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Generally favorable reviews- based on 443 Ratings

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  1. Negative: 61 out of 443

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  1. Nov 1, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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.
  2. Nov 1, 2013
    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 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.
  3. Nov 3, 2013
    Overall, Ender's Game is too reliant on special effects to fill the gaps left by mediocre acting and plot holes. It is simply too unconvincing to be a memorable achievement in film.
  4. Nov 1, 2013
    Lifeless, lacking in heart, direction and character. Weak and pointless exposition. Not a good Sci-Fi film, falls into all the standard pitfalls. Falls into severe navel gazing and thoroughly unenjoyable.
  5. Nov 1, 2013
    Ender’s Game vacillates between grand, sweeping space vistas and tight, penetrating close ups, mostly on Butterfield’s steely gaze. If you’re into meticulously rendered computer generated space, well then, a good 60% of Ender’s Game is for you. And if you’re by chance also into moral grey areas concerning the mental manipulation of children in war, then a minute percentage of screen time will work for you as well. But in the end, the film struggles to condense too much material into a two-hour run time. The book spanned six years, while the film packs all that into just about one year. With that much emotional ground to cover and a plot punctuated by long, computer-generated battle sequences, the story suffers from a lack of a sense of urgency and some seemingly forced character growth. Not even Sir Ben Kingsley as the legendary General Mazer Rackham could lend enough gravity to a story that very nearly gets lost in space. Expand
  6. Nov 2, 2013
    I've read the book and was deeply disappointed on what the movie decided to focus on. Ender was a complete badass and that wasn't captured at all in the film. He was so ridiculously good that the rules were changed constantly to be at his disadvantage, but he still won every game (there were hundreds of games, but the movie didn't mention this either). I realize that the movie had to leave some stuff out, but if you don't have an intriguing protagonist, you have nothing. Asa Butterfield just didn't seem like Ender. He was feared by everyone in the book, but again the movie did not give that vibe. Some other things that bothered me were Locke and Demosthenes being completely left out (that's half of the entire plot in the book), the extremely boring dialogue, and just the lack of heart in the entire film. It took itself WAY too seriously and it was really hard for me to care about any of the characters. The only positive I could take away from it was how it looked, now complaints there. Collapse
  7. Nov 2, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. First of all, let me say that I think this movie is OK as a stand-alone film. The acting is done decently well by most of the cast, and I liked what they did with the limited material that they had. Asa Butterfield does a decent enough job portraying Ender's emotion and his genius. I like Hailee Steinfeld, who plays Petra, but there isn't much conflict surrounding the character. Harrison Ford is good as Colonel Graff, but that's like saying that this chocolate tastes good, of course he's good, it's Harrison Ford. The Battle Room scenes are cool effects, which helped me out, as those scenes were difficult for me to imagine while reading. The way that it deals with the morality of warfare, manipulation, genocide, and repopulation do make it smarter than your average blockbuster.

    Unfortunately, the film can never be a stand alone piece as it is an adaptation of an incredibly smart sci-fi novel, and is thus held to a higher standard. This is where the movie has its many, many failures. Now I understand that a movie has to be different from a book, as it needs to tell a 300+ page story in around two hours. However, when these changes serve to undermine the meaning or the themes of the source material, I start to get angry.

    First and foremost, the characters are aged up to be into their adolescence, and the time period of the movie is squashed into the span of a year. I am perfectly aware of why they did this. Child actors make it incredibly difficult to make a good movie (ask Jake Lloyd), and to go through the course of the story, at least two actors would've had to play Ender and the other characters that age over the course of a six-year story. However, the absence of the longer timeframe takes away much of the impact, as in the book Ender lives literally half of his life under the thumb of Graff and the military. This largely undermines the impact of the child soldiering conversation raised by the novel. The relationship between Ender and Bean is broken, as Bean is the same age as Ender in the film version, removing the key dynamic of the characters.

    One of the key forces that defines Ender in the book is his continuing isolation, first from Valentine, then from the Launchies, then from the friends he made at Battle School. Graff says his line directly from the book about this, and successfully does this on the shuttle. However, after Ender wins his battle with Bernard (in a far less clever way, mind you), he is accepted by the battle school. After Ender is named commander, however, he never has the estrangement from his soldiers that he does in the book. They simply enjoy having Ender (who they all like and respect), as their commanding officer, without any change in his relationships. Ender never faces Petra or Alai in battle, forcing him to destroy, humiliate, and therefore alienate them. They simply both end up in Dragon Army, something Colonel Graff would never have allowed in the book. Nonetheless, Ender, Petra, Alai, and Bean are all portrayed well, which is more than can be said about one of the characters.

    Bonzo de Madrid is completely miscast in this movie, which ruins almost all of the scenes in which he's involved.

