ENDER’S GAME: THE BLU RAY REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Enjoy my review from last December and with thanks to ICON FILM win a copy of the film on Blu Ray. The film releases on April 4th on DIGITAL, DVD and Blu Ray and we have three copies to giveaway on Blu Ray – please note the Blu Ray will not be 3D. Have a suss of my review and see how you can win below.

REVIEW BY JK FROM DECEMBER 2013

ENDER’S GAME is a book that was introduced to me about a year ago when I heard about the film. Asa Butterfield is easily, hands down, the best child actor on the planet after films like HUGO and THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, he has more range than most adults and acts years ahead of his age. When I saw Asa coming out in a film, a sci-fi to boot I was sold. So I read the book by the homophobic insane douchebag, Orson Scott Card, and I fell in love with the story, subtle gay hatred aside. I then scored tickets to the ICON FILMS RED CARPET GALA event for the film at IMAX Darling Harbour on Monday night and headed there with a small posse, it’s how I roll now :). ENDER’S GAME is rated M and runs for 1hr and 54mins.

 

Orson Scott Card, Gavin Hood, Ender's Game, Ender Wiggin, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, Jason King, Icom Films
ENDER’S GAME: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

The event, ran by ICON FILMS was hands down the best cinema event I have attended this year, free wine, popcorn, water, fast moving, no shambles and queues, no screwing around at the start, straight into it after a small speech and easily the best gift bags of the year. It was a brilliant night had by all, so firstly, thanks for that! Now……………..the film. It is hard to judge a film based solely as a film if you are a mammoth fan of the book. I have had to ask friends in attendance as to what they thought and firstly, from them, it was thoroughly enjoyable with most of them awarding it 3.5 pops when asked. For me, I think the film was perfectly passable and it achieved what it set out to achieve, a family sci-fi film. But from a book reader’s perspective the director and screenwriter, Gavin Hood (Tsotsi, Rendition, X-Men Origins – Wolverine) did something really well, that I also think let the film down, he tried to honour the book too much. Who would think I would ever say that???? But as he tried to keep faithful and keep as most of the film as accurate as possible, it made everything weakly visited.

 

Orson Scott Card, Gavin Hood, Ender's Game, Ender Wiggin, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, Jason King, Icom Films
ENDER’S GAME: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

In the near future, a hostile alien race (called the Formics) have attacked Earth. If not for the legendary heroics of International Fleet Commander Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley), all would have been lost. In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Hyrum Graff (Harrison Ford) and the International Military are training only the best young children to find the future Mazer. Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), a shy, but strategically brilliant boy is pulled out of his school to join the elite. Arriving at Battle School, Ender quickly and easily masters increasingly difficult war games, distinguishing himself and winning respect amongst his peers. Ender is soon ordained by Graff as the military’s next great hope, resulting in his promotion to Command School. Once there, he’s trained by Mazer Rackham, himself, to lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth and save the human race. 

 

Orson Scott Card, Gavin Hood, Ender's Game, Ender Wiggin, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, Jason King, Icom Films
ENDER’S GAME: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

Moments in the book that are personally momentous are lightly touched on in the film, the toughness of the battle school is lightly touched on, the characters are lightly touched on. Some things should have been let go. By trying to achieve everything it weakened the film as a whole and made the film slightly average. Do not get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed this film but the book was epic and as engaging as the Harry Potters and as skilled as a Game of Thrones book, the book is so well regarded it is actually part of the recommended reading list for the U.S. Marine Corp on it’s “lessons in training methodology, leadership, and ethics as well.” Yet, in the movie this is so quickly dealt with it was saddening, but to be fair the film would have required a good 3hr minimum run time to achieve this and this is not a good way to make a family film.

 

Orson Scott Card, Gavin Hood, Ender's Game, Ender Wiggin, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, Jason King, Icom Films
ENDER’S GAME: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

There are a few things that elevate this film above mundane and this includes Asa Butterfield, the kid is just amazing, mark my words, he will own Hollywood one day and not for blockbusters but for talent. The only negative with Asa was that they filmed this smack bang in puberty – he appears to grow quite a bit and has some body shape changes but not many people will notice. He can act alongside anyone and then hold an entire film on his own shoulders. He outshone every actor in the film and the only two people that came to match his skills were Viola Davis as Major Gwen Anderson but sadly, this is another underutilised character. Then there is also Moises Arias, he has a small role, as Ender’s first real commander named Bonzo Madrid. He is so small and oozes little man syndrome, I felt he was a great character and you may have seen Arias as the weirdo in THE KING’S OF SUMMER. Love the weirdness of him.

I found the big names very average, Harrison Ford is on my shitlist, the guy needs to retire, he just seems so over the acting gig and yet he keeps doing it. Butterfield ran circles around him with his teenage acting skills. Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin are perfectly acceptable in their roles but, again while so pivotal in the book they are so simply dealt with in the film. Ben Kingsley returns to working with Butterfield after their outing together in HUGO and while I love Kinglsey again his character was so lightly dealt with, he was way less Yoda and way more washed out Maori with no spark. He was meant to be an asshole to Ender, this is how he trains him, yet it appeared as though they spent a day together. Disappointing.

 

Orson Scott Card, Gavin Hood, Ender's Game, Ender Wiggin, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, Jason King, Icom Films
ENDER’S GAME: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

While a producer of the film, you may notice they have tried to keep any mention of Orson Scott Card to an absolute minimum, his anti gay campaigning is quite frankly, appalling. The film really tones it down. In the book the nickname for the Fornics (or if you read into it fornicators) was the “Buggers” and the entire mission is to kill the “buggers”. Not very cool at all. There was abundant campaigning to boycott this film from gay rights groups and this is when the production company defended the film, removed Scott Card from any promotional work on the film and released statements claiming they disagreed with Orson Scott Cards belief and that this film would in no way be negative towards homosexuals. Scott Card has neither been heard or seen ever since. Hopefully buried in a studio vault somewhere 🙂 As a gay man I can see no negatives about this film, although the immature gooses sitting next to me in the cinema kept making innuendo comments, puns and giggles about Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield and the script leading to some kind of pedophilic relationship. I am pretty sure they were drunk while watching the movie.

 

Orson Scott Card, Gavin Hood, Ender's Game, Ender Wiggin, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Viola Davis, Jason King, Icom Films
ENDER’S GAME: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW

 

One thing Gavin Hood does give us is an amazing Battle Room, battle scenes and some superb action – the formation scene and the battle scenes really lift this film into a level of awesome. The film is just visually stunning. The action sequences and special effects are exceptional and allow my forgiveness of certain sections in the film being mediocre or as mentioned too weakly dealt with. If you have a teenage boy and have not read this book then this could be one of your more favourite films of the year. For a lover of this book I found the film was made with lack of nuance and while I enjoyed it I wanted, deserved, more than just the brilliance of Butterfield. On a side note, I enjoyed it enough to have pre-ordered it on Blu Ray, this film could also have done with being made in 3D – the battle room stuff would have been perfect for it.

 

JK’S POP SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops

 KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops

KERNEL ADAM’S POP SCORE:

3 and a Half Pops

KERNEL CLAIRE’S POP SCORE:

2 Pops

 

With special thanks to ICON FILMS to win one of the 3x copies of the BLU RAY of  ENDER’S GAME you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer to the following question:

What is your favourite school film and why?  

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then get with the times old timer haha – You can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jkdigitaldesigns@gmail.com telling me you don’t have social media 

Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent in the next 2 weeks. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.

 

 

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