Ender's Game is a surprisingly bold movie. It takes risks with how the main characters are portrayed and how harsh they make the world of their story. It is based on a book by a now-controversial author, and the film also contains controversial themes that, at best, I could say is worth thinking about.

Unfortunately, a lackluster performance by the film's namesake Ender (by Asa Butterfield) makes it harder for the audience to be fully invested in the inner conflicts of the character, and an overuse of other stereotype children also distracts. At times this feels more like a high school bullying story than it does a war film.

But, child actors aside, when it comes down to it, the film is quite good. The story is solid. The provocative questions are there, and the choreography and imagery used is distinct and masterful. This film is reminds me of Starship Troopers, albeit without the military-propaganda satire. It is like if Starship Troopers was played straight, and with children instead of young adults as the lead trio.

I can't say it is a great film, because it doesn't compare to the vision of the book it was based off of, and like I said the characters are a bit cardboard. It feels more like a caricature of the book than a full on adaptation, but as far as caricatures go, this is a commendable one.

7.0 / 10.0