    The thing that I hated the most, though about this film is their stripping of the roles of Peter and Valentine. Valentine and Peter, and Demosthenes and Locke, have one of the ongoing storylines in the book. They manipulate world politics and involve themselves in an impeding war with Russian Empire. This storyline serves as a complex development to both Valentine and Peter's characters, a change in the separated siblings character as opposed to their perception of one another, a commentary on becoming who you pretend to be, a political argument about the nature of the mob, an example of bad motivation leading to a positive result, an analysis of child prodigy, a view of parental and sibling relationships and how they develop over the years, and my favorite part of the book. Naturally, the filmmakers chose that NONE of this had ANY place in a Hollywood blockbuster, and cut ALL OF IT. It also robbed us of the drama of Ender's fear of becoming Peter, as Peter is on screen for all of FIVE MINUTES, so we don't know him as the audience.

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Hollywood took something that was thought-provoking and clever, and made it into a marketable Hollywood blockbuster. All in all, I think it has some merit (Harrison Ford!), but fails to reach anywhere remotely near the novel's impact.
  8. Nov 1, 2013
    114 minutes felt like 1140 minutes. So Boring and so dull. A nearly bad popcorn flick that should have been released alongside After Earth. I really don't wanna say anything more about this movie, but Metacritic asks for at least 150 characters.
  9. Nov 11, 2013
    Painfully slow, predictable and boring. Like watching a screen-saver or someone else playing wing-commander for two hours. Not recommended. Haven't read the book, but if it is anything like the movie it can't be very good.
  10. Nov 1, 2013
    I have never seen a bigger disgrace to any book in my life, and by far one of the most boring movies ive seen in years. How can you destroy a book, AND the chance at making a good movie, in one go? Enders game can. If they just would have at least followed the story for 10% of the movie, i would have been happy.

    -Signed, just an angry fan.
  11. Nov 1, 2013
    This generic looking jumpsuit sci-fi is about gifted kids who are taken to fascist military school where they are manipulated into perfect war criminals and learn to solve their personal problems with violence. The visual effects are expensive looking but watching Ender play video games quickly gets old. The acting, at least by the adults, is woody and uninspiring. It is like Starship Troopers for kids but without the sarcasm, I'm not sure that is the kind of movie I wanted my children to see. Expand
  12. Nov 4, 2013
    Ugh. Lots of pretty trinkets and flashes. For those who haven't read the books the movie lacks depth, character or substance. For those who have read the book the just seems to be a series of disconnected pull quotes with nothing connecting them. My thoughts as the final credits began to flash were I would be embarrassed for my name to be shown along side this piece of trash.
  13. Nov 4, 2013
    As a fan of Enders Game the series I went in with low expectations expecting stuff to change slightly and things to be cut out. But this film cut out the wrong parts leaves you feeling like someone shoved a novel down your throat by force. The film fails to explain crucial information the friends I went to see the movie with said they were confused and it left me to explain. Why does he keep talking to his sister? Why did that kid just say salam alaikum? Why didn't he kiss that girl? They tried too much if they left out a bunch it would have been better.

    That being said I liked the visuals the character choices were fine with me it's just I feel you miss the point of Enders Game. Hopefully this makes people pick up the books and read them.

    Biggest pet peeve bugger hug? SERIOUSLY!?
  14. Nov 9, 2013
    This movie is a failure on nearly every level. If you haven't read the book, you'll have no idea what's happening as it skips along the plot and crashes into scenes like a bumper car on an ice rink. If you have read the book, you'll know what's going on and hate it for what the movie's doing with the plot.

    Isolating it from the book still leaves it as a failure of a movie. There is no
    character development, even Ender's is minor at best. The rest of the characters are basically stock foils with names and have barely any interaction with other "characters" in order to create any sort of connection with the audience. Expand
  15. Nov 3, 2013
    How can such an empty and flat film for children be PG13?! Who, who is not a child, can enjoy such bad film?! Although thinking twice, children can be quite smart and discerning who can then enjoy this?!
  16. Nov 10, 2013
    Worst book to movie adaptation I've ever seen. I guess if you haven't read the book you have a much better time of enjoying it, but they thoroughly butchered it that's for sure. Easily should have been a 3+ hour movie so much is rushed through terribly. And what is with all the random alterations to some scenes that added zero to the storyline? So dumb.
  17. Dec 10, 2013
    I just watched the movie and I just have to vent for a minute.

