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The movie of Ender’s Game is totally absorbing and visually stunning

ender's posterI went to see Ender’s Game on October 25th, its first day in the UK.  For some reason it followed a very peculiar release strategy.  It did not open in a central London cinema, and no times were shown for anywhere else until just a few days beforehand.  It did open in provincial cinemas, so I saw it in Letchworth.  It’s usually a bad sign when this happens.  In the past it has sometimes been done to get the movie out before it can be mauled by the critics.

I needn’t have worried.  Ender’s Game is enthralling and visually dazzling.  It is pretty faithful to the book, though some irrelevant side plots are omitted – they should never have been in the book in the first place.  Young Ender is recruited and put through his paces in training to become an instinctive and ruthless tactician of space warfare.  The bugs (aka formics) nearly destroyed Earth last time, and Earth is not about to lose the next fight.  The training matches in battle school are quite well done, though there are many fewer of them than in the book.

Critics might well slate the acting, though I thought it well up to the mark.  Asa Butterfield plays Ender as he should be played, cool and determined, holding himself in check.  Harrison Ford is positively grumpy as the commander playing against time to bring on his young prodigy.  In sum, those who’ve read the book will love the movie.  Those who haven’t will like it anyway, but some might find parts of it require an effort to follow.  It gets five stars in my rating.

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