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‘Ender’s Game’ Roundup: Critics Mixed On Gavin Hood’s Attempt at The ‘Unfilmable’

Ender's Game

“Ender’s Game hits theaters on Friday, Nov. 1.

Based on the Orson Scott Card novel, the story revolves around Ender Wiggin, a gifted boy drafted into military school in an apocalyptic future, and is chosen by the International Fleet to help defend the planet against an alien invasion.

The film is directed by Gavin Hood and boasts an all-star cast that includes Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield (as Ender), Viola Davis, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin.

The film will open to mixed reviews and here’s what some of the critics are saying:

“Against considerable odds, this risky-sounding Orson Scott Card adaptation actually works. Like The Hunger Games…[it] peddles the unseemly idea of watching kids thrust into life-and-death situations, but also takes responsibility for their actions.” notes Peter Debruge of Variety.

“Ender’s Game truly captures the spirit and intensity of what is one of the most popular sci-fi stories of all time. Considering the weighty source material and complex, sprawling story line with which director/screenwriter Gavin Hood was working, Ender’s Game…couldn’t have made its translation from page to screen much more convincingly,” shares Tony Hicks of the San Jose Mercury News.

“Butterfield, with piercing gaze and singular intensity, brings novelist Orson Scott Card’s signature child hero to full and vivid life in filmmaker Gavin Hood’s epic adaptation of Card’s sci-fi classic, “Ender’s Game,” opined Soren Anderson of the Chicago Tribune.

“Successfully translates most of the book’s more pertinent themes to the screen, while making enough storytelling fumbles to hint why it was considered unfilmable for nearly three decades,” writes Richard Edwards of SFX Magazine.

“Took 28 years to get to the screen, but the end result feels rushed and hasty,” offers Eric D. Snider of

“Childhood can be tough in movies, but rarely do screen children suffer for our sins as they do here,” quipped Manhola Dargis of the New York Times.

“Not only does ‘Ender’s Game’ have many scenes in zero gravity, but this zero-sum fiasco has zero drama, zero suspense, zero humor, zero charm and zero appeal,” states Joe Morgenstern from the Wall Street Journal.

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