    First off this movie barely follows the book at all, it only had 1 or 2 scenes that where directly similar to the book, and believe me Ive read the book twice in the past 6 months, I have a list here of some of the changes, and while they might seem like little changes they were actually quite large.
    1 Ender was 6 at the
    begging of the book not 15
    2 Enders school was just like normal school
    it wasnt a military academy as portrayed
    3 Enders sister was like 8 in the book not 16
    4 Enders brother Peter was 12 not 23
    5 Enders father was American Born in America
    Not Russian born in Russia (Really why would you change that its stupid and only takes away from following the book)
    6 Major Anderson was a MALE
    7 There was only one girl in Battleschool
    and her name was Petra
    8 Bean came to Battleschool 2 years after Ender
    9 Ender was never friends with Bernard and he
    wasnt in Enders army and he didnt participate in
    the final battle in fact Bernard wanted Ender dead
    after Ender broke his arm
    10 for some reason Bernard had 0 conflicts with
    Enders and Shen just doesnt exist even though
    he was Enders first friend and a Major importance
    to the beginning plot (Another REALLY WHY THE HELL IS HE A PROTAGONIST)
    11 Dink Meeker was a white Jew not Black he was
    never in Salamander army he met Ender in rat army
    12 Bonzo Madrid was 4 years older than Ender and
    much much larger and stronger…. The fight scene
    between them seemed like a joke compared to the
    book scene where Ender kneed Bonzos nose into his brain
    blood started gushing from it. He didnt even see him after that in the book but in the movie Enders personality is so distorted to that of a rebelious teenager whereas in the book he was a Very quite un rebellious boy. (AGAIN BONZA WAS 4 YEARS OLDER you already wanted to use older actors so why not use one for him, why dont you switch the actor that you used for Enders brothers for him)
    13 seriously they made battle school only like 3 months long, Ender was in battleschool for like 6 years
    14 Ender never emailed his sister nor did he want to, in fact he didnt actually want to see her again what a stupid change, it changed Enders entire character this is Fing rediculous at this point.
    15 Petra was not Girly she was VERY AGRESSIVE, she did not have a love interest in Ender
    17 Really the MD device is a lazer, and of course only one ship has it, and of course those ships are just drones, Fing rediculous, it almost makes the end battle seem like a joke because no one died whereas in the book all of those pilots had just sacrificed themselfs burning up in the atmosphere and actually detonated the MD device inside of their own ship THAT WAS A REALLY GOOD PART OF THE BOOK and it could have translated so well to the movie…
    Really they just cut out 90% of the story and changed 99% of the rest, it is very loosly based on the book and if they had made a book based on the movie it probably wouldnt have even been published it was that bad.

    I could go on for days but I cant it was just that bad, it was bad in the same areas as the Dragonball Evolution movie…
  18. Nov 4, 2013
    How sad to see Harrison Ford reduced to playing in this sci-fi "game" that's obviously aimed at 10 year-olds or people who have stopped development at 10 years of age. Will be a big hit with game players who see the world as a place where video rules and reality, characters, interaction, mentality, and yes, even creativity, aren't essential. The sad thing is that the popularity of films like this is proof positive that the human race is really on track to destory itself (no outsiders needed!) Expand
  19. Nov 10, 2013
    Movie tries to be as close as possible to the book, and fails. Book is about psychology, character development, and tactics, which does not translate well to an action movie, especially if there's a lot of it. And without reading the book first, I doubt you'd understand half of what's going on there.
  20. Nov 10, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. All i have to say is PLOT HOLES, PLOT HOLES, PLOT HOLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    There are so many lazy short cuts taken in this movie, like throwing random voice overs in to deliver story.

    I knew they were going to change some things from the book but damn, they destroyed this story. First off, they made Ender a whiney little made Anderson a woman, completely changed the beginning of the story, they turned Peter into a whiney about how he wasn't chosen, they just throw in random ass dialogue trying to explain the giant plot holes they kinda skipped Holy this is terrible who's idea was it to say "lets put Bean on the same shuttle as Ender and skip like 3 years of the story", Dap is a complete apparently instead of the "mom" he was supposed to be in the novel, apparently they are studying Mazer, oh the battle room guns apparently freeze you even outside the battleroom, dont even get me started on the battle room and the stars, LMFAO apparently the enemies gate is down?!! when they dont even know about the game or what the damn guns do! Apparently Bernard and Alia aren't friends, Shen doesn't exist in the movie, neither does Locke or Demosthenes, Ender is apparently some wise ass who talks back to the commanders.... ok so i just turned the movie off at the Giants Drink part... this movie is just to terrible to watch anymore
  21. Nov 7, 2013
    So cheesy. The acting is like throw up. I could not stay interested. Fell asleep after 40 minutes. It might have gotten good after that. But for that first hour minutes the dialogue/ script, the acting, were of the lowest quality. People don't talk like all. To me, good sci-fi is like Minority Report, Back to the Future, Alien & Prometheus, Even Horizon, Safety Not Guaranteed, District 9, Empire Strikes Back, AI, even Tron Legacy. I know the book was legendary, so I'm pretty disappointed they squandered the brilliance of the source material. If you liked the movies I listed, we have similar taste...Avoid wasting your time with this non-entertaining movie. Expand
  22. Nov 9, 2013
    Really bad. Plot filled with glaring holes, pointless and completely unjustified twists, and no character arcs to speak of. Action is at best slightly enjoyable, at worst absolutely ridiculous looking. Acting is universally bland and disappointing. Characters do things for seemingly no reason, and then stop acting a certain way with no explanation. Over all, a waste of your time.
  23. Nov 10, 2013
    Disappointing after reading the splendid written book! Watching the movie, I've felt like they've just gone from one milestone to the other, while adding some trendy 'mushy feeling'. And the end... oh, they've altered it! No spoilers, but the book is so much better, it was frustrating watching the movie.
  24. Nov 20, 2013
    I tried to view this movie in a neutral way, attempting to see it as a story independent from its author, but I couldn't. It was impossible to take the movie's moralizing on the nature of humanity, when the author is an evil, disgusting bigot who openly hates people and advocated for their legal oppression. The author says that people who do not hate gays are like Hitler ( a bigot, or you're acting like the biggest bigot in World History?). when I view the movie, all I can think is...these are the heroes of an evil man, from the mind of a hateful, vile person. It ruined the movie for me. I may not even be able to look at Harrison Ford the same way ever again. Sad, that Sci-fi had to be corrupted this way. Expand
  25. Feb 18, 2014
    This movie has little to no emotion. the complex emotional ties between Ender and his colleagues were so glossed over it fails to draw you in. There were so few battle room battle and explanations for the genius that runs in his family as well. Glaring plot holes and a complete lack of emotion is why I gave such a negative review. The effects were amazing though and that is the only reason worth watching this dumbed down movie adaption. Expand
  26. May 22, 2014
    The vast majority of fans of the book are well into their 30s by now, but for some reason they decided to make this film for teens. What a pile of crap. This film has the emotional subtly of being hit over the head with a brick, and lacks all of the honesty of the book. Plus they cut out a huge part of the book. Why did they do all of this??? For the same reason they do everything... Money!!! So despite the fact that they made a pile of crap they got a lot of money for their pile of crap so they are happy. As for us adult viewers, who were fans of the book, and require some depth to our stories and characters, we are just **** out of luck. Glad I didn't pay to watch it in theaters. They didn't get a dime from me! Expand
  27. Apr 20, 2014
    A dumb movie for teens. The movie dragged on and on! Boring and dull, the actors were awful cast as well. Avoid this movie, you have been warned!

