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Ender's Game

“Ender’s Game, Gavin Hood’s adaptation of the sci-fi classic, brings heartfelt acting together with remarkable effects, and builds to a wrenching moral crisis.

“In the future envisioned by Card in his 1985 best-seller, Earth is waging a long-running war with giant alien insects whose ability to quickly adapt to human battle tactics has prompted the military to turn to genius children to fight the foe. Brilliant kids, the theory goes, are vastly more flexible in their thinking than hidebound grown-ups and so are better suited to outwitting the alien hordes. And the smartest of the smart is Ender, a skinny 12-year-old.

“Asa Butterfield with piercing gaze and singular intensity, brings novelist Orson Scott Card’s signature child hero to full and vivid life. Butterfield is steely yet empathetic as Ender, his heartfelt, nuanced performance makes the audience appreciate the terrible weight placed on his slender shoulders, particularly by a high-ranking officer played by Harrison Ford in full curmudgeon mode.

“Hood’s script tracks the novel quite closely. The story’s essence is retained, from its focus on Ender’s intelligent and sometimes lethal resistance to bullying by other kids, to balletic zero-gravity battle-training sequences that are remarkable examples of special-effects wizardry. Most notable is the conclusion, in which Earth’s war is waged and won in a way that imposes a wrenching moral crisis on Ender. This is sci-fi with a brain, and a heart. -  The Seattle Times

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