Is it exactly like the book? No. Was it perfection? No. Was it an enjoyable representation? I think yes. Here’s why:
#1 Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin!
“The way we win matter!” -Ender Wiggin
This was such a great casting choice!! Asa Butterfield is a great Ender! This kid can tell a whole story with his eyes. The moment he realizes he has committed genocide, you just feel every emotion through his expressive eyes. He was the exact right choice and if they continue on to Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the Mind (highly unlikely) I’d love to see this kid take it all on.
#2 The music!
Steve Jablonsky’s score was utterly moving. I expect nothing less from the man behind the scores for the Transformer movies (flawed movies, flawless music.)
#3 Hailee Steinfeld as Petra Arkanian
This rising young starlet was a great fit for the role of Petra Arkanian. She is equally sassy and empathetic! If they go on to make Ender’s Shadow and subsequent sequels (highly unlikey…sad) I’d love to see more of Hailee’s Petra.
#4 Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff
I honestly think there’s not a role that Harrison Ford could not play well. Especially the man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. In my opinion you can never go wrong by casting Harrison Ford in your movie. (Though I may be biased seeing as I was raised on Star Wars and Indiana Jones.)
#5 Battle School
I was a little worried that the battle school sequences would not match up with my very vivid imagination. But they were beautiful and really close to my own imaginings. The only thing I will say is that I just wish there had been more battle school!!!
#6 Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham
This is another man that I will never tire of watching on the big screen. (Ghandi and Schindler’s list are two of my very favorite dramas.) My favorite moment, other than the one where he sorta kicks Ender’s ass, is when he explains his Maori facial tattoos and says “It is a way for me to speak for the dead.” What a beautiful moment to tie in an important theme from the sequel to Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead.
#7 The ending
It would have been so easy to end with a large scale battle and that spectacular victory. And with the tearing knowledge that Ender wiped out an entire race. But the writer’s stayed true to the book by including Ender’s exchange with the Formic Queen and his ongoing mission to find a home world for the last remnant of the Bugger race. It was touching and strange and sci fi and fitting.
#8 Aramis Knight as Bean
Bean is so important to the world of Ender. I don’t know if the studio intends to create the Bean series or not. But I really enjoyed the small amount of screen time given to Aramis Knight’s Bean. I wished for more. But honestly every exchange between Bean and Ender brought a smile to my face. The only thing missing here was the simultaneous filming of Bean’s perspective of the movie and release date one year from now. (That would have been epic!!)
#9 Abigail Breslin as Valentine
She is the reason he continues on. She is the heart of Ender Wiggin. And Abigail Breslin was a great pick for this role. She is kind and caring and she loves Ender with all she has.
#10 The epic battle against the Formics
That final battle scene was sheer perfection. From the visual effects to the music to Ender’s struggle to win what he thinks is merely a training exercise. It was even better than I had envisioned. It was action packed and crazy cool and nail biting and heart wrenching all at once.
Now listen. I’m not a movie critic, I’m a movie lover. When I go to see a movie I try to find every single thing I liked about it. It’s very rare for me not to love a movie I’ve seen. So again, was this a perfect film? No. Did it entertain me, make me smile, make me feel? Yes and in my book that is a movie worth seeing. I’d love to hear what you thought (unless you’re a negative Nancy with nothing nice to say, then this is not the blog you’re looking for!)