    The end
  28. Nov 14, 2013
    this movie adaptation is to awkward to watch really lead actor has no charisma to be a leader The weird shower scene is reminiscent of prison rape. the aliens though not the main focus of the story could have been focused on more. Ender's brother and sister have no story and in the book they were main characters to.
  29. Nov 10, 2013
    For any film fanatic that also happens to be an Orson Scott Card fan, Ender’s Game was the type of film that warranted the hanging of a calendar on the wall and blacking out the days until the film's November 1st release date. I was this excited for months about the film, and yes, I saw it opening night. But after having seen it, I say with dismay that although the admission may not have been a total waste of money, it may have been better spent on a few drinks at a bar, or on a Shake Shack dinner (for the non- drinkers). I was just so unexpectedly un-enthralled that I’m still in shock.

    The film opens with Ender Wiggin as his parent’s third child in a world where thirds are not highly regarded, yet a prestigious military school’s administrators monitor Ender’s life via hidden cameras, and through this observation witness the potential genius within Ender. But whatever they notice, it is not shown to the audience.

    Nonetheless Ender leaves his family behind to study at this elite training school where plans are secretly being made; Ender will train to become the next great commander of the Earth fleet. While at battle school Ender meets the legendary Mazer Rackham, a famous Maori warrior whom singlehandedly defeated the aliens previously, when they attacked Earth. Rackham’s job now is to mentor Ender, to prepare him for the greatest battle of his life.

    Director Hood’s rendition of Ender’s Game does just adequate justice to the original plot of the book. I pined for a grittier, R-rated Prometheus or District 9-ish kind of rendition, and instead I got something related more to Will Smith’s Independence Day.

    There were no gaps left in the timeline of the film, gaps necessary to explain how Ender could possibly have become a fleet commander at all. As Director Hood portrays it, the audience sees Ender go from cadet to commander overnight, almost literally. No human past, present, or future, (not even Ender) could pull that off.

    Blasé scenes are followed by descriptions of grandeur that made me wonder if I had just watched the same scene as the military commanders. In front of a group of new recruits Ender is praised by Officer Graff (Harrison Ford) for his intelligence, a set-up for later peer torment? But the intelligence Ender shows here is hardly praiseworthy. It’s just a smart-alecky remark about zero gravity. Later, when Ender is confronted by a gang of boys, whom he ends up defeating, the fight is not convincing, yet again, administrators swoon. This type of device, apathetic scene followed by glorious praise occurs over and over throughout the film. Descriptions of awe are purveyed when no actual awe has taken place.

    Asa Butterfield's unmoving performance is largely responsible for the film’s failure. He is not a convincing Ender, and so all his examples of greatness seem staged. Every time Ender does something “miraculous” and is praised for it, it’s reminiscent of the medieval age; a king’s steward dolloping out praise at every instance to keep his majesty satisfied. Harrison Ford is also pretty terrible. Come to think of it, pretty much all the acting, except Ben Kinglsey’s is bad.

    Errata: Ender spends significant amounts of time whining about the administration blocking his email account. What does this have to do with the plot? Nothing. Since when do starships send and receive email? They don’t. There’s ansible technology in this world people! (machines capable of instantaneous or superluminal communication) Starships are way past “email.”

