Father and Son Movie Review: Ender’s Game

Written by Allan Erickson on December 14, 2013

By Luke and Allan Erickson

We saw the movie on Veteran’s Day.  That made it an odd experience.  On a day we are supposed to honor veterans we watched a movie that questioned the service of those who fight to defend us.  While Ender’s Game is entertaining to a degree, a couple things caught our attention, making us less than enthusiastic.

Ender, the young man trained to save Earth during a future, intergalactic struggle, becomes a true hero through much trial and suffering.  He is surrounded by conflict and overcomes, transformed in the process.

Classical story telling presents an unlikely hero with flaws who becomes a hero by overcoming adversity, even death, discovering in himself surprising powers and abilities.  Ordinarily, as in life, such a hero forged in the crucible of suffering, gives credit to a higher power or his friends and relatives, the mark of humility.

Not so with Ender.

Instead, Ender is the forever victim who navigates difficulties with minimal help, achieving great things.  Then, he rejects those achievements and the people who’ve helped him, expressing sympathy for others who’ve tried to destroy him.  And in the end, he plays god, riding off to remedy the supposed crimes he committed, when in truth, they were accomplishments.

Heroic humility is not Ender’s Game.

We did not miss the sore thumb sticking out early on.  A fellow war game trainee, a Muslim lad, encourages Ender in Arabic, an obvious nod to the PC police in Hollywood, and a cue, that Americans fighting the war on terror should feel guilt.  After all, don’t they know Islam is a religion of peace, and aliens who slaughter millions of earthlings are only misunderstood victims?

The story is a bit predictable. The characters seem two-dimensional.  Apparently extended time in space drains the color from personality. In any case, we won’t spoil the ending other than to say Ender’s end is to become the anti-hero who winds up worshipping giant enemy bugs that supposedly possess superior intelligence and morality.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

Image: Courtesy of: http://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/33442/why-do-some-soldiers-wear-yellow-uniforms

Allan Erickson
Allan Erickson---Christian, husband, father, journalist, businessman, screenwriter, and author of The Cross & the Constitution in the Age of Incoherence, Tate Publishing, 2012.