War Game Glory from Beginning to End…er.

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them.... I destroy them.”

Ender’s Game was an extremely enjoyable movie experience - marvelous imagination of the “Enderverse”, beautiful visual effects, masterful cinematography and a really great protagonist, Ender.


 Ender’s Game is a military sci fi movie based on Orson Scott Card’s novel of the same name. Ender Wiggin is a tactical prodigy who becomes part of a military training program at a very young age. Here he is further refined to become the next great military leader of Earth through a series of war games and battle simulations. The movie elaborately tackles themes on leadership, battle strategy, manipulation, and training methods.

Ender is such a wonderful and complex character. He is small, scrawny even, but what he lacks in physicality, he makes up for in his wits and guts. In solving a problem, he goes outside the box. Or better yet, he never sees a box! His is the kind of cunning though that can be both heroic and mischievous. There is a darkness in him that he tries to suppress. He’s so used to getting bullied that he’s also used to pushing back - hard. So when at times he seems friendly, you’re not entirely sure if it’s only to use them in some future plan. He’s a total bad ass as weird geeky kids go. Props to Asa Butterfield in his splendid portrayal of the brilliant, but internally struggling character.

Ender Wiggin. Tactician. Leader. Dick to authority.

The movie placed a lot of emphasis in displaying his strategic brilliance. His victories are compact and easily comprehensible, unlike other shows that have similar strategic leaders, like Spartacus or Lulouch of Code Geass. Their tactical maneuvering is drawn out between episodes or seasons, or simply implied through supporting characters (e.g. “Lulouch is brilliant! We would never have won without him!" Without really showing how or why he won.) which made it harder to appreciate. Of course, it's different since movie time is limited, but I don’t know of any recent movie that’s made me think “Man, that leader really IS a genius!” the way Ender’s Game has. The movie’s handle of depicting a skillful tactician was simple but effective.

Ender isn’t the only character of note. Tough as nails Coronel Graff, played by Harrison Ford, was expectedly intense. Because Harrison Ford. He was such a cerebral anti-hero, always planning schemes to create the ultimate leader. Abigail Breslin, in her brief appearances, played a very compassionate older sister, Valentine. The other supporting characters were slightly less memorable. Like his teammates who are probably more appreciated in the novel.

Coronel Graff and..........token love interest.

The zero gravity shooting “game” was insanely cool! Laser tag meets agawan base. The battle room's design was breath-taking and that battle suit was a sleek! To the gods of games and entertainment, I say to you, please make this game a reality!! At first glance, this may seem like a movie for young boys, but in truth, it tackles some very mature themes. Like the influence of war games on a child's psyche, and even child labor. Some conservative types might find offence in such themes. But as a child of this video game generation, I celebrate the idea of using video games to harness a skill!

Battle Room, please come true!

Ender playing XBOX 2000 Kinect

Ender’s Game would have been cool as a TV series too though. One season would be for battle school, another for command school, etc. If we had a chance to flesh out the Enderverse, we’d be able to get to know Bean and Bernard and the other classmates, or really explore the mind of Ender and his relationships, or simply appreciate just how much time is spent in each school. The movie was understandably fast paced. But I assume this all went on for months, if not years, yet the boys never aged. Must be some potent futuristic skin cream they use.

enders game 660 ap
Ender at age 10...15...20... Forever Young Skin Cream, get it now!

Ender’s Game was not only good for its visually spectacular space battles but also the deep character conflicts. I cannot stress it enough. The effects, the choreography, the shots and angle, were intense and engaging and left me in awe! Made me believe I was playing the game with them! I wish there was a sequel, but after reading a bit about the novel’s sequels, it doesn't seem likely. So I’ll just hope the zero gravity laser tag happens eventually. Man, would I love to play THAT! (And be the next Ender!)

Stuff that made me say “OH YEAH!” or “HOLY SHIT!!” during the movie: (MEGA SPOILER! SKIP THIS PART IF YOU’RE STILL ABOUT TO WATCH THE MOVIE!!!!)
  • Ender saying Sergeant Dap will inevitably salute him.
  • Sergeant Dap saluting Ender.
  • Ender twisting and twirling all while blasting enemy cadets to single-handedly win the Salamander game. (Ender spin attack for the win!)
  • First time Ender marches with a team of his own.
  • Petra entering the battle room with a human shield to shoot at the enemies waiting by the gate.
  • The Dragon team using a roped up scout to assess the enemy forces behind the wall.
  • The Dragon team doing the human shield formation to cover a teammate and directing it to the “touchdown”.
  • The BFG firing on a clumped up enemy force
  • The final boss fight. The whole thing made my panties melt!

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