    Overall, I’d say Ender’s Game was only kind of bad, but it so totally not awesome.

    PS- I love that some people have rated this film as a zero. That is awesome!
  30. Feb 15, 2014
    I am a huge fan of the book. This movie by itself might get an alright score from me but since this is based on a good and deep book this movie must be judged more harshly. This movie rushes through key points in the books and skips most important moments. The movie fails completely to show the audience the emotions and thoughts of characters that make the book so amazing. The movie also ignores Enders slow descent into madness and doesn't show the hardships endured by nearly every character. They would've been better off just calling this an entirely different movie. This movie is horrible when put beside the book, I've never wrote a review but this movie was so bad and disgraced the book so much i had to immediately write this review. Expand
  31. Mar 24, 2014
    I do not know how they could make this movie with the blessing of the author of the book. This film looks as screenwriter snatched from the book every 20th page and then write idiotic ending. In this film there is only depleted Ender's story, no history of his family, none of the other characters - only prosthesis without own thoughts.
  32. Jun 10, 2014
    Dull, uninspiring and poorly acted are some of the words that come to mind after seeing Ender's Game. I skipped through the last 50 minutes or so to get to the highlights as this movie just drones on and on forever without really going any where. Great CGI, though. Absolutely amazing. Unfortunately, unlike Pacific Rim, it doesn't make up for the rest of the movie. Child actors are dangerous ground, they're often annoying or simply unbelievable and unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to Elder's Game. The kids are annoying and they're unbelievable. However, the latter is also down to the poor writing.

    I learnt, while surfing IMDB out of boredom while awtching, that the movie is based on a book (which I have never read) and that there are several irregularities. For example, the character "Bonzo" is supposed to be much taller than Ender yet he is much smaller than Ender in the movie. It's one of those discrepancies that make me believe the book makes a lot more sense than the movie and that this train-wreck is down to the director's poor translating of said book onto the silver screen.

    Also; who thought it would be a good idea to glorify child soldiers and genocide this day and age? If this movie had any sort of social commentary, it was nullified by poor delivery.

    I'd like to draw comparisons to the amazing "The Last Starfighter" which does everything this movie does without the CGI and hints of child slavery and genocide but with humour and bravado.

    Avoid this movie. It's quite possibly worse than "After Earth".
  33. Dec 10, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. As someone who went into the film with an open mind, not knowing what the film was about or having read the book I thought the film was not good. This film is basic a big pile of nothing due to the lack of depth, the presence of plot holes and other annoyances, this overrated adaptation is entirely forgettable. With bad dialogue, poorly written characters as well as a lack of development from then, I didn't care for the characters at all, and sadly, even a good cast couldn't save the film; Harrison Ford giving a wooden and stiff performance, surprisingly mediocre acting from Asa Butterfield, laughable acting from Ben Kingsley and other forgettable performances in the end, the only performance that is at least decent is Abigail Breslin, who is entirely underused in this film. The film is incredibly tedious and rather messy and filled with plot holes, and the make it worse there is plenty of unintentional hilarity as well as goofy and somewhat campy sci-fi elements. On the plus side of things, the visuals are certainly impressive and they work well with the film. In the end, Ender's Game is nothing but style over substance.*NOTE: Prepare for some spoilers* Due to the poorly written nature of the film, some of the more thought-provoking elements of the narrative as well as the "plot twists" remained ineffective and highly obvious throughout the entire film, especially when in the film Ender is shocked by his act of genocide when it was completely obvious for the characters and the audience the realise this prior. *NOTE: end of spoilers*. Expand
  34. Feb 9, 2014
    Solid acting but over-reliance on special effects and uneven pacing definitely take away from it. Things were going rather quickly in the first hour and came to a complete stop during the second, To the point where it was from rather interesting and entertaining to dreadfully boring. They easily could have cut the film down to an hour and a half and it would have been a far better film.

    Would I recommend it? Well, I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it but if someone already has it and wants to, Why not take a chance on it.
  35. Nov 29, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Ender's Game, the novel, was thought provoking, philosophically deep, and psychologically amazing. Orson Scott Card brought characters to a level of connection between each other and the reader that few other authors can or will. He also has a wonderful insight to a future that could possibly take place and the minds of people living there.

    Ender's Game, the movie brought all this to a 2 hour blockbuster hit that, quite frankly, didn't have anything blockbusting about it. Amazing ship design and man do I wish I could step into the command simulator, but other than that, it was a hollow shell of what it could have possibly been.

    Ender didn't have anything special about him. In the novel he was a brilliant 6 year old boy who was a mix of Peter and Valentine, basically a critical and amazingly brutal tactical mind with the loving knowledge and understanding of the enemy. I can give them credit for attempting the bridge through dialogue but little else. In the movie, he was a 15 year old too susceptible to his emotions and nothing stunning about his thought processes.

    Bean, while having a mind more brilliant yet less compassionate than Ender, so much so that they had an entire novel about him, was reduced to just another lackey. They might as well left him out for how much they changed him.

