"Ender's Game"- "The Godfather" for tweens?!


Sure, it will be forgotten in a few weeks when another “Hunger Games” comes out. If you can get past the fact that the children in the film are forced to act like adults and are the human race’s only hope...”Ender’s Game” is a fun ride for a teen/tween film.

Asa Butterfield is Ender Wiggins.  He’s a bright 12 year-old with an even brighter future in a world where humankind turns to children to fight their battles. Why children? They adapt faster and don’t think as streamlined as adults. After an attack on our planet was thwarted by Mazer Rackham (Sir Ben Kingsley), we’ve been training (kids) in preparation for the next attack. We find Ender as he’s just entered the program. 

The first half of the film plays out like “Un Prophet” or “The Godfather”. Before you true film buffs stone me, let me explain. Ender proves his tactical proficiency as he slowly rises up the ranks from program peon to commander of a fleet. Outsmarting bullies and  ranking officers while gaining the respect of his cohorts, he usually manages to turn enemies into friends as well. That look into the mental whit of Ender is enjoyable to watch as you slowly start to root for the awkward pre-teen. 


The second half of the film focuses more on war games. Ender has to fight his inner demons and come to grips with his own moral code while Colonel Graff (Harrison Ford) surprisingly pushes him towards the dark side (pun intended) in an effort to prepare him for battle. The second half of the film is equally as enjoyable as the first and sets us up for the possibility of another chapter.


It feels like the veterans like Viola Davis, Sir Kingsley and Harrison Ford are underused in the film. While it probably was a nice paycheck for them it also fits the story. The cast of teens and pre-teens gel together well and are believable as youngsters put in an intense situation. 

“Ender’s Game” a coming of age story of a young boy who traverses the world of adult thinking while finding his own. It’s suspenseful at times, and fun to enter the futuristic sci-fi world that director Gavin Hood has created. If you’re looking for fun in the theater this weekend this film won’t let you down!

Rating: B 



Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.