oct 30, 2013
    67
    Though it can’t overcome the source material’s problematic themes — namely, Card’s intentionalist morality, which prizes a character’s ideals over their actions — or its all-too-convenient characterizations, the film manages a sustained sense of momentum and tone that is rare for a contemporary, big-budget movie.
  12. Reviewed by: Eric D. Snider
    Oct 31, 2013
    65
    Since it took 28 years to get it to the big screen, the fact that the end result feels rushed and hasty probably qualifies as irony.
  13. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Nov 1, 2013
    63
    There's lots of zero-g action in Ender's Game - even old Han Solo takes a whirl.
  14. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 31, 2013
    63
    A bit of a tweener, neither triumph nor disaster, a war-games fantasy with a use-by date of Nov. 22, when the new "Hunger Games" movie comes out.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 504 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 88 out of 177
  2. Negative: 38 out of 177
  1. Nov 1, 2013
    10
    Go into it knowing that some things from the book will be change. That's just how it is for any book to movie adaptation. On its own meritsGo into it knowing that some things from the book will be change. That's just how it is for any book to movie adaptation. On its own merits this is a fantastic sci fi movie that I hope will do well enough for them to merit a sequel. Full Review »
  2. Nov 1, 2013
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. A lot of surface structure, but no heart. In the end, bedazzling graphical scenes took front seat to capturing the depth and conflict the majority of the characters in the book go through. There are quite a few of the book's characters present, but really, just a hollow shell of what made them lovable throughout the series. The 2 most important characters were severely reduced; Ender and Graff. This movie failed to capture any of the depth that is Edner Wiggin. Graff went from a very complex and morally conflicted character to a soulless bureaucrat who's only interest is results.

    Locke and Demosthenes were completely eradicated from the story, and Peter was only present for 4 minutes of the film.

    A 4 year story was reduced to just over a month, which was impossible to follow at the brisk pace the movie moved at. Years of battleroom competitions condensed into 2 battles, the second demonstrating abilities of a well-oiled machine that doesn't make any sense considering half the competitors had never set foot in an actual battle.

    In all, it just felt completely rushed, and void of depth. The battleroom sequences were awkward at best,. The Bonzo-Ender confrontation felt completely weird, and the majority of inter-character relationships were cardboard cutouts as plot devices.

    I understand that a majority of things are lost in translation when brought to the screen, but there ARE adaptations that were well done (LotR, Interview with the Vampire, and even Hunger Games).

    After waiting 17 years for this to come to life, it left a lot to be desired for. Those who enjoy action sci-fi, and not looking for a deeper meaning will enjoy the flick. But, anyone who is intimately familiar with the book and are looking for any resemblance beyond sequence of events and a couple peppered in characters will likely leave the theater feeling disappointed.
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 1, 2013
    0
    First, I am a huge fan of Ender's Game, the book. It's an insightful and meaningful look at the mind of a gifted kid, with deep social andFirst, I am a huge fan of Ender's Game, the book. It's an insightful and meaningful look at the mind of a gifted kid, with deep social and psychological commentary. Anyone who grew up "gifted" can relate to the isolation and otherness, the self doubt and fear, Ender feels throughout. The book meant a LOT to a lot of people, and whoever wrote this screenplay clearly did not understand it.

    They turn ender into a totally unlikable Mary Jane character who advances through the movie with no motivation, is pushed through ranks for no reason whatsoever, and somehow inspires loyalty in random people by doing approximately nothing, all while being a violent, irritating prick with no empathy for those around him.

    The changes to the plot are nonsensical, things were changed for no reason. Worse, some of them ignore reality (for instance, the command school being in another solar system if that were the way it was in the books, Valentine would have been old and the fleets would have been long past their destinations, as there is no FTL travel). They ruined the mind game. They made great characters flat as hell.

    Long story short, the lost the message, the characters, everything great about the book and gave us a crappy, generic piece of science fiction. Avoid this movie if the book means anything to you.
    Full Review »