    Graff, in the novel was a puppeteer mastermind pulling EVERY string behind battle school. In the movie, he's an overly militarized ****

    Dap was the bridge between home and battle school, instead he was a drill instructor.

    The story was compressed from a 6 year epic to a 1 year laughable story.

    So much character development that was left out and changed that it's just another space thriller. The screen writers understood nothing about the book and characters to make this movie. I would rather seen this as a trilogy, including all the character development, thought processes, and reasons for why the characters do what they do than watched what I watched in the theater.
  36. Feb 9, 2014
    This is movie is wrongly classified as it actually family sci-fi movie, that way it would be 8 points or so, I'm sure many kids love it. But since it pretend to be a real sci-fi, I would say the story is very weak and worth 4 at the very best.
  37. Dec 5, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A cruel experience.

    I've only seen a few minutes of it, and knew that this is a lousy movie. He is also rated with a total of only 51%. As far as my rating is pretty close.

    Although he looks good and has Stars to offer but this story is no good. In dozens of films, this principle is applied. A geek is a hero. More you did not have to offer?

    Too bad that the stars can not really show off their skills. I would have preferred more of Ford and Co as of this untalented children.
  38. Feb 12, 2014
    If you read (and liked) the book, you will likely be very disappointed by this movie. While adapting any book for a movie requires a lot of condensing, the script for this movie does a very poor job. Much of the emphasis in the book is in Ender's relationships with his fellow trainees, his family and with Graff. These are pivotal to his development as a commander, however it all feels very rushed in the movie. There is almost no back story and no character development at all. The script leaves you with more empathy for the aliens then it does for any human character. Frankly, some of the scenes are so random and rushed through that if i hadn't read the book, i don't think i would have understood why they were even in the movie. Overall, one of the worst adaptations of a good book that I have seen in recent times. It is sad to see Orson Scott Card's book turned into such a travesty. I hope they at least paid him well for the privilege. Expand
  39. Mar 31, 2014
    Let me preface this by saying that I am generally a fan of book to film conversions, especially when, as in this case, the author has had a hand in its production. I watched the Harry Potter films with a certain amount of glee knowing that its author had played a fairly integral part in bringing them to life, and it was with this in mind that I had been greatly anticipating seeing Ender brought to life on the big screen.

    I have read the entire Ender series dozens of times over the years, with each re-reading being as fulfilling as the first, so when I heard rumours that it was finally to be made in to a film I was overjoyed. Learning that Card himself was to play a part in its transformation was also pleasing news. Until that is I actually watched it.

    Let me be plain here. I do not expect any book, especially one of the same caliber as Enders Game, to translate perfectly on to the silver screen. Conversely I did not expect this a conversion to be such a gigantic insult to the source material. Literally everything in this movie is a watered down, imbecilic simplification of the book. Any and all feeling of connection with Ender is stripped away in the first few minutes and it doesn't get any better from there on out.

    For the sake of not posting spoilers for anyone who may not have seen the film yet (and I advise that you do not) I won't go in to any detail, but suffice to say that whatever it was about Cards original novel that allowed the reader to connect to its characters has been as thoroughly vaporized as the enemies ships. From almost the moment the film begins you are rushed through at a light speed pace, never getting time to understand the characters or their motivations nor their connections to one another. Ender as he appears in the novel was someone that many thousands of people grew attached to, felt a kinship with and that is something that was a core requirement of making this in to a film. They failed. Miserably. I no more connected with this version of Ender than I could connect with a toilet roll. He and all the supporting cast were as devoid of meaning and feeling as it is possible for any living being to be and the entire film became an exercise in tediousness. I can think of no worse fate for Ender than to have been mutilated, chewed up and spat out in the manner that this film done, shame on Card for allowing this and shame on the cretin who made it.
  40. Jul 16, 2014
    On a technical level, Ender's Game does everything wrong. Gives no background, no setting, no plot, and no meaning and basically no acting. The movie is a total disaster from beginning to end and gets worse the further you get into the movie.
  41. Jul 17, 2014
    Ender's Game is another pathetic attempt to cash in on young adult books. The acting was horribly embarrassing, the script is inept, and the visuals were a mess. The overall story was just outright stupid.
  42. Jun 3, 2014
    I'm giving it a 4 because while the special effects were brilliant, they screwed the story up way too much. They didn't develop the characters properly. They missed out too many chunks from the book that were vital to the story making sense, including MOST of Enders battles at battle school. They also changed things from the story. Like the Hunger Games movies, they dulled the story down to cash in on the teenage audience and made the constant tension that was in the book almost non-existent. None of the cast really matched their roles very well, including seasoned actors, Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, who, while absolutely brilliant actors, weren't really the right choices for their roles. The only right choice seemed to be Abigail Breslin for Valentine. They also missed out a HUGE chunk of the story with Peter and Valentine's characters Locke and Demosthenes. Expand
  43. Jun 9, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Let me begin by saying that I’ve read the book(s), but I’m not going to delve into the minute differences between them and the film. Frankly, it could’ve worked even with all the things that were cut - but it doesn’t, for a myriad of reasons:

