Enders Game Blu-Ray Review - Mania.com

Blu-ray Review

Mania Grade: B-

7 Comments | Add


Rate & Share:


Related Links:



  • Rated: PG-13
  • Cast: Asa Buttefield, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley
  • Written By: Orson Scott Card (Story) Gavin Hood (Screenplay)
  • Directed By: Gavin Hood
  • Distributor: Summit Home Entertainment
  • Original Year of Release: 2013
  • Special Features: See Below
  • Series:

Enders Game Blu-Ray Review

The Adaptation of Orson Scott Cards Sci-Fi Novel

By Tim Janson     February 08, 2014
Source: Mania.com

Ender's Game (2013)
© Summit Home Entertainment 2013
Ender’s Game is based upon The Hugo and Nebula award winning Novel of the same name by Orson Scott Card.  The film is set in the year 2136, fifty years after the Earth was attacked by an alien insectoid race known as the Formics.  Earth barely defeated the Formics and since then have been preparing for their return.  The International Fleet, created to protect the Earth, is recruiting gifted young people into their “Battle School” to prepare them for the coming onslaught.  

Among those recruited by  Colonel Hyrum Graff (Ford) and Major Gwen Anderson (Davis) is Ander “Ender” Wiggin, a brilliant but hot-headed young man who thought he had killed his chances to get into Battle School when he severely beat a bully who had been tormenting him.  Ender’s intelligence and ability to strategize quickly gains him the respect of Graff but the dislike of many of his fellow students.

Ender is given command of the formerly defunct Dragon Army where he and his team take part in various training and war games against the school’s other teams, rising swiftly to the top of the ranks.  Their skill earns them a trip to a former Formic colony where Earth has established a base.  There, Ender and his team simulate Formic attacks over and over to devise the perfect strategy to defeat the bugs.  Ender meets Mazer Rackham (Kingsley), the heroic pilot who saved earth fifty years earlier who most of the world thinks perished in the effort.  Rackham readies Ender for one last battle simulation where Ender has to utilize all of his skill and resources to achieve victory.  Ender, however is unprepared for the final twist in the game.

At the risk of ticking off Sci-Fi fans I have to admit that as I watched Ender’s Game I could not help but think it was essentially Harry Potter in space.  A gifted young man, taken from his home to a famous training academy to defeat a powerful foe…Like Hogwarts, the Battle School is even divided into various teams who compete against each other for the school’s top spot.  Having not read the novel I don’t know how closely the book follows the original story or if that’s simply the direction that Director Gavin Hood chose.

Ender’s Game skirts the division between hard sci-fi and space opera, not committing to either fully giving it an overall uneven tempo.  Hood dwells far too long on Ender’s training so that when we get to the film’s climax it all feels rushed.  Little background is provided on the Formics and how exactly the Earth managed to defeat them in the first attack.  But despite some of the plot inconsistencies the film still holds your interest due to the strong performances of Asa Butterfield as Ender and Harrison Ford.  Butterfield skillfully plays his role as a young man who has to shoulder the fate of the entire world.  He openly questions as to why attacking the Formics is so important since they have not returned in fifty years.  The interplay between Graff’s gung-ho nature and Major Anderson’s more cautious approach to Ender provide the films best conflict.

The ending sets the table for a sequel and Card has written several novels in the Ender Saga but an average performance at the box office has made the prospect of a sequel uncertain.
Blu-Ray Extras

The Blu-Ray featured two different audio commentary tracks.  One with Director Gavin Hood and the second with Producers Gigi Pritzker and Roberto Orci which discusses why certain plot elements from the book were changed.

Ender's World: The Making of Ender's Game (49:04) – This decent making of features interviews with cast members, behind-the-scenes footage, discussion of the novel, etc…Sadly there is no input from Orson Scott Card.

Deleted Scenes (10:49)

Inside the Mind Games (3:50) – short feature looks at the films use of motions capture effects


Showing items 1 - 7 of 7
WarCry 2/9/2014 7:17:59 AM

 A couple of points: First of all, Ender's name is "Andrew Wiggins", not Ander. Minor quibble, but still...

For a book that's nearly 30 years old and a movie that's about to drop on home media, I really don't know if this is necessary, but SPOILERS BELOW! SPOILERS WILL BE PRESENT BELOW!







You comment that the training takes up too much time and leaves little room for the climax of the film. That's sort of the point. The training is where Ender, as both a character and a person, is created. The training is where he finds out what it takes to be a leader. And both Ender and the audience and left with the impression that he's in training the whole time. The moment he sets foot at the Command School, he's actually leading the combat forces. He's told they're simulations against Rackum, but every one of those was a real mission, with real lives on the line, getting progressively harder


My wife hadn't read the book, and I was pleasantly surprised that they didn't give the ending away prematurely. That was my biggest concern was that, for anyone that didn't know the book, the part about Ender being lied to the whole time would be missing or incredibly transparent. It doesn't seem like that was the case.


Not a bad review, just not sure if the points being made in the film really made it across to the reviewer. And, admittedly, that may be a flaw in the film. It's hard for me to judege since I do know the book, so I knew the story going in.



Oh, and Ender's Game came out in 1985. Harry Potter and the Philospher's (Sorcerer's) Stone came out in 1997. So, if anything, Harry Potter was Ender's Game with magic, not the other way around.

rogue188 2/9/2014 8:44:13 AM

 The whole point of the movie was the training. In the book he is at the academy for years. They condense it to 30 days in the movie, which was a mistake. They also leave out all of the major points of space travel taking years in real-time and the particulars of the ansible. The whole story loses something with how the Formics (Buggers) learn to communicate with Ender. Anyway, the movie was all right, but if they had paid more attention to detail, it could have gone from fair to middling to excellent.

Iridan 2/9/2014 12:41:42 PM

Yeah, I think it is pretty silly to compare this the Harry Potter when Ender's Game predates it.

If anything, I think the movie need to take more time with the training. The movie seemed rushed to me, but I really enjoyed it. Too bad it didn't do better at the box office.

tjanson 2/9/2014 12:43:17 PM

 warcry...my point of the Potter reference wasn't to suggest that Card copied Rowling...it was more that the director seemed to emulate the potter film's tone.  Now as i said i did not read the books but I kind of think Card 's original tone was different than that of the film.  while you are right...the general public is not going to be familiar with Card's work and will likely make the Potter connection as I did.

tjanson 2/9/2014 3:57:33 PM


Walker 2/9/2014 6:08:38 PM

 This movie did have the Harry Potter problem, at least the problem that the first Harry Potter movie had. They tried to cram too much of the book into a movie running time.  As a result, you had a lot of disjointed set-pieces that made no sense unless you read the book. This was a classic case of being over-faithful with the adaptation

Chance375 2/13/2014 8:30:24 AM

Am I the only one who thinks this should have been broken into two parts, battle school and command school? I was also disappointed that there was no mention of the political drama with Peter and Valentine blogging as Locke and Demosthenes.
@ Warcry:
His name is Wiggin, not Wiggins.



You must be logged in to leave a comment. Please click here to login.