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TV show review: CONTINUUM season 4
PHOTOGRAPHY

ENDER’S GAME

Movie review by David Blackwell

 

DETAILS:  114 minutes, audio commentary, making-of documentary, featurette, deleted and extended scenes, theatrical trailers, previews, DVD, digital copy

VIDEO:  2.40:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen) 1080p High Definition

AUDIO (Blu-ray):  English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

AUDIO (DVD):  English 5.1 DD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish

 

STUDIO:  Summit Entertainment/ OddLot Entertainment/ K/O Paper Products/ Digital Domain

Theatrical RELEASE DATE:  11-1-2013

Blu-ray/ DVD RELEASE DATE: 2-11-2014

 

STARRING Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, Hailee Steinfeld, Abigail Breslin, Ben Kingsley

SCREENPLAY by Gavin Hood, based on the novel by Orson Scott Card

DIRECTED by Gavin Hood

Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield) is a bright boy that the military has taken an interest in for his intuitive strategies.   They put them through a couple of tests before accepting him to Battle School where he makes friends with Petra and Bean, but he finds an enemy in child Commander Bonzo.   The military is putting kids through Battle School to find a great military mind that might make decisions that an adult might not as Earth is waiting to combat another invasion from the alien Formics who humanity defeated once before with the sacrifice of great head Mazer Rackham many years ago.   Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) sees Ender as the answer to ending the all future conflict with the Formics.   Graff wants to isolate Ender while his fellow colleague Major Gwen Anderson (Viola Davis) wants to try a more human approach.   Time is running out as Graff changes the rules and increases the competitiveness between the child battle teams to prove Ender is the one the military needs.

 

ENDER’S GAME is one of those sci-fi classic novels.   It took several years and even screenplay attempts by Orson Scott Card before they finally settled on director Gavin Hood who ended up writing his own screenplay for it.   As a two hour movie, the movie provides an impressive adaptation that focuses more on Ender and Graff’s shaping of Ender.   They don’t push the moral issues too much even though it is very present in the film because the main thrust is Ender and Gavin Hood has made it Ender’s story.   In the end, ENDER’S GAME is one of the better sci-fi movies of the year and it makes up for Gavin Hood’s previous outing as the director of the mediocre X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE.   Hood has created what will probably be the best adaptation of the novel without making it into a three hour film or TV mini-series.   Asa Butterfield was a good choice for Ender while Harrison Ford makes you wish he was in more sci-fi films.   The special effects and production design are impressive while Steve Joblonsky creates a sci-fi score on the same level as Marco Beltrami and David Arnold.  Everything just clicks with ENDER’S GAME which makes me wish they could make a sequel to it which might be a long gamble given the movie was a bomb at the box office.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Audio commentary for the film with screenwriter/ director Gavin Hood and an audio commentary with producers Gigi Pritzker and Roberto Orci

 

ENDER’S WORLD: THE MAKING OF ENDER’S GAME- a multi-part documentary (JOURNEY TO THE BIG SCREEN/ RECRUITING THE TROOPS/ ENDER IN ZERO-G/ BATTLE SCHOOL REVEALED/ THE MIND GAME/ BEHIND ENEMY LINES/ THE ALIEN WORLD/ ENDER’S MISSION COMPLETE) that goes in the origins of how the movie finally got made, the casting, the wire rig they created for the zero gee Battle Room sequences, the production design, the boot camp they put the kids through, and the visual effects (created by Digital Domain who were big fans of the novel).

INSIDE THE MIND GAME featurette- a before and after of the computer game within the movie showing the motion capture footage and the animation.

 

Six deleted and extended scenes with optional audio commentary by Director Gavin Hood features redundant material (which is better covered in other parts of the finished film) and other scenes that would have slowed down the pacing.

 

Also included on the Blu-ray are two theatrical trailers for ENDER’S GAME and previews for other releases from LIONSGATE including THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE and DIVERGENT (in theaters on 3-21-2014).

 

As part of the combo pack is a code to download and/ or stream a digital HD Ultraviolet copy of the movie and the movie in standard definition on DVD.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: ENDER’S GAME is one of the better adaptations of a novel which focuses on the main plot, but it may disappoint some fans of the book when many of the subplots had to be sacrificed to make it into a two hour movie.   The making-of documentary is excellent while the deleted and extended scenes were thankfully cut.

 

This review is 2-18-2014 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to feedback@enterline-media.com

 

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