    While the movie does contains most of the events that Ender went through, the pacing is all wrong - it feels as if you’re watching Ender’s story in fast-forward mode. For a movie 2 hours long, they sure managed to rush every scene. As a result, there is no meaningful character development - the kids are hollow, placeholder faces, which appear like a generic ad for diversity. In addition, there is no sense of achievement: success seems to fall out of the sky on Ender, and difficulties are overcome with unexplained, laughable ease.
    Finally, important concepts (like the limitation on number of children, or the Ansible) are not explained properly in-film, leading the viewer to guess and deduct on his own. On the other hand, “the enemy’s gate is down”, one of Ender’s critical insights, is gained nonchalantly even before his first battle, without any context, or apparent meaning. It’s as if 10-year-old Einstein sat for breakfast one day, and randomly told his mom, “you know what? I think E=MC^2”. What horrible storytelling.

    But the worst comes when the actual war begins. It’s as if this were Ender’s Game as told by the Buggers (AKA Formics for the polite). All of a sudden, humanity isn’t desperately fighting for survival against a superior, infinite enemy, that has murdered tens of millions. Instead, it has the bugs “boxed in”. A single-planet species, with an asteroid base somewhere, has somehow *boxed in* a species with an unknown number of colonies, and endless fleets. Perhaps the script writers require a rudimentary lesson in spacial geometry?
    Forget tactical brilliance against insurmountable odds, the inhuman fatigue that the children had to suffer, and the sacrifice of the people in the war fleet, up to the ultimate, last-ditch victory. In their place we are presented with Hollywood’s standard infantile anti-war morality, that turns humanity - yet again - into interstellar brutes that literally just won’t listen. In an astonishing accomplishment, this movie manages to avoid all the politics that are in the original story, while pushing its own inferior agenda instead.

    I'm giving the film a couple of points, since visually it was done quite well, and the actors did seem to put a decent effort into their roles. However, it is an insult to a classic science-fiction story.
  44. Feb 2, 2014
    I suppose “Ender’s Game” could have been a decent, average adaptation of a book that was written by a complete lunatic; however, the film was just an emotionless, joyless and thrill-less rollercoaster ride that had no real ups or downs. While the special effects look incredible, the film feels like that was the only important part of the film as every scene that should be about the characters plays out like the really cool looking CG effects are the real star. Even the great performances and themes of the film feel like they play second fiddle to a movie that was more about the special effects. In the end, “Ender’s Game” was just boring and lacked any real spark. Expand
  45. Dec 6, 2013
    Ender's Game has far too many sub-plots for it's own good, and can't balance these and the main plot. Not even the great action sequences and above average acting can save Ender's Game from being a movie that has very brief character profiles, awkward and rushed sub-plots, and numerous plot holes in general.
  46. lmb
    Dec 1, 2013
    Honestly, I can't help but feel like this review is a little biased, but after a great deal of thought I realized that it is, and that is why this movie was doomed to fail from the start. Ender's Game is one of the deepest, most thought provoking books there is, and is a must have for every bookshelf. The problem with an idolized masterpiece such as Ender's Game is that any attempts to re-create it as a motion picture will certainly be compared to the book. As most of us know by now, turning a book into a movie is no easy feat. You have to pick and choose what parts should be in the movie, who should portray the characters, and how to interpret the more abstract parts of the book. Ender's Game is about a boy who's spirit is crushed and who's childhood is extinguished for the good of mankind. The story contains numerous moral dilemmas, most of which don't have an easy answer. All in all, as a movie, Ender's Game was fine. It wasn't great, but it had it's moments and if you haven't read the book then I would advise you to go see it. However, as an avid fan of the book and all it's sequels, I feel like the movie fell victim to the inevitable outcome of not living up to the book's standards. Re-inventing the book as a movie has dented the god-like status that Ender's Game holds, and I feel like they shouldn't have tried in the first place. Expand
  47. Jan 29, 2014
    I had high hopes for this movie, Ender's Game was one of my favourite books when I was younger. The movie was a failure in capturing the flavour of the book and wasn't even especially entertaining in it's own right. To anyone who hasn't read the book I would expect them to be confused and not even understand why some elements of the movie existed.
  48. Feb 26, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I find the concept of taking children out of their homes for the express purpose of raising them into soulless ADULT military tacticians very intriguing but that's not what this movie is about. Ender's Game would have you believe some supposedly genius kids are fit to fight aliens with death star like spaceships after playing a mouse video game and few rounds of laser tag.

    That's like handing a ballistic missile submarine over to a bunch of kids from a school for the gifted. In my opinion there is a great deal of potential for a story here but it just wasn't handled well. If I wrote the script I would had Ender, in his teens, being chosen for International Fleet after doing well on a mandatory military/tactical test given to the students of his school. Ender is ripped away from his fairly carefree childhood into a military world of discipline and brutality.

