Metascore
51

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

User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 426 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 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
    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: 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Oct 25, 2013
    70
    An impressive, thought-provoking astro-adventure that benefits from the biggest screen available.
  4. Reviewed by: Tom Huddleston
    Oct 22, 2013
    60
    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
    50
    Ender’s Game is a blandly sanitized spectacle.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Keough
    Oct 31, 2013
    50
    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
    0
    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. Positive: 96 out of 161
  2. Negative: 36 out of 161
  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 merits this is a fantastic sci fi movie that I hope will do well enough for them to merit a sequel. Expand
  2. Nov 2, 2013
    10
    Outstanding! As a fan of the classic novel I was skeptical a film could adequately capture all the intensity, thrill and layers of nuanced psychological twists- But Director Gavin Hood was able to deliver. This movie has plenty to offer adults, kids, families and the tried and true sci-fi nerds who fell in love with the book. Loved it so much I saw it twice! Expand
  3. Nov 2, 2013
    9
    For those who have never read the book:
    So, we won a war with an extremely desperate, hostile race that we could not communicate with or
    understand. We kind of did it in a stroke of luck, but our losses were devastating. The world has united under a militaristic power in an effort to prevent a future invasion that we are sure is coming, but don't know when. We are breeding and cultivating super children for the purposes of creating the ultimate commander who will win the war when the enemy comes back to destroy us. This movie is about that training and the culmination of that war. Its a pretty difficult pill to swallow for a lot of people, and even harder for actors to portray in a believable way.

    The powers that be believe that Ender is that commander. And if he isn't, they are going to engineer him to gain what he is lacking. They've been watching him for his whole life, and he's paid for it in spades: with an abusive brother, and classmate bullies. Then they further separate him from everything he loves and knows to pit him against the only other people in the world who could actually enrich his life.

    Despite the incredible nature of the characters, and catastrophic consequences, the staff rises to the challenge. The staff does a great job of allowing you to empathize with characters that could only exist given very restrictive, catastrophic circumstances. The adult actors are phenomenal, while the child actors do quite well, but have very limited amount of time to establish the relationships that would take quite a few more scenes to develop. Asa, in particular, does a great job of allowing the audience to identify with a child genius (because, let's face it, we're not all child geniuses) that is incredibly aware of the consequences of every single one of his actions. He sells this movie as best he can.

    While it is a well done movie, it is not a happy movie. It is entertaining, but is also there to make you think and feel. It is not a sci-fi action movie, though there is a lot of sci-fi and a little bit of action. It also is not a movie for kids unless you are willing to take the time to explain the concepts that the film touches on. There's stuff very serious stuff in here. The writers do a great job of trying to minimize the impact upon a younger audience, but if you do take your kids, there will still be some work to be done.

    For fans of the book:
    There were some minor changes to the story. While those who appreciate the level of depth of the book may miss those specific details, they are more central to our perception of the characters than they are to the story. The movie does an amazing job of incorporating nearly every pivotal scene in almost the complete way that it was written. The only solution would have been to make the movie 1/2 hr 1 hr longer. Given the special effects, that probably would have created an unrealistic budget for a film with a more limited audience.
    Expand
  4. Nov 10, 2013
    7
    The book was better, but you can't make a film with a book that is 4 years long. I can't complain about that, this is how every adaptation are made, they cut "useless" parts. Visual effects were really great. Expand
  5. Nov 5, 2013
    5
    The earth is threatened by an alien race and it's determined that young Earthlings are the best trainees for combat. Enter Ender, a unflinchingly serious boy, who rises thru the ranks. This movie takes place during the military training with much of the time spent as Ender endures bullies, outsmarts everyone and questions authority (especially a stern Harrison Ford). The futuristic look is stainless-steel shiny and the effects are decent if unoriginal. Ironically, the fight sequences look like video games, but it's much more about drama than action. There are some non-traditional aspects that make it interesting, but it's not an exciting alien adventure. Expand
  6. Dec 10, 2013
    4
    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
  7. Feb 15, 2014
    0
    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 161 User Reviews

Trailers