Mixed or average reviews - based on 39 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 443 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: The Earth was ravaged twice by the Buggers, an alien race seemingly determined to destroy humanity. Seventy years later, the people of Earth remain banded together to prevent our own annihilation from this technologically superior alien species. Ender Wiggan, a boy of only six, may become the savior of the human race. He is separated from his beloved sister and brought to battle school in deep space. He will be tested and honed into an empathetic killer who despises himself as he learns to fight in hopes of saving Earth and his family. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 39
  2. Negative: 5 out of 39
  1. Reviewed by: Matt Mueller
    Oct 24, 2013
    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: Michael O'Sullivan
    Oct 31, 2013
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Oct 25, 2013
    An impressive, thought-provoking astro-adventure that benefits from the biggest screen available.
  4. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Oct 22, 2013
    It falters once the actual war begins: Ben Kingsley shows up as a Maori warrior with the weirdest imaginable accent, the final battle is uninvolving, and there’s an unconvincing upbeat coda. Ender’s Game ends up being fitfully engaging and endearingly odd.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Nov 2, 2013
    Ender’s Game is a blandly sanitized spectacle.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Oct 31, 2013
    It comes down to this: Which is more important, the innocence of a child or the survival of the species? And if the race survives, will it just become like the enemy aliens that must be destroyed to do so?
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 31, 2013
    Ender’s Game, the book, may have a special place in pop-lit. The movie, however, is as special as a migraine.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 36 out of 167
  1. Nov 1, 2013
    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 merits this is a fantastic sci fi movie that I hope will do well enough for them to merit a sequel. Expand
  2. Dec 21, 2013
    Is this film as good as the book? Well no. Does it stick to the exact details of the book or choose the more compelling moments to build a good story. The second one. But despite these things, it keeps true to the spirit of the source text, successfully compressing it down without cheapening it or pulling punches. Harrison Ford gets a somewhat expanded part, but he is terrific to watch.
    Overall in my opinion its the best Sci-Fi film of this year and probably last year too.
  3. Nov 2, 2013
    Think of the movie as an homage to the book. Truthfully, if you were to watch the movie without having read the book, I don't think you could appreciate what's happening. Gavin Hood's interpretation is very "on the surface" while Orson Scott Card has commented that Ender's Game is told almost entirely from inside Ender's head.

    Traditionally there is a "see the movie before you read the book" mentality when it comes to film adaptions of classic novels (e.g. you can't appreciate the movie once you've read the book; the movie changed too much). I think Ender's Game is different. Read the book first and then go see the movie. Watch the movie as though it were simply trying to remind you of what you loved about the book; yes, some of the details are different, but you'll recognize Card's masterpiece hidden inside of it.
  4. Nov 8, 2013
    Movie seemed a little rushed, trying to cram the whole story in under 2hrs, could have spent more time creating some character development. That being said it was a good movie and worth the price of admission. Expand
  5. Nov 11, 2013
    Enders Game was by no stretch a terrible film. However, it could have been made much better. All of the characters in the tim seemed a bit lifeless, including Asa Butterfield (who plays Ender), who did not seem fit for the protagonist role. Along with the poor casting decisions, the plot that made the original book so critically acclaimed was completely changed, including the entire ending of the film! That did not make me happy at all.
    While there are many things wrong with this film, the one thing that they got right were the SFX, which were bright and engaging.
    In the end, this movie could have been made much better if it were not for the poor casting choices and different plot.
  6. 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!
  7. 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

See all 167 User Reviews