    Instead of learning literature and history like regular middle/high school kids Ender learns about military science and strategy. Instead of playing laser tag Ender and his peers would learn the ins and outs of space warfare by controlling real starships (small fighters at first then graduating up to bigger more powerful vehicles) in training exercises. Throughout the film we would see how Ender copes with his new environment as he grows into a young adult (and his brain finishes developing) including his emotional struggles such as being away from home, having no or few friends, and living by the harsh rules of military discipline.

    I would also add some a some depth to the Formics. Give them a reason for attacking Earth, have them do evil and sinister things, and most importantly make it so you couldn't beat them just by hitting them with a death star laser. In the final battle Ender and his peers are actually inside the starships they are commanding, therefore creating the element of danger.

    Simple changes like this would have vastly increased the quality of the plot in my opinion. As it stands the impressive visuals of Enders Game were entertaining but that's all I liked about the film.
  49. Sep 26, 2014
    this is one of the films which is not fun at all totally boring but graphics are good though in space. I was watching tv at home flipping through channels then i saw the middle of the movie well last 5 or 10 minutes of it. Wrost film of 2013 %$#$%^&* total bull **** this movie is. Are they seriously gonna make Ender's game 2 ? . Grade ?????????
  50. Mar 23, 2014
    It's a bit like putting my youngest child in Heathrow Airport's Flight Control tower and just letting him get on with it. I'm sorry, really I am, but I simply cannot buy into an annoyingly precocious child being responsible for the safety of all mankind, with the power of all of humanity's armed forces at his disposal. I don't care how much training (not much, evidently) he is purported to have had or whether or not he has been bred and nurtured for this very purpose. I am not eleven.

    Adapted from the book (not read it, sorry, nor am I going to) this tale of one child's training as a future Admiral in the next Starship Troopers sequel (oh alright, I take that back) has had its own set of problems, development-wise, judging by just how long it took to reach us. Pitched as a sci-fi with eye candy, exploring more than the average number of themes for this type of thing, our hero, Ender Wiggins (Asa Butterfield) takes destiny and apparent fate by the scruff of the neck and goes about trying to save us all from the evil Formics, a race of bug-type aliens that previously tried to colonise earth some fifty years earlier, ultimately failing, but killing tens of millions in the attempt. Ever since, plans have been afoot to take this war to the enemy planet and do away with them once and for all. And the best people to tactically outsmart the foe on this possible final day of freedom are apparently young children with no actual experience of warmongering whatsoever. So, a global blockbuster epic of galactic proportions. And with it, a hefty $110 million in the making.

    Perhaps it's because I never read the book(s), but I didn't know or care who any of these people were. The film takes alot for granted with regard to its audience, assuming that we have a clue what the hell is going on in the lives of everyone involved, what their motivations are and what, if any, relevance they have to events taking place. Such hefty production expenses would usually have to ensure that the film reached as many people as possible, but it really didn't feel like the previously uninitiated were being considered, which is unfortunate, given that this would have comprised most the paying members of the audience.

    Add to this the incredulity that those very same audience members will have felt by having this young man in charge of their very existence and just how likely, even in magical Hollywoodland, that would actually be. I can swallow quite a bit, but even this seemed more far-fatched than the clearly questionable premise was to begin with.

    Now I don't want to come across as a bully, but Asa Butterfield really doesn't have the gravitas to pull off a tactical master of the universe. For a start, he looks like he's about twelve, he has no charisma to speak of that would garner any kind of respect, especially from other children, who are, without doubt, the most difficult of demographics to get any kind of common-sense, consideration and deliberation out of. Even more so with teenagers. His direction may have been to play Ender as understated and thoughtful, but these qualities are not enough to make this character believable. Age is not on his side here, and what he lacks in years, he must therefore make up for in other areas. Sadly, this was not the case.

    Perhaps there are elements of Ender that we (them that didn't read the book) are not aware of. Again, we return to the problem of the characters not being fleshed out well enough for the more clueless in the audience (ie, me) to appreciate. I just don't know. I didn't read the book, so I don't know. What I do know is that I felt like I must be missing something fairly relevant to a plot that I was largely unaparty to.

    The performances from the grown-ups on show were all pretty good, though none were outstanding. Harrison Ford, Viola Davis and Ben Kingsley all supported the fledging war-maker suitably, although most of the time, they appeared to be just as reticent as me to believe this mere slip of a boy could muster enough respect to command a trip to the shops, far less potential genocide of an entire alien race.

    Looked pretty but lacked a cohesive narrative that the newcomer to the stories could follow and was sorely lacking with the choice of Butterfield as the lead. Not to be too harsh on him, but the finger of blame should probably go to the casting department in this regard, for choosing an actor that already had a serious handicap in this area, through no real fault of his own.

    This will come and go and you probably won't notice.

Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 39
  2. Negative: 5 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Nov 2, 2013
    I can understand wanting to skip Ender’s Game as a matter of moral principle, but you can also feel free to blow it off just because it’s not that good.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Nov 2, 2013
    Ender’s Game is a blandly sanitized spectacle.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 2, 2013
    Straightforward, a bit literal-minded, very faithful to the book and largely compelling.