Evil Movie Review: Ender’s Game (Counterpoint Edition)

Evil Geeks Ender’s Game reviews have been done to death, you say? Just who the hell do you think you are, buddy?  You’ve got an awful lot of nerve talking to me like that… now you’re gonna sit there and read this whole article and ENJOY it, just to see what a different take Arthur Harkness had from Lilith Assisi’s. – The Editor.


Why hello there my little kiddies! The time has come once again for your boy, Arthur, to go to the movies in a bid to crush out the deafening misery that is general existence. Shit, that sounded a bit more depressing than originally intended. Anyways, this week I was able to make it to the local Emerald cinema just in time to catch the latest book to movie adventure blasting its way onto my movie screen, Ender’s Game. I went into this with pretty high hopes as everyone who is familiar with the book has told me it is a great read, so I thought I would try the movie first since it looked pretty good and go to the book later. Well, not all things go as originally planned…..

enders game ender

Okay now before I start this, I just need to say that I still have yet to read the book, but I still plan on doing so, mainly because what I saw in the film. Little things here and there that kind of made me scratch my head, but intrigued me enough to want to know more were very prominent in the film. That being said, this movie needed another half hour, like for reals. I’ll get to that in a bit, but first, the narrative. The story involves a boy named Ender, who is essentially mankind’s last hope for survival against an alien species that came to Earth a while ago, and pretty much killed millions of people. Starting off strong right? Harrison Ford plays the old grizzled military commander, in a role that is almost like a shitty regime loving Han Solo. If he had been rocking the vest and blaster, I may have shit myself. Ford sees great potential in Ender, and sets him up in situations that will test his mettle and his ability to command and lead. The thing with these situations though, is that they happen way too fast. I can easily tell that they were trying to convey something that is really only properly done in written form, which is internal monologue. Ender’s face seems to bely some sort of internal struggle going on, but they have him get over it rather quickly. It’s kind of jarring to be honest, as it seems he gets over certain things that should take months to do, in a matter of minutes. I understand time lapses and whatnot, but it just felt too quick for me. If you are going to have someone go through something like this, at least make it more thought out.

enders game ford

Those scenes of Ender coming to terms with certain things really do put a sort of silent struggle aspect into the film, but I would have preferred if they went on a little longer. For example, there were literally 3 separate groups of people that Ender had to “win over” to his cause , either by instilling slight fear or by establishing leadership qualities that the kids can follow. They do this 3 times within a span of less than an hour, and that is just a little too much for me. Once again, I know the book did that in a longer time period, and that movies don’t have the sort of time it takes to properly flesh out certain things, but if they had combined all 3 groups into one group and had Ender win them over, it would have felt less stifling and more emotional and powerful. We get it, he is able to win people to his side, but we really don’t need to see it 3 times. However, I really did enjoy the Sargent who said he would never salute Ender, salute Ender an hour before the end of the move. I liked that guy, and I thought he brought a bit of proper emotion to the role he was given. Good on ya, buddy. Another thing that sort of bothered me was the fact that everyone seems to be a goddamn asshole in command. Bonzo, or bonesaw or whatever he is called, was a fucking prick and I honestly laughed when he got what was coming to him. I know it was a hard thing for Ender to do, but he said it in the beginning; if you can win all of your future fights in one fight, then do it. And he did it, and that asshole got exactly what he deserved. Fuck you Bonzo or Bonesaw…..actually, you will never be Bonesaw….let’s get that freaking straight.


The boy who played Ender though, Asa Butterfield, was really good. He did the slightly crazy but absolute genius child with untapped ability and emotion very well. He looked to understand the character very well and those looks of internal monologue must have been something he put in there himself. If there was only one gripe I could say about him, it would be that during the final moments, he seemed to be dialing in the emotion, as if he was just tired. This may have had a lot to do with the character being exhausted and tired, but it still seemed a bit off. Besides that though, him and the rest of the cast were pretty solid. I also understand that Ford’s character is supposed to be more cruel and terrible in the books, but he wasn’t so bad in the film, which I was slightly upset over. I like the father type figure who is an asshole because someone has to be, but he wasn’t as terrible as I was expecting. You need that character to drive things forward, and he just didn’t seem to have the sort of malice needed, but he did get the job done in the long run. I also enjoyed the effects, mainly because I am a child sometimes and love flashing lights and pretty colors.  A few times it looked slightly dated, but much like in video games, graphics take a back seat to good gameplay and story, but what they did they did pretty well. The ending of the film however left much to be desired for me. It ended way too quick, and desperately needed another 20 minutes or so to round out the story. I was getting super into it, and then BAM, credits. I looked at Lady Harkness and asked if that was it, because she had already read the book, and she just looked at me and laughed. I was pissed. I needed more and they denied me. Shame on you.

