SCI-FI; 1hr 54min
STARRING: Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley
War games: from left, Butterfield and Ford
Twelve-year-old Ender Wiggin (Butterfield) doesn’t look like he could save the world. He looks, in fact, like a weedy computer-game brainbox, which is exactly what he is. In the beady eyes of Battle School commander Colonel Hyrum Graff (Ford), Ender's techno-strategic skills and strong spine stamp the lucky boy as “a Julius Caesar. A Napoleon.” Recruited to the spacecraft-based Battle School with his fellow, initially wary geeklets (Steinfeld is Ender’s only friend at the outset, Breslin his soul-mate sister), Ender has the unenviable task of ultimately leading the International Fleet in an alien attack. And not just on any old aliens: the buggy Formics are a death-dealing force.
Based on Orson Scott Card’s 1985 novel and scripted and directed by X-Men Origins: Wolverine’s Gavin Hood, Ender’s Game is about the physical and psychological extremities of survival when children are sent to fight a war. Its stark futurism and tactical flourishes are a digital head trip. But Card’s principal concern is a meditation on the morality of conflict, in whatever arena it is fought, and the terrible consequences that winning can entail.