After all the debate and accusations and moral hand-wringing of the past year or so, Ender’s Game has finally arrived in theaters, for good or ill. Some folks will be boycotting the film because they believe it’s morally the right thing to do; others will be buying a ticket because they believe a work can exist outside of its author. We’re not going to sway you one way or another, because that discussion has been had a thousand times by this point. So, divorced from all that, one question remains: Is Ender’s Game actually any good?
You can read Brent’s full review right here, but the answer to the question above seems to be a solid yes, both in terms of overall quality and general fidelity to the beloved original novel by Orson Scott Card. It’s a challenging book to realize on screen, and violates one of the big Hollywood rules you’ll hear joked about often: never make a movie with kids or animals. Ender’s Game has plenty of the former, but fortunately they filled out the young cast with talented performers including Asa Butterfield (Hugo), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), and Abigail Breslin (Zombieland). And that’s not even getting into the grown-ups such as Harrison friggin’ Ford and Sir Ben friggin’ Kingsley.
What the film’s lasting legacy will be remains to be seen, but if you are excited to see Ender’s Game to the big screen, the movie sounds like it won’t let you down. Is that damning with faint praise? With the huge shadow that has hung over the movie for so long, maybe that’s the best we can hope for at this point.
If you’re planning to skip Ender’s Game but you’re still craving a movie, Richard Curtis’ About Time opens in limited release today as well. It’s about a chap who, as he turns 21, learns that the men in his bloodline have a unique ability: they can travel back in time and change their own history. Needless to say, this proves to be not quite the blessing you might think. About Time stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Nighy.