enders game battle

To be honest, if I could give this movie a rating, it would be 2.5/5. It wasn’t bad, but at the same time it left much to be desired. I wanted it to go on for a little longer than it did, and I wished some things were done differently, but it was a decent film nonetheless. I know I’ll most likely watch it again, because I am a sucker for underdog sci-fi films, but hopefully when they release it on dvd/blu ray, they will add in another 20 minutes of unused footage and expand it a little bit. Then Arthur will be happy.

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About Arthur Harkness

I like things, and things like me back

Posted on November 7, 2013, in Evil Movie Reviews, Movies, Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. i actually don’t mind the long comment at all! i can understand where you’re coming from, and trust me I actually hated giving it a number score, mainly because i don’t usually use them because it kind of defeats the purpose of the review. however, i am known to enjoy movies more after multiple viewings because it gives me the ability to notice things i did not notice the first time. in terms of the way certain things were presented, i still do feel like certain things could have been done a little more thoroughly, but then again, i am sure that after i read the book, my opinion on the movie may vary slightly.

    i can also agree with your feelings on leaving it slightly open to interpretation from the audience could be a good thing, but i was just hoping for something a little more concrete. it may just be me though. i can’t tell you how upset i was at the end of inception, but over time, i grew to appreciate it all the same. it may be my need for closure haha

    • Very valid points. I am certain a lot of people feel the same way you do, now that I have been ever so kindly forcing other people to go who had not read the book and interrogating them about their thoughts on it afterward…
      In any case, thank you for your reply. Best wishes on your future, and current, endeavors.

  2. Arthur Harkness,
    Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your review. Mostly as a result that you offered the unique viewpoint of having not read the book before seeing the movie (or at least unique in my world). However, I feel that your belief about the ending coming too soon and without fully rounding out the movie may be a bit extreme. Certain dramatic scenes may not have been drawn out, but isn’t there a reason for that? Ender was chosen as the world’s savior because he is brilliant, but still has empathetic abilities. He understands the Formics the most because he is able to imagine and feel what they feel. Now if he can understand an entirely different species’ feelings, I believe he can easily understand a human’s. Thus, all the long and dramatic conversations that would have occurred in more normal movies, would make no sense in occurring here because no one needs to explain what they feel to Ender, he already knows. As for the rest of the things that may have needed to be rounded out, what was not really finished?
    1) Graff learns he’s an overly focused idiot- check
    2) Ender breaks at the end of the “training” just as the psychologist said he would- check
    3) Ender begins healing- check
    4) the world is “saved”- check
    5) Ender finds a way to atone for his guilt- check
    6) the formics succeed in making contact with a human- check
    Now, I’ll admit that there are a few things that probably should have been mentioned near the end to appease the curious audience, but they certainly were not actually necessary for the story. For instance, whether Bonzo actually died or not is not important once Ender moves past his guilt over the accident.
    The one thing that I would have said absolutely should have been included in the movie is how Ender managed to get away from the world leaders with the formic egg. He has a queen egg with him, and while we can all assume (trying not to draw too much from the book here) that Ender would be granted just about anything on account of his having actually just saved the entire world, or at least as they believe, is it still feasible to think that they would have let him go off into space alone after having just found the egg? A final scene explaining how he managed it may have been more fulfilling. But then again, letting the audience think about it and decide on their own is definitely a good strategy in getting them to continue thinking about, and talking about the movie.
    In any case, my non-expert evil movie review would have put it at at least 3.5, not 2.5.

    My apologies for the long comment, I get rather wordy